Thursday, September 23, 2010


The word "route" has two accepted pronunciations: root, and rout. Both are correct. But which one do you use?

Personally, I've been rout most of my life, but I'm trying to convert myself to root because I think it sounds more Canadian.

I was curious how the standard pronunciation for "route" varied by region, so I found this map. It looks like root is more common in the Northeast, and rout is more common in the rest of the country. Preference for rout in the rest of the country is not as strong as the preference for root in the Northeast, however. I was hoping that the regional division would be as clear-cut as the old Pop/Soda debate, but it appears people don't feel as strongly about the pronunciation of the word "route" as they do the name of a carbonated beverage. That's too bad.

Actually...I take that back. I like that both pronunciations of "route" are generally accepted anywhere you go. There's enough disagreement in the world as it is; surely the last thing we need is yet another thing to argue over, right? I'm still trying to convert myself to the more Canadian-sounding pronunciation, though.


James Allen said...

I use "root," but I also call an exit an "egg-zit," so what do I know?

bubba said...

I generally use "root" for the name of the road (e.g. U.S. 1 is "root one") and "rout" for the synonym of 'path' (e.g. 'What route did you take to get home?') and the verb ('We were routed around the construction area').

I have a similar distinction for patronize. I use the short "a" for the pejorative term and long "a" for the thing a customer does.

Tabby said...

^ same as Bubba, and I'm a Canuck!

Chris Allen said...

Between here and the Facebook comments, "root" for the noun and "rout" for the verb is definitely the consensus.