When referring to the latest Ubuntu 16.04 to friends, I often struggle about the pronunciation of "Xenial Xerus".

Is there a universal pronunciation form? If so, which is? If not, how to determine the pronunciation in my native non-English language?

Note: I am aware of a related question about Xubuntu. However, there are quite a few differences between u and e which might alter the pronunciation (like in "gel" and "gun").

  • 21
    I pronounce it "sixteen point four".
    – Mark
    Aug 4, 2016 at 20:15
  • 4
    @Mark isn't it 16.04, though? I say "sixteen oh four." Aug 4, 2016 at 21:43
  • 3
    @Zacharee1: The four is the fourth month of the year. Ubuntu version numbers will never have an ambiguity between 16.4 and 16.04. Also, even though you might write a date of April fool's day as 16.04.01, you might still say "sixteen / four / one". So the "sixteen point four" pronunciation takes advantage of the knowledge / understanding that Ubuntu version numbers are date-based. If not for this, you absolutely should pronounce the zeros in version numbers. Aug 5, 2016 at 1:44
  • @Mark just like people pronounce "OS X" as "OS Ten"! :) Aug 5, 2016 at 5:48
  • jenial jerux i say. also sixteen point zero four
    – Anwar
    Aug 26, 2016 at 19:20

3 Answers 3


They are both dictionary words

xenial xerus (sound clips included here)

zee-nee-ul zeer-us

or in IPA


  • 2
    Wow, that is a totally different pronunciation from the one I was expecting. What about in other languages? Do you accommodate?
    – user308164
    Aug 4, 2016 at 11:03
  • 14
    @luchonacho you can pronounce it however you like as far as I'm concerned, but it is made up of two preexisting English words and this is the canonical (and Canonical, presumably) pronunciation of them.
    – Zanna
    Aug 4, 2016 at 11:11
  • 2
    @luchonacho But the canonical pronunciation of ubuntu is not an "English" pronunciation because it is not an English word. Language rules are descriptive rather than prescriptive in my opinion, but I repeat myself, these are English words and this is how to pronounce them. With time, your own language may acquire these words and evolve their pronunciation, but this is the original language so should be considered standard
    – Zanna
    Aug 4, 2016 at 12:36
  • 9
    @luchonacho No “native” English words (whatever that means, for a language where over 60% of vocabulary can be traced to Latin or Greek) start with an x; almost all of them come from Greek. English speakers have a very difficult time starting a word with a ks sound for whatever reason, as one would in the original Greek for these words, so the z sound is used instead.
    – KRyan
    Aug 4, 2016 at 15:23
  • 5
    @luchonacho Since Xenial Xerus is an English name, it should be pronounced with the English pronunciation even when talking in other languages.
    – Fiksdal
    Aug 4, 2016 at 15:45

It follows closely the Xubuntu pronunciation that you've referenced.

Zee-ni-al Zee-rus

Would be the best way to describe it.


The same as it sounds at Google Translate when the English language selected. Click on the speaker icon at the bottom of the input text box to listen to it pronounced. It sounds like zee-nee-al zee-rus with the accent on the first syllable in both words.

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