How to Pronounce the Word Kratom and Associated Words

May 21, 2019 Articles

As most of you already know, kratom is a colloquial name for Mitragyna speciosa, an Ayurvedic herb from the coffee family of plants. Indigenous to Southeast Asia, kratom comes in a variety of strains both stimulating and sedating in nature.

Kratom powder is cultivated from the middle portion of kratom leaf where the plant’s colorful alkaloid-abundant veins run through the leaves.

You see the word spelled out for you on a clutch of signs every time you visit your neighborhood convenience store or smoke shop, but chances are you’ve been horribly mispronouncing it. Before you start doubting yourself as some sort of dummy, take comfort in the fact that the vast majority of American users pronounce it this way.

Here in the United States, consumers are used to hearing kratom used incorrectly by wholesalers. Proprietors like tobacconists and head shop owners often stretch the sound of the “a” in “kratom,” so that the word comes out sounding like “kray-tum.”

Elsewhere, many herbalists have called kratom “KRAH-tom,” adding an “ah” sound to the mix. This is generally considered to be the appropriate way to pronounce it in English. However, those who wish to go native, as it were, should do well to study this short guide.


The natives of Malaysia where kratom grows in the wild pronounce kratom as “key-tum” or “kay-tum,” therefore the popularly held belief is that the “r” in “kratom” is a silent letter. Alternately, many individuals prefer to pronounce it with a “tome” comprising the second syllable.

In English, “krah-tome” is considered an acceptable pronunciation whereas in America “kray-tome” is accepted as a colloquial pronunciation.

The truth is that there is no single way to pronounce the word, although “key-tum” should be used by kratom vendors when doing business with indigenous farmers.


There are many words associated with kratom including the ever-popular “burn.” What is “kratom burn”? Burning kratom refers to the practice of using kratom for relaxation, stimulation or sedation. It may also refer to smoking kratom, although most users agree that smoking is an insufficient method by which to enjoy kratom leaf.

With kratom becoming a hot topic on message boards, forums and social media platforms, innumerable slang terms and other phrases have become part of the counterculture conversation. This includes the many exotic names for the various kratom strains.

Maeng Da is, perhaps, the most well-known name of any kratom strain and it is also mispronounced by many who talk about it. “Mong Da,” “Mung Da” and “Meeng Day” are among several common mispronunciations.

The proper pronunciation of Maeng Da is “Mang Duh.” Maeng Da kratom roughly translates to “pimp kratom” in English.

Bentuangie kratom is another popular kratom strain that may seem difficult to pronounce to native English speakers, but it’s actually not as complex as it might seem at first blush. Bentuangie can be properly pronounced as “ben-too-angie.” That’s right, it’s exactly how it sounds if you read it phonetically.

Another much-coveted kratom strain is Hulu Kapuas. Most anyone alive in the 21st century knows how to pronounce “hulu,” if for no other reason than it’s the name of one of the world’s biggest streaming services.

Kapuas, on the other hand, is a word that is foreign to most Americans. As such, it may seem like a strange one to pronounce. Relax, dear reader. It’s really pretty simple. Hulu kapuas is pronounced “hoo-loo kah-poo-ahs.”


  • Aroma—The effects and/or fragrance of kratom powder or kratom teae.g. “I picked up some White MD from Kratom Crazy and the aroma was lit!”
  • Botanical—A substance obtained from a plant; a name used by those selling kratom.e.g. “We offer a range of speciosa botanicals.”
  • Burn—The act of using kratom.e.g. “When I burn Green Malay kratom from Kratom Crazy, my work day goes by like lightning and I feel awesome!”
  • Horned Leaf—An energetic form of kratom that is so named for the horn-shaped leaves of these specific kratom trees.e.g. “I just picked up some horned leaf and the aroma had me powering through reps.”
  • Incense—Another name used by those selling kratom.e.g. “We just got some terrific Yellow Thai incense in from Coastline Kratom.”
  • Kbombing—A slang term for burning kratom.e.g. “Yo, me and Jimmy was Kbombing at the Kava Lounge last night.”
  • SWIM—Someone Who Isn’t Me; commonly used abbreviation on sites like I Love Kratom, Drugs Forum and Mycotopia.e.g. “SWIM burned 8 grams of MD the other day and chilled for hours.”

I don’t know about y’all, but SWIM thinks kratom is awesome! ; )


Kratom does not easily translate to Chinese so a specific pronunciation would be hard to employ from anyone other than a native Chinese speaker. However, the name for kratom in Chinese is “帽柱木碱.”

The mitragyna speciosa plant is also referred to locally as “biak.”

It is quite ordinary to find kratom in Chinese medicine nowadays despite the fact that it was not used in traditional Chinese medicine. Modern pharmacologists in the region recognized its popularity across Southeast Asia and began recommending it to patients who could benefit from improved mood and a restful sleep.


Those native to Germany pronounce kratom as “kraw-tum.” This may or may not be the appropriate pronunciation for the region, but it is the most commonly used pronunciation.


No matter how you say it, there’s no denying that kratom is a buzz word that’s on everyone’s lips right now and it’s only fitting given the many restorative properties contained within this remarkable Ayurvedic herb. Thanks for reading and happy Kboming, kids! : )

Bob Freville
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