The search engine Google was launched in 1998 and on that same year, the term googling was first used. The verb “to google” earned its official status in the Oxford English Dictionary on June 15, 2006. As a transitive verb—“to google someone”—was first used on American TV in the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer (October 15, 2002)

Willow: Have you googled her yet?
Xander: Willow! She's 17!
Willow: It's a search engine.

But What About ‘googleable’ (or ‘googlable’)?

In 2008 Macmillan Dictionary dedicated a page to this new buzz word

googleable also googlable

  • producing a number of search results if entered into the Google® Internet search engine

and included this citation from 2007:

Are you Googleable? … If the world's favourite search engine can't find you, neither can your clients.'

Dictionary.com doesn't recognize googleable and inquires helpfully

Did you mean coagulable?

Oxford Dictionaries has the following entry

googleable (also googlable)

  1. I'm a kid and don't want everything to be permanently googleable.

There is also a third spelling variant; by googling googable, Google produced a respectable 10,400 hits.

Q. 1 How do I break up googleable, or googlable into syllables?

  1. Googable has just three syllables, and I would break it up as a) goo•ga•ble

  2. Googleable is trickier, is it four or three syllables: a) goo•gle•a•ble or b) goo•glea•ble?

  3. Googlable likewise, is it: a) goo•gl•a•ble or b) goo•gla•ble?

Q. 2 Why is the spelling googable less preferred? If we drop the second syllable from goo(g)•le, and add the suffix -able, the resulting word is easier to pronounce, and just as comprehensible IMO.


2 Answers 2


Ok, I will not go into more detail concerning the second part of you question, ab2 has done so in detail and I agree with him.

As to syllabification, I would go with pronunciation and split googable into goo-ga-ble. The reasons for this are quite simple. I have learned that there is the Sonority Sequencing Principle in phonotactics which tells us that the constituents of a syllable should rise in sonority in the onset, reach their peak in the nucleus and then fall again in the coda. This, paired with the Maximum Onset Principle (name speaks for itself), make it clear for me that the first syllable is goo, the second ga, and the third ble. All three of them start with a plosive (least sonorous) and have a vowel (most sonorous) as a nucleus, the third is the exception, as syllabic consonants like l or m can also be used for a nucleus. The e in the third syllable could be omitted or pronounced as a schwa, in which case it would be the nucleus and l part of the onset.

Same goes for goo-glea-ble. Personally, I would also split it into three syllables, because I'd pronounce the glea with only one vowel sound and that is a schwa. If you want it with four syllables, then I would have the a as a stand-alone syllable and gle as a syllable with l as the nucleus and no schwa sound.

And I would split goo-gla-ble into three syllables for the same reasons as before.

I hope this helps a bit.

  • I just realised that the pronunciations of googleable and googlable are not really that different from each other, and whether it should be split it into three or four syllables is something that a more skilled person than me should answer. Dec 29, 2015 at 22:11

Googlable, pronounced goo•gla•ble

My reasons:

Googable is just plain wrong. One doesn't goog someone. OK, this is just a judment. Judment? If google goes to googable, why not judge to judment? If we are going to shorten the word, why not go to goo and gooble? "Goo that company, please." "I tried, but it's not gooble." Maybe it will come to that, in conversation, although not in writing. Sigh. I rest my case on googable.

Pronouncing Googleable with four syllables will never survive in a world where "want to" in daily speech becomes "wanna". (See Centaurus's recent question on wanna, shoulda and their kin.) When I say googleable with four syllables, it sounds like I am gargling. Maybe you can say it, but I can't. As for the spelling, if you can't say it with the e, why spell it with the e? Back to judgment. There is precedent for dropping the e. There is also precedent for keeping the e; judgement is OK. Flip a coin on the spelling.

For pronunciation, what survives of Mary Lou's choices is googlable. Her question -- goo-gl-a-ble or goo-gla-ble? The four syllable version is too hard to say. It is sort of like (or sorta like) clearing one's throat in the middle of a word.

My spell checker went crazy on this answer.

  • I've dropped the second question asking about the first usage of googleable. The second question concentrates more on the spelling and the pronunciation aspect, I think my edit doesn't harm your answer in the slightest, but you may disagree, and tweak your post accordingly.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 28, 2015 at 8:18
  • 2
    I think that googleable is easier to say than googlable – probably because I'm not accustomed to changing the last syllable of Google.
    – J.R.
    Dec 28, 2015 at 8:23
  • 1
    The shortening of googleable to googlable (in pronunciation) is going vary so widely amongst regions and even families. It is not something that one can predict with any certainty. I come from a place where they say "prolly" instead of "probably" and sometimes "portrait" rhymes with "trait" and other times with "crit" and this is within families. But nobody doesn't say "aluminum". I guess I am saying that you might be right, but only sometimes.
    – Yorik
    Dec 29, 2015 at 21:33
  • @Yorik True. Condensed, I said that the trend will be to shorter. But -- some people still say aluminium (5 syllables), so some people will always make a point of saying goo-gle-a-ble.
    – ab2
    Dec 29, 2015 at 21:53
  • "aluminium" is a variant British spelling. I am "AmEng," so we say it "correctly" :)
    – Yorik
    Dec 29, 2015 at 21:55

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