If the question of whether a robotic-sounding voice is saying the word “Yanny” or “Laurel” has been keeping you up at night, it’s time to breathe a sigh of relief. There is a definitive answer.
The recording is saying the word …
Sorry, Team Yanny, but multiple news outlets have confirmed that the infamous audio clip comes from Vocabulary.com, where it serves as the pronunciation feature for the word “laurel,” defined as “a wreath worn on the head, usually as a symbol of victory.”
Vocabulary.com does not have an entry for the word “Yanny,” but HuffPost can confirm that, spelled a little differently, the definition is this:
The reason the audio sounds slightly distorted is because it’s a recording of the Vocabulary.com’s recording, according to Buzzfeed.
Reddit user RolandCamry posted a short video clip including the audio on the subreddit r/blackmagicfuckery this week. The clip was actually a video of an Instagram poll asking users to vote on which word they heard. It went mega-viral after popular YouTuber Cloe Feldman tweeted it on Monday — sparking the greatest debate of the past three years, right after The Dress debacle of 2015.
Feldman admitted that she found the clip on Reddit. The person who posted it on Reddit turned out to be Roland Szabo, an 18-year-old high school student in Lawrenceville, Georgia, The New York Times reports.
But the origins of the Instagram poll itself are unclear, with the Times and Wired reporting slightly different stories.
According to the Times, Szabo recorded the voice from the vocabulary site himself and sent it to a friend, who posted it on Instagram.
But according to Wired, a student at Georgia’s Flowery Branch High School named Katie Hetzel recorded the voice from the vocabulary site, and posted the clip on Instagram. Her friend, Fernando Castro, then says he turned it into an Instagram poll. According to Wired, Castro’s poll is what Reddit user RolandCamry posted earlier this week.
Regardless of whose recording actually went viral, Wired did track down some interesting tidbits about the voice that helped ignite the Yanny vs. Laurel debate.
Vocabulary.com cofounder Marc Tinkler told the site that the man who recorded the pronunciation of “Laurel” is an opera singer who was a member of the original cast of “CATS” on Broadway. Tinkler did not reveal the opera singer’s name, saying he didn’t know if the man would welcome viral fame.
Oh, and in case you were wondering ― the real-life Yanni definitely did not hear “Laurel.”