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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?

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7 Answers 7

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/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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  • 13
    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/. May 23, 2011 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. May 23, 2011 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, 2011 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, 2011 at 16:08
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    'keish' is pretty popular in Australia. Ref: forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1670154 Jun 17, 2015 at 4:15
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'Kash' is the correct pronunciation. If you pronounce it 'kash-ey' then you're actually using a different word entirely, cachet.

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  • 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. May 23, 2011 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. May 23, 2011 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, 2011 at 14:58
  • @tinyd: Neither French cache nor French caché have the vowel sound of English "cash". The French vowel is like English "ah". Nov 26, 2019 at 10:42
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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, 2018 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 Nov 26, 2019 at 10:45
  • I'm an Australian who has lived and worked overseas, including the US. I believe the "kaysh" pronunciation is an Australian-only thing. If you're Australian and reading this, change your pronunciation now to "cash" to avoid sounding ridiculous to anyone outside of Australia. The "kaysh" pronunciation is cute at best, but only for a junior engineer who doesn't know better.
    – Andrew E
    May 11, 2021 at 5:07
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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, 2018 at 2:21
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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.

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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/.

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  • 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. Nov 26, 2019 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.
    – apaderno
    Nov 26, 2019 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, 2019 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. Nov 26, 2019 at 18:37
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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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