Eau (trigraph)

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Eau is a trigraph of the Latin script.


In Modern French, eau is pronounced /o/ and may or may not be the same phoneme as the one attached to the letter o.

It is used as an ending for several words, like “berceau” (cradle) or “manteau” (coat), usually being the remnant of a suffix (bercer — to cradle, mante — mantle). But this is also a word by itself: “eau” means water.


In English, eau only exists in words imported from French, and so is pronounced likewise in almost all cases. The only exceptions to this are “beauty” and formations of it (excepting plain “beau”) where it is pronounced /juː/, “bureaucrat” where it is pronounced /ə/, and “bureaucracy” where it is pronounced /ɑ/.