Tuesday, December 19, 2023


 ... the word is supposed to represent a fumbling human attempt to catch the phonetics of an absolutely non-human word. The name of the hellish entity was invented by beings whose vocal organs were not like man's, hence it has no relation to the human speech equipment. The syllables were determined by a physiological equipment wholly unlike ours, hence could never be uttered perfectly by human throats ... The actual sound – as near as human organs could imitate it or human letters record it – may be taken as something like Khlûl'-hloo, with the first syllable pronounced gutturally and very thickly. The u is about like that in full; and the first syllable is not unlike klul in sound, hence the h represents the guttural thickness. 

Thus spake H.P. Lovecraft in his letter to Duane W. Rimel (July 23, 1934), regarding the proper pronunciation of the Great Old One, Cthulhu. 


  1. A bit of context: https://web.archive.org/web/20110815191829/https://www.crypt-of-cthulhu.com/cthulwho.htm

  2. Pronounced "Squidface" then, got it. Thanks for the clarification, Howie.

    This is why you don't give your Ultimate Big Bad an unpronounceable name. People will mentally replace it with something they can say, and it's probably going to make fun of the pretention.

    1. Completely disagree. For me, it only adds to the immersion and sense of alien unknowability.

  3. Seeing this spelling I can't unhear the sketch comedy of Bob and Doug MacKenzie imitating the haunting call of the Loon "Khlûl'-hloo-looooo"

  4. This bit of Christopher Heyerdahl as Lovecraft is still one of my favourite moments of any "adaption": https://youtu.be/54B-i0Z0nmI?si=VOjO_he1qUxtIbBa&t=171