This page gives a comparison table of pronunciation symbols for English, used by IPA, and American Heritage Dictionary (AHD) and Merriam-Webster (MW) Dictionary.
|ɑː||ä||ä||dark, heart, park, car, hark, father|
|ɑ||ŏ||'ä||dot, pot, hot, pop, bob, body|
|æ||a||a||dad, bad, at, bat, pal, pat, add, cat, fat|
|ɛ||ĕ||e||bet, pepper, desk,fetch, neck|
|eɪ||ā||ā||ray, A, H, eight, take, date, bake, pain|
|ɪ||ĭ||'i||it, dig, pig, drink|
|iː||ē||ē||eat, pee, see, heat, beat|
|o||ō||ō||pole, dole, dough, oh|
|ɔː||ô||ȯ||walk, talk, saw, Paul|
|ɝ||û||ə||work, were, bird, dirt, nurse, stir, courage|
|ᴧ||ŭ||ə||but, butt, bud|
|ʊ||o͝o||u̇||took, book, look, hook, cook, hood, foot, good, put|
|u||o͞o||ü||two, spook, shoot, hoot,goose, influence,|
|aɪ||ī||ī||die, kite, like, light, I, high, try|
First column is the International Phonetic Alphabet. Second column is from American Heritage Dictionary, 3rd edition (1992), software version 4.0 (1995). The third column is from Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, software version 2.5 (2000).
If you see gibberish characters instead of phonetic symbols, see: Unicode Character Shows Blank, Question Mark, Gibberish.
IPA is a phonetic alphabet sponsored by the International Phonetic Association to provide a uniform and universally understood system for transcribing the speech sounds of all languages. It is used, for example, by the series of English dictionaries published by Oxford. American are ignorant of phonetics. Their dictionaries often each cook up a idiosyncratic scheme. The Longman dictionary of American English uses IPA, a exception to the rule.
For a list of online dictionaries, see: Online English Dictionary Tools.