How To Pronounce Kratom? | Kratom Pronunciation in English

If you are like me, you don’t say a word until you know how to pronounce it. Imagine your online kratom delivery is delayed and you decide to visit a kratom store. You walk in and just as you’re about to ask for your favorite strain, you start to wonder, “How the hell is kratom exact pronunciation?”

Your ferret around for an answer and unable to find one, you succumb to your introvert tendencies. You walk out of the store.

If you can relate to this, you are not alone. A lot of experienced (and new) kratom users have no clue how to pronounce it. The debate about the correct kratom pronunciation is an old and endless one. But I have a solution to your pronunciation worries.

Let the pronunciation games begin!

How “Kratom” Is Usually Pronounced

The word “kratom” got popular in the 1930s. During the 50s, its popularity ebbed away but then rose again. Ever since then, the term has continued to rise in popularity.
Lexico.com, a dictionary powered by the Oxford University Press lists two pronunciations for the word.

The first is kra-tum. The “krat” rhymes with the word “at”. And the “tum” rhymes with the word “ton”. So, kra-tum rhymes with the word “atom.” how to pronounce kratom

The second pronunciation is cray-tum. This is the more popular one and is what you probably use if you are in the US. Here, the “cray” rhymes with the “cray” in the word “crayon.” And the “tum” rhymes with the word “ton”.

A third pronunciation, which is not listed on lexico.com, is kra-TOM. This is less common. Here, “kra” rhymes with the word “bra” and “TOM” is pronounced as the name “Tom” is. As we’ll see, this is closer to the correct pronunciation.

How “Kratom” Should Be Pronounced

If you live in the West and pronounce kratom in any of the ways mentioned above, you’re wrong. But I don’t blame you because you’ve probably never heard how Southeast Asians pronounce the kratom.
Kratom is native to Southeast Asia. So, it’s not wrong to assume that Southeast Asians use its correct pronunciation -- in countries like Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia.

Malaysians have an interesting pronunciation. They make the “r” in kratom silent. The pronunciation goes key-tum or kay-tum. The “key” rhymes with the word “tree” and “kay” rhymes with “okay”. “Tum” rhymes with “atom”.

Malaysia is one of the largest exporters of kratom and is the source of the popular kratom strain known as Malay.

Here’s a video from an Indonesian news bulletin. If you listen closely, you’ll be able to understand how Indonesians pronounce “kratom”. They pronounce it as kra-thom. The “kra” rhymes with the word “spa” and “thom” is pronounced like the name "Tom" but with a “th” sound instead of the “t” sound.

And finally comes Thailand. Thailand is another kratom giant and Thais have their own way of saying “kratom”. They pronounce it as kruh-tome. The “tome” sounds like the word “tone”. The “kruh” part is more emphasized and is spoken faster.

Malays, Thais, And Indonesians: Who To Follow?

All three countries grow and export kratom and all have different pronunciations. Which one is correct?

If you live in the West, you should probably not consider Malaysian pronunciation at all. That’s because they make the “r” in “kratom” silent and that changes the herb’s name altogether. It won't be obvious for other people to understand what you are saying.

Between the Thai and Indonesian pronunciations, you should follow Thailand. That’s because the word kratom originated from Thai. Technically, how Thais say "kratom" is the correct way of saying it. So, let’s say it together. Kruh-tome. Sweet.

Now, you can walk in that store with confidence and buy your favorite kratom strain. “4 oz of Maeng Da Kratom, please.”

But as you’re about to say this, you once again decide to walk out. This time you’re wondering, “How the hell is Maeng Da pronounced?”

Don’t worry. You’ll find the answer to that question later in this article.

Some More Pronunciations Of Kratom

If you are still confused or find the Thai pronunciation too funny or pretentious, you can just call kratom by its scientific name. Mitragyna speciosa. While it’s infinitely harder to pronounce than kratom, there’s not much debate or variation to how it’s pronounced.

Speciosa is easy. Mitragyna is pronounced as mi-TRA-ginah or me-TRA-ginah. The “mi” rhymes with the letter “i”. Both these variations are correct and it’s up to you which one you use.

Maeng Da is a famous kratom strain and is probably the most mispronounced one. Its correct pronunciation is mung-duh or mang-duh. It’s not maaeng-duh.

Another difficult kratom strain to pronounce is Hulus Kapuas. It’s pronounced as hooloos kapooas.

Finally, perhaps the trickiest one is a strain called Bentuangie. But it’s simple. It’s pronounced as ben-to-anjee.

And there you go. Now you are completely equipped to walk in a kratom store and buy your favorite kratom strain without hesitation. “4 oz of mang-duh kruh-tome, please.”

A Fun Fact

Two major web dictionaries, Merriam-Webster and Oxford Learner’s Dictionary don’t recognize and list the word “kratom”.

This is outrageous. Go and write an angry email to the editors to protest against this crime against the kratom world! If they tell you they don’t know how to pronounce kratom, send them this article.