It's not easy to say "Qatar" in a non-local manner.

Related Post: Book Qatar flights with easily earned points.

How Qataris pronounce Qatar

The answer to the question of how to pronounceQatar was given by me and my friend.

How the rest of the world pronounces Qatar

In a previous post I described my hunt for business class award flights to South Africa in which I happily foundQatar Airways business class award flights

I booked business class flights on “cutter”…

Or, “kuh-tar”…

That’s spelled Q.A.T.A.R

I went to the internet to see if there was a better answer.

There are two English pronunciations of the word "Qatar" in the Cambridge dictionary.

  • UK: /ˈkʌt.ɑːr/ [sounds like “KUH-tah” to me]
  • US: /kəˈtɑːr/ [sounds like “kuh-TAR” to me]

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

There is a single English pronunciation of the word "Qatar" in the dictionary.

Welcome Back Kotter

QuoraQatar the country

Someone asked if it was "kah-tarr," "cutter," or "gutter" on the question and answer site.

Some of the answers were found here.

Since the Arabic letter qof/qaf (ق) doesn’t exist in most European languages, an approximation is necessary. The closest in English is “gutter”. Definitely not “ka-TAR” as is frequently heard.

… However, the caveat to all of this is that when speaking English and speaking of foreign nations it doesn’t always have to be restricted to mimicking the native pronunciation. For example, Americans would say France with a short A, whereas in French it would be la France with a long A.  …This is a long way of saying that Qatar, pronounced “cutter” is probably more in vogue now. It is replacing the older way, “kuh-TAR.” People who’ve had some interaction with the region might say, “gutter” a bit more – not inaccurate either.  As many Qataris will tell you, the pronunciation can vary.

It’s significantly closer to “cutter” than it is to “kah-tarr”.  Some gulfies like to say “gutter”, which is probably the easiest pronunciation for anyone who’s not familiar with the “qaf” sound.  In normal English I say “cutter”.  When talking to Arabs, I say “qutter” or “gutter,” depending on how they pronounce their qafs.


In 2010, NPR published an amusing segment titled " More Than One Way To Pronounce Qatar".

But officially they want me to say it sort of like guitar. We called the embassy, they said, kuh-TAR is fine, everyone pronounces it that way anyway. Well, maybe not everyone.


The correct pronunciation of "Qatar" sounds similar to "Kuh-tah" but the exact pronunciation is best heard rather than read.

There isn't a single correct pronunciation of the name of the country. Don't hesitate to use any of these options.

  • KUH-tah
  • kuh-TAR
  • KAH-ter (Kotter)
  • Gutter
  • Cutter

If you are talking to someone who is not familiar with the country or airline, follow up with "That's spelled Q.A.T.A.R"