Why is revoke spelled with a k (and revoker and revoked/revoking), yet revocable is spelled with a c?

On this website, the Latin word revoc is the base for "revocable"and "revoke". So why is revoke spelled with a k? Is it to prevent it being pronounced "revose"? If this is so, why is this k not constant throughout the words?


  • 1
    I bet it has to do with phonetics. We also have "invoke" and "invocation". – Gustavson Mar 2 '17 at 2:20
  • Perhaps Germanic folk etymology influencing the word? – etymologynerd.com Mar 2 '17 at 2:35

It depends on the vowel(s) following the 'k' or the 'c'. If there is a weak vowel like 'e', you will use the consonant 'k'. Otherwise by using a 'c', it would no longer have the sound of a 'k'! So there is no 'revoce'!

On the other hand you have 'revocable' with a 'c' before a hard vowel 'a' which does not need a 'k' because 'c' is always spoken like a 'k' with following vowels like a, o or u: vocal, come, cucumber!

  • What's a weak vowel? – tchrist Mar 2 '17 at 14:28
  • But then why not add a k in revocable? Why is it revocable? – Emereal Mar 2 '17 at 19:20
  • @Emereal Why do you demand that English spelling make sense? – choster Mar 2 '17 at 22:54
  • @choster It's a question, not a demand. – Emereal Mar 3 '17 at 0:04

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