I have been pronouncing the word "cache" as kaysh. I know a few people who pronounce it more like cash, cashay or even catch. After consulting a few dictionaries, it turns out that the correct pronunciation of the word "cache" is cash.

My question is, are the other pronunciations of "cache" (kaysh, cashay, catch) not totally acceptable?

Which one do IT people prefer?


/kæʃ/ is the original pronunciation, as from the original French 'cache'.

/keɪʃ/ is widely heard in the IT world and elsewhere.

Both are therefore "correct" in the sense that they will be correctly understood by a wide cross-section of English speakers. I believe there's a preference for /keɪʃ/ in IT circles, but I certainly use both in a highly inconsistent manner. English is wonderful like that!

Edit, lest I forget to confirm what other people have said: /kætʃ/ and /kæʃeɪ/ are entirely different words, "catch" and "cachet" respectively. Using either of those pronunciations to mean "cache" will most likely get you looks of blank incomprehension.

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    In the U.S. IT world, I think you pronounce it /kæʃ/, just like most of the rest of the U.S. I have never heard /keɪʃ/. – Peter Shor May 23 '11 at 14:12
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    Cache being a word introduced in the Dutch language, we pronounce it /keɪʃ/, so does our IT sector. – Derk-Jan Karrenbeld May 23 '11 at 15:06
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    I am not aware of /keɪʃ/ being a pronunciation that has any currency in any native English-speaking regions. It certainly isn't countenanced by any dictionaries I have access to, American or British. – nohat May 24 '11 at 6:58
  • @nohat: and yet I hear it all the time. I think this is one of those occasions where the dictionaries are lagging behind usage, and usage is culturally and geographically muddled as well. – user1579 May 24 '11 at 16:08
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    'keish' is pretty popular in Australia. Ref: forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1670154 – Veselin Vasilev Jun 17 '15 at 4:15

'Kash' is the correct pronunciation. If you pronounce it 'kash-ey' then you're actually using a different word entirely, cachet.

  • A professor at my university always pronounced it French, because he said it's from French caché (from cacher, to hide). This is not the same as kash-ey though. German Wikipedia notes the French origin, but also states the pronounciation kash, just like English Wikipedia. – OregonGhost May 23 '11 at 12:11
  • @OregonGhost: From etymonline.com: 1797, "hiding place," from French Canadian trappers' slang, "hiding place for stores" (1660s), a back formation from Fr. cacher "to hide, conceal" (13c., O.Fr. cachier), from V.L. *coacticare "store up, collect, compress," frequentative of L. coactare "constrain," from coactus pp. of cogere "to collect" (see cogent). Sense extended by 1830s to "anything stored in a hiding place." — So it was taken from the French word cache, with a mute e. – Cerberus_Reinstate_Monica May 23 '11 at 14:40
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    @OregeonGhost - caché (with the accent over the 'e') is 'hidden' i.e. the past tense of cacher and pronounced the same. Without the accent, the final 'e' isn't pronounced, therefore pronounced 'cash'. – tinyd May 23 '11 at 14:58
  • @tinyd: Neither French cache nor French caché have the vowel sound of English "cash". The French vowel is like English "ah". – hippietrail Nov 26 '19 at 10:42

Here in Australia it is common to hear it pronounced "kaysh". An american friend of mine pronounces it "cash" and I am always aware that his pronunciation differs from the local norm. I can't recall ever hearing "ka-shay" and I suspect @Bacon Bits is correct that it is a conflation with cachet.

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    I'm also in Australia, and I still prefer "Kaysh" over "Cash", much the same with how "Niche" is pronounced "Neeysh" (not "Nish"). I've never heard "ka-shay". – Manachi Feb 18 '18 at 2:24
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    I'm from Australia and I prefer "kaysh" even after learning it's wrong I decided to retain it as a personal quirk, along with singular "dice" and using "data" as a mass noun. But this is the first time I've found that other Aussies share my "kaysh" preference. I suppose I've rarely heard Aussies say it and in the media I'm used to hearing it as "cach". For the "cachet" pronunciation, this British Youtuber uses it consistently: youtube.com/watch?v=oceqOHTlexg – hippietrail Nov 26 '19 at 10:45

IT people, at least in my country, prefer to pronounce "cache" as "cash", like your dictionary tells you. Actually, I don't seem to remember ever hearing someone pronounce it differently.

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    Should we guess what country? – Manachi Feb 18 '18 at 2:21

You are right, 'kash' is how cache is pronounced.

I am not sure any pronunciation would be totally unacceptable as long as they do not cause any misunderstanding. Of course, it would be nice to pronounce it correctly. I have heard the word pronounced as 'cashay', 'catchay' etc. in presentations and meetings, but they have been perfectly understood.


As reported from the copy of the NOAD I had on my Mac, in American English, both cache and cash are pronounced in the same way: /kæʃ/.

  • Can you present some evidence that either word uses this /kaʃ/ pronunciation in the UK? I just checked online dictionaries with British IP or British audio samples and find only /kæʃ/, even for British speakers. – hippietrail Nov 26 '19 at 10:48
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    At the time I have answered to questions, I reported what I found on the copies of NOAD and OED I had on my Mac. Nowadays, I am not using a Mac anymore, so I cannot check what those dictionaries say. – kiamlaluno Nov 26 '19 at 13:48
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    @hippietrail: /kaʃ/ is a notational variant of /kæʃ/ used by some sources in the transcription of British English (e.g. the OED uses /a/ instead of /æ/); both transcriptions describe exactly the same pronunciation: one with the vowel found in "trap" or "cat". See "IPA transcription systems for English", by John Wells. – herisson Nov 26 '19 at 13:52
  • @herisson: Really? I have an OED and an SOED at home, and had never noticed that before! If I read correctly that's a change to reflect changing RP specifically introduced in '95 into the Concise OED. My first Oxford dictionary was a concise, but a fair bit older. Interesting. – hippietrail Nov 26 '19 at 18:37

I think it comes from the french cacher (to hide) or is derived from en cachette (to do something secretly); both coming from quachier (13th century).

Source [fr]

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