Weekly Poll: How Do You Pronounce “Mac OS X”?

This week’s poll digs up a Mac user argument dating back over a decade. Upon seeing that the current operating system is spelled out with the Roman numeral “X”, many users pronounce the system’s name OS “Ex”. Others however, prefer to follow tradition (OS 8, OS 9) and always say OS “Ten”.

Today we want to test your Mac knowledge to see if you know which way is correct. Cast your vote in the poll on the right and tell us how you personally pronounce it on a day to day basis.

Which Way Is the Right Way?

After you vote in the poll with your personal preference, if you’d like to know the official correct way to say “OS X”, you need only to ask your Mac! Open up Terminal, type “say OS X” and hit Enter. It’s difficult to argue with the answer! If you’re still not convinced, you can also check out this Apple Support document.

We all know from experience that Mac users can get pretty nasty when this topic is brought up. Feel free to leave a comment below, but let’s all be nice polite adults shall we?


  • http://rummelx2.com ande rummel

    at first i avoided saying “ex” as retaliation to to the 90′s “extreme” marketing suturtion. then i raised how it different it was from the legacy mac os that i refused to call it “ten”. now that mac os is starting to morph into another “new” experience, i now call it by its code name. i don’t think “lion” is the start of a new evolution branch where ios and mac os will be one and “ex” will be the legacy mac os.

  • http://drdkl.isgreat.org Dreadedkilla

    The correct way is “OS Ten”. Even the people that do the screencasts on Apple’s website pronounce it that way, because “X” follows 9, so the logical pronunciation of “OS X” is “OS Ten”.

  • XTREMEEEEEEEEEE

    It’s Mac OS EX SON!

  • http://appleuserpro.com TJ Draper

    The “X” as a roman numeral is pronounced “ten.” It has always been this way. The Apple executives, the geniuses at the Genius Bar, and all knowledgeable Apple geeks pronounce the name of the tenth Macintosh Operating system as OS “Ten”.

    And of course, having your Mac tell you that too by means of the terminal is yet one more evidence to add to the stack.

    And yes, it does drive me absolutely *NUTS* when people mispronounce it!

    • GalakFyarr

      if it really drives you nuts, you have issues.

      oh. Os… EX.

      • foljs

        Ditto.

        Is “Monk” your favorite tv series btw?

        OS EX, OS EX, OS EX!

      • Paul Dunahoo

        I agree. I consider myself a Mac geek, and I pronounce it OS “Ex.” Even Apple pronounces it that way in their keynotes!

        This is to drive you nuts:
        OS “Ex.”
        OS “Ex.”
        OS “Ex.”
        OS “Ex.”
        OS “Ex.”
        OS “Ex.”

        (Sorry…)

    • Bull’s Eye or Bull’s-eye or Bullseye

      You must hate the Brits. ALUMINIUM! But seriously though… I like to call Target “Tarzjay”.

    • Gigel

      It’s Mac O SEX, that is “Mac ZERO SEX”. That is because it’s so beautiful that people stick with the screen and forget their partners. Does this make sense to you?

  • Jeremy

    I pronounce it the only way you should pronounce it, the correct way.. OS 10.

  • James

    It annoys me when people say OS “Ex” almost as much as when people write “MAC” as if it is an acronym or refer to the company as “Mac” and not Apple as in “When will Mac release a new computer?”. I guess that’s the price of having lots of noobs joining the cult.

    • John

      You are conceited and easily annoyed. Just saying.

    • Jeremy

      Agreed, James. If you don’t know how to say it, don’t say it. It’s OS 10. And, no, it’s not MAC. It’s a computer, not a damn makeup company.

    • http://twitter.com/@scottld3 Scott Danielson

      I’m mostly indifferent to the “Ex vs. Ten” thing, but “MAC” really bothers me. Because I usually assume people are referring to Media Access Control addresses.

      • sheryl

        lol. I’d assume MAC was the cosmetic company…

      • sheryl

        I don’t think I’ve ever actually said it out loud. I’ve thought both, but when I read it in my head, I tend to read it as “ex.” I’ve only been a Mac user for 2 years, but I still can’t think of any occasion where I’d ever need to say it. I just refer to the OS on my computer as “Lion” …and before that “Snow Leopard”

  • CJ

    It’s OS ‘ten’. It’s used in official Apple announcements, OS “ex” has never been used by anyone related to Apple in public, and its predecessor was OS 9. I never thought there was any other way to say it.

    Terminal:
    say os x: “os ex”
    say OS X: “os ten”

    That should be enough for anyone. The pronunciation is built into the operating system itself.

  • http://www.nickthacker.com Nick Thacker

    Yay I got it right!

    But really, this seems like one of those things “PC users” tend to point out about us Mac-folk: we’re so quick to argue about something so trivial… like how OS X is pronounced!

    What about arguing about something that ACTUALLY matters–like whether or not our laptops are encased in beautiful yet minimalistic brushed steel or lame plastic (looking at you, Lenovo!).

    • http://digitalformula.net Chris

      Exactly right, Nick. This sort of ‘argument’ is why non-Mac users think Mac users are snobby and arrogant.

      My entire house runs on Apple hardware and I wouldn’t want to change back to Windows … but I also really don’t care how OS X is pronounced.

      … although does me adding a response to this discussion mean that I actually do care in some way? *shrug*

      Personally, I say “OS Ex”. Take that. :-P

      • Peter O’Loughlin

        I know Apple expect it to be pronounced “10″, but they shot themselves in the foot by not calling its predecessors OX VIII and OX IX, so obviously X will be called ‘EX’, because 8 and 9 should be folowed by ’10′, not ‘X’.

    • Luca

      What for a PC user is “trivial”, for a Mac user is a “detail”. And that’s always been the difference between the two, isn’t it? ;)

      • http://digitalformula.net Chris

        Perhaps, but it’s the sort of detail that should remain a private opinion, in *my* opinion. It’s things like “it annoys me when people say OS X wrong” that gets people all defensive. Have an opinion – that’s fine – but don’t get on your high horse about it (not you personally Luca, just making a point).

        Meh, I’m writing this on OS Ex and I’m happy about that. ;)

      • MAC USER

        OH SHUT THE HELL UP!

    • Dan

      Mac or PC, who cares – I work with both (and Linux, and BeOS …)

      Mac users tend to be more arrogant, Linux newbies tend to be wannabe 1337 |-|4><0r5, and those of that look after systems for a living tend not to care too much

  • Justin

    Sorry, but your argument is invalid. Type ‘say Mac OS X’ (it’s important to include the Mac!) and test it. Please don’t mislead people. :D

    • http://nova-fusion.com Michael Ebens

      Um, it says “Mac OS 10″ for me, just like it said “OS 10″ when I typed in “OS X”.

      • Justin

        See my comment below (on the duplicate post actually… not sure what happened there.) It has to do with the capitalization, so yes, both will work.

  • Justin

    Sorry, but your argument is invalid. Type “say Mac OS X” (important to include the Mac) and then see what it says. Don’t mislead people. :D

    • Justin

      Never mind that… I had tried this in the past but I hadn’t realized that “OS X” by itself will work capitalized. After glancing at the article I thought it was suggesting that “Ex” was correct by using that command. So all that matters is capitalization.

  • Aficion

    Honestly, who cares? If your world is so small that you become upset by this sort of thing, maybe consider learning more tolerance and sense of perspective.

    • Dieter

      I second that.

      • http://digitalformula.net Chris

        Motion carried. Moving on.

  • http://nova-fusion.com Michael Ebens

    I’ve been pronouncing it “OS Ex” out of habit since I switched from PC. I had I hunch “OS 10″ was correct though. I may try and change my habits someday though.

    Also, I agree with Nick: let’s not get heated about a trivial matter such as this.

  • http://nova-fusion.com Michael Ebens

    Funny thing is, the terminal thing works with all roman numerals, as long as “OS” goes before it. Try these:

    say OS IV
    say OS XVI
    say OS MMXII

  • Heiko

    It’s definitely “Ten”, derived from latin. I hate it when people say “Ex”, just because they think it’s cool. :P

    • http://floor4.co.uk Oli Wright

      What about people who say “Ex” because they couldn’t give a shit and they’ve had no history with the OS before version 10 so reasonably expect it to be the letter X? I would be surprised if the majority of people saying “Ex” think it has anything to do with coolness.

    • foljs

      Actually, Apple used it for that very reason: the coolness factor.

      They could have said: Mac OS 10, but they used the latin version for the coolness of the “X”.

      Also: X is not pronounced ten in latin, but “decem”.

      So, saying OS X = OS Ten, is not actually true to the “latiness” of it.

      • Tony

        Rubbish, the X is a play on symbolism, it’s the tenth release but it’s also Unix based. X is sometimes used in computer naming to show that something has Unix at its routes, like the OS invented by Linus Torvald, Linux.

  • Yaro

    It’s OS ‘ten’… the ‘X’ stands for ten in roman numerals, and it’s pronounced in that way. I can’t believe that most of you say OS ‘ex’. Learn your crap people.

    • GalakFyarr

      I studied Latin for 6 years in secundary school, and currently studying history in the antiquity period (so Latin is still around).

      I still pronounce it OS ex.

      • Yaro

        Good for you man.

    • http://digitalformula.net Chris

      Dude … people say “OS Ex” because it’s an X. It’s not a case of “learning your crap”, it’s people saying what they see. Not everyone automatically converts Roman numerals on the screen to numbers when they read (in fact, the vast majority don’t).

      Also, a surprisingly large number of people (no, not me) also have trouble telling the time on a 24 hour clock …

      Accept that some people say “ex” instead of “ten” and move on. In fact, I’m not even sure why I’m writing this comment but hey, the submit button isn’t far from here. *click*

    • foljs

      X is not pronounced ten in latin, but “decem”.

      Just sayin’

  • Dario

    “iTouch” — don’t even get me started.

    • http://digitalformula.net Chris

      Lol, win.

    • Jeremy

      I want to murder people over that one. lol.

    • Just One

      One Touch!

  • Jan

    The current version of Mac OS is Mac OS X (pronounced “Mac O-S ten”)

    http://support.apple.com/kb/TA22541

  • http://iamnatalia.com Natalia Ventre

    I think it’s a little pretentious to use roman numbers in software versions, but I thought that everybody knew that. OS ex sounds like Windows XP.

  • 8cho

    It’s OS Ten. Some Mac users makes fun of the people who say ‘OS ex’, cause it sounds like ‘OS Sex’ :P

    • austin

      I completely agree thats the only reason why I say it os (Ex) cuz it sounds like os sex.. Its funny to see the looks you get.

  • Andrez

    I only voted to see the results. Now I’m stuck in facepalm.

    • Oh Snap!

      You should wash your hands after beating off before face palming.

  • http://traceflow.com troy

    Its also pronounced “Superbowl ex ex eye eye vee”

    • GO PATRIOTS!

      NAW. SUPERBOWL EX EL VEE EYE! It’s 46 this year (:

  • Greg

    A little off-topic, but try typing ‘say omg’. :)

    • nik

      That made me smile…i was disappointed when i typed ‘say wtf’ :D

  • http://www.seomix.fr Daniel

    Mac OS Ten for me, but it seems logic : previous versions already use latin…

  • Just Saying

    Is it me or the one’s who bitch are American-English Grammar Nazi’s that think they are better than everyone else?

  • Frank

    OS ten is the right way, but I’m not being surprised by all these American mis-pronouciations any more, like they say Naikon (Nikon) all the time, when it’s supposed to be neekon.

  • http://horttcore.de Ralf

    OS Ten is the right answer, but I say OS eX all the time ;-)

  • Sheldon

    “Mek OS iks” (Balkan languages:))

  • Mx

    Oh ess ten.

    -Mx (pronounced “em ex”)

  • Dan

    OS Ten, it comes after 9.

  • http://twitter.com/the_risingtide Matt

    This has always been a no brainer for me. It’s 10. Like Jan pointed out, Apple spells it out for you here at the beginning of the second paragraph: http://support.apple.com/kb/TA22541

  • http://www.twitter.com/jooak Josiah Oakley

    It absolutely drives me mad that people say “ex”, frustrating. “X” is a roman numeral for the number 10. Also it follows Mac OS 9, what comes after 9? 10, of course! The results of this poll drives me up a wall! However, I love the opinions of the Mac.Appstorm readers!

  • http://iynque.com iynque

    It’s “ten.” If you’ve been saying “ex,” then you’ve been wrong and now you know. Don’t defend being wrong, just say it correctly.

    It’s like saying, “I’ve always thought two plus two equals five, so I’m sticking with five now even though I know it’s four.” One is correct, and the other isn’t. It’s not a matter of opinion.

    That being said, it’s all made up anyway and doesn’t really matter.

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