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I have always used both "root" as in route 66 and "rooter" as in the networking device. The latter has gotten me funny looks often, however I could not bring myself to accept the inconsistency. Today I heard "rowt" used for a path of movement by a radio presenter. Which is correct?

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Related: What is the correct way to pronounce 'router'? –  GEdgar Oct 7 '11 at 21:55
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It's definitely "root" in British English. I know Americans that sometimes pronounce it "rowt" though. –  Noldorin Oct 7 '11 at 22:00
    
But, if it's "root" 66, why would anybody ever say rawter? Not only is the root word the same, but GEdgar's point is extremely well taken. These are technical people I'm dealing with. Clearly they shouldn't expect a woodworking tool when they ask me for a network appliance. Definitely Edgar makes me feel alot better about my intransigence. –  jamesson Oct 7 '11 at 22:26
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@FumbleFingers I've never heard "rowter" in British English for the network device. The British English people I've worked with would probably mock any other British people who used it too. –  Hugo Oct 8 '11 at 5:57
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Australians add yet another variation to mix with "root" also being slang for sex... thus people tend "rowt" rather than "root" in polite company. –  lzcd Nov 14 '11 at 0:34
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8 Answers

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Route as in Route66 is pronounced root.

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A Router puts packets on a route and so is pronounced the same as the road, ie rooter.

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A rout is a disorderly retreat. And a router does the same to wood chips, so is pronounced rowter

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Martin's answer makes sense. Too bad nearly nobody cares. –  jamesson Oct 8 '11 at 15:37
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Martin does it that way, people in some other locations do it in another way. This does not mean one is right and the other wrong. –  GEdgar Oct 8 '11 at 18:32
    
@jamesson The question was about route, not router. –  Hugo Oct 8 '11 at 19:56
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In many North American dialects, including that of the Inland North, route and rout [ɹaʊt] are homophones rhyming with shout; router [ˈɹaʊɾɚ] rhymes with shouter; the root [ɹʊt] in the ground rhymes with foot and soot, just as in put and hood; but to root [ɹuːt] for one’s home team rhymes with shoot, which means that only a person who’s doing that sort of cheering would be a rooter [ˈɹuːɾɚ]. And roof is [ɹʊf], rhyming with hoof, not with proof [pʰɹuf] or prove [pʰɹuːv]. And yet, rut is [ɹʌt]. –  tchrist Jan 8 '12 at 17:01
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Living in many places in the US, and dealing with networking equipment in all of them, I've always, always heard rowter (rhymes with "shouter") for the networking equipment. If I said "rooter" they'd wonder what I was talking about and if the toilet was stopped up. –  Matthew Frederick Oct 20 '12 at 7:07
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Both pronunciations are used in the US, but only root in the UK.

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Be aware that root is /rʊt/ in much a America, so what you have there doesn’t make much sense to such a person. You mean /ru:t/, which is entirely different from /rʊt/. –  tchrist Oct 20 '12 at 8:53
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In my local dialect (Toronto, Canada), it is root for a roadway, and rowt (but that's very approximate; see Canadian raising ) for the act of specifying a path (and rowter for the computer networking device)

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I would if I knew how. –  Karl Knechtel Jan 9 '12 at 0:01
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In the UK, route is pronounced /ru:t/, rhyming with root. On the other hand, the pronunciation /raʊt/, rhyming with shout, is rout, meaning, among many other things, various kinds of gatherings of people (as a noun) and defeat (as a verb).

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Note that root /rʊt/ rhymes with foot /fʊt/ in many places in America. –  tchrist Oct 20 '12 at 8:51
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It's a question of dialects. In the UK, it is pronounced as a homonym to root, as already been addressed. In America, it seems that those that pronounce it as a homonym to root are more concentrated on the east coast.

Source: http://dialect.redlog.net/staticmaps/q_26.html

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In my idiolect, a roadway is a "root," the communications device is a "rowter," and one "rowts" cables and things to where they need to go.

Seems like the pronunciation indicates whether you mean noun or verb.

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Why would you say it is a root, when root is /rʊt/ for many of us? –  tchrist Oct 20 '12 at 8:51
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Here in Virginia, route can be pronounced root or rowt, but a rowter is for computers, whereas rooter would refer only to your pig.

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If you talking about a plant’s roots or the roots of your hair and so on, it should be the only time the “root” pronunciation is root is used.

That’s because if you say “root” for route, it just confuses things and doesn't make any sense to me. A router is a router, said as it’s spelled.

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Router is spelled like ar-oh-yoo-tee-ee-ar, but you certainly don't pronounce it like that. The "root-" pronunciation isn't only for plants or hair roots. Both pronunciations are used in America, but only root in the UK, as you'll see from the other answers here, from people who learned English in different parts of the world. –  Hugo May 5 '12 at 7:47
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protected by Hugo May 5 '12 at 7:38

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