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Merriam-Webster lists both ˈrüt and ˈrau̇t as possible pronunciations for route but only ˈrau̇-tər for router.

Is it really wrong to pronounce router as 'rüter ?

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good question :). –  Anonymous Type Sep 29 '10 at 23:51
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So, Rowter for my US peeps. Rooter for UK peeps. Both are correct depending on where you live. It's just another Potato/Tomato difference between British and American English. If you think about it Rooter makes more sense as in to Route packets of data from one point to another. But whatever -_- each to their own. –  user20902 May 5 '12 at 21:24

7 Answers 7

up vote 42 down vote accepted

There are two different kinds of things called a "router", with two different pronunciations, originating from two different verbs "route" and "rout". The confusing part of this is that the two pronunciations overlap the two different things.

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A router as above (computer thing, from verb "route"), or anything else which routes something, is "rooter" or "rowter" depending on how you pronounce "route" (US English has both "root" and "rowt", British English has only "root")

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A router (woodworking tool, from verb "rout", an electrical one is shown above) is "rowter", never "rooter", in both the US and the UK and other countries. The dictionary entry may be referring to the wood tool only.

Source: Oxford Online Dictionary & Cambridge Dictionary

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8  
I have never heard "router" pronounced differently for these two things. FWIW, I'm in the US. –  aphoria Sep 2 '10 at 8:41
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@aphoria: Both "rowter"? –  delete Sep 2 '10 at 8:45
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@Shinto - which dictionary are you referring to in your answer? –  JohnFx Sep 2 '10 at 14:39
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I don't think there is anyone in the US who calls the electronic device a "rooter" rather than "rowter". –  Kosmonaut Sep 2 '10 at 16:56
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I knew a guy in university, who spoke Canadian English (like me) and who called it a "rooter". Drove me crazy. He's the only one I've ever heard say that. –  Mr. Shiny and New 安宇 Sep 8 '10 at 17:06

The New Oxford American Dictionary (NOAD) reports that router has two different meanings.

router 1 /ˈraʊdər/
noun
A power tool with a shaped cutter, used in carpentry for making grooves for joints, decorative moldings, etc.

router 2 /ˈraʊdər/
noun
A device that forwards data packets to the appropriate parts of a computer network.

In both the cases, the pronunciation is the same.

As comparison, the pronunciation of route (as reported from the NOAD) is /rut/, /raʊt/; the pronunciation of rout is /raʊt/.

In British English, the word is pronounced /ˈraʊtə/ when it has the first meaning, and /ˈruːtə/ in the second case.

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@Shinto Sherlock: Your answer says the opposite of what I am saying, as you say that the word is pronounced differently basing on the meaning; I reported that in American English that is not true. –  kiamlaluno Sep 2 '10 at 10:49
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Despite the votes so far I agree with kiamlauluno. This is what I have experienced in common usage and he backs it up with a solid citation. However, personally I have always felt that the networking device should be called a 'root-er' because it routes data. Plus that song route-66 has me all screwed up. –  JohnFx Sep 2 '10 at 14:38
    
kiamlaluno, you're using the IPA version of the NOAD (are you on a Mac by any chance?). The diacritical version, which is also the one found in the NOAD WordWeb add-on, says: "router 1 |ˈroutər| noun a power tool with a shaped cutter, used in carpentry for making grooves for joints, decorative moldings, etc. router 2 |ˈroōtər; ˈroutər| noun a device that forwards data packets to the appropriate parts of a computer network." I have never, however, heard any American call a router(2) "rooter" instead of "rowter." –  user706 Sep 2 '10 at 18:35
    
I use the Mac OS X Dictionary; the pronunciation I reported is the pronunciation shown when I select American IPA in the preferences of the application; when I select British IPA, I obtain a different pronunciation (the British one). –  kiamlaluno Sep 2 '10 at 22:05
    
Do you have the "US English (Diacritical)" option? –  user706 Sep 3 '10 at 10:13

Where I live both things are called "rowter" even though we say "root" 66, so if they lived in the U.S. That would be standard. If they said "rooter" it might sound like a thing used to clean drains.

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A router (rooter) routes. A router (rauter) routs.

To my ear, the American pronunciation is really grating.

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Sorry, eh. However, be aware that not all USAmericans use "rowter" -- some do use "rooter". I was recently in a Cisco networking class where the instructor, a longtime Las Vegas resident originally from Maryland, said "rooter." Much to the consternation of the predominately Southern US group. –  jbelacqua Mar 18 '11 at 16:45
    
+1 for noting the root (!) of the word. It should be added that most Americans pronounce "route" to rhyme with "rout", so their pronunciation is consistent. British usage, despite being what I use, is no more "correct" than American. –  slim Dec 13 '11 at 10:55

A rooter is used to clean pipes (specifically to remove roots, or other obstructions).

Because that pronunciation exists, router is pronounced as indicated in the other answers.

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+1 for pointing out the origin of the word for fixing pipes. Even though it's almost totally unrelated to the question. –  wfaulk Aug 14 '11 at 14:20

I was born in the US. I pronounce the computer apparatus "rooter" as in "hooter". I just had a manager at work try to correct me today, but I stuck to my guns.

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The Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary (CALD) does not include the word 'router'

However, the meaning of route has been described as the following:

route UK /rut/ US /rut/ , UK /raʊt/ noun [ C ]

  1. a particular way or direction between places The route we had planned took us right across Greece.
    I live on a bus route so I can easily get to work.
  2. a method of achieving something A college education is often the best route to a good job.
  3. US ( UK round ) a set of regular visits that you make to a number of places or people, especially in order to take products as part of your job

route UK /rut/ US /rut/ , UK /raʊt/ verb [ T usually + adv/prep ]
to send Deliveries are routed via/by way of London.

Since the CALD did not specify from which sound the word 'router' is originated, so my conclusion is 'router' can be pronounced as 'ruter' or 'rauter' according to UK pronunciation! However, if the company which produced the device pronounces it as a 'rauter' then it is 'rauter' otherwise it is 'ruter'.

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protected by Hugo May 5 '12 at 22:59

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