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AD&D 2nd edition had a key number for each character called “To Hit Armor Class Zero”, abbreviated “THAC0”. Back when this was the current edition, my friends and I argued over whether it should be pronounced thake-oh or thack-oh (whether the ‘A’ in the middle should be short or long), or maybe we were both wrong and it should be some other way.

Was there ever any official guidance from TSR, Wizards of the Coast, D&D creators, or some other official source as to how to pronounce this key term? Or does each playgroup just do their own thing?

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Officially THAK-oh or THAKE-oh is acceptable

This D&D FAQ on the Wizards of the Coast Web site has a section entitled How Do You Pronounce...? that says

Here are some commonly mispronounced words and their dictionary pronunciations where they are available and common-practice pronunciations or TSR rulings where they not. For more general pronunciation help, see the article "Ay pronunseeAYshun gyd" by Frank Mentzer in Dragon #93 (Jan. 1985).

It has the following entry:

THAC0: either THAK-oh, or THAKE-oh

So you and your friends were both right.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Be aware that that same Dragon Magazine guide gave the pronunciation of Pleistocene as "plee ISS toe seen", and the official pronunciation of Sahuagin in the latest WotC Dragontalk podcast contradicts the FAQ, any pronunciation of a D&D term can probably find adherents. At least I almost never hear about Drizz't the Droe anymore... :) \$\endgroup\$ – keithcurtis Nov 19 '17 at 21:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ That was intended to be a humorous comment regarding the problem of D&D pronunciation. I upvoted your answer. \$\endgroup\$ – keithcurtis Nov 19 '17 at 21:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @keithcurtis If I remember that Dragon article correctly, it omits the pronunciation of flind, and in a letter in a later issue a reader asked the editors how to pronounce flind. The editors responded that flind rhymes with wind. Although I found it amusing, I can only assume the reader found this advice… unhelpful. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Nov 19 '17 at 21:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ The FAQ is also sure to alienate its British readership (and particularly Eddie Izzard) with its official pronunciation of "herb". And yeah, I was aware of the geas mispronunciation, but given that even Terry Pratchett pronounced it GEEas, I can overlook that one. \$\endgroup\$ – keithcurtis Nov 19 '17 at 22:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @keithcurtis While researching this answer, I learned that the actual pronunciation of geas should, in its original, be gesh, yet I've never heard anyone pronounce it any way but GEE-as. Maybe Pleistocene suffered the same way—so many folks around the office mispronouncing it that the listed pronunciation became the official TSR pronunciation of the word, ignoring that pesky reality thing completely? (Comment taken in its intended spirit, by the way.) [Reposted because of the fouled formatting of the original.] \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Nov 19 '17 at 22:11

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