jun·ta (hntə, jŭn-)
1. A group of military officers ruling a country after seizing power.
2. A council or small legislative body in a government, especially in Central or South America.
[Spanish and Portuguese, conference, probably from Vulgar Latin *iūncta, from feminine past participle of Latin iungere, to join; see yeug- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Usage Note: For a long time this 18th-century borrowing from Spanish was pronounced (jŭntə) by English speakers on both sides of the Atlantic. By the middle of the 20th century, however, the pronunciation (hntə), an approximation of the Spanish pronunciation, had gained currency in the US. This word is now usually pronounced (hntə) in American English and (jŭntə) in British English.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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