I have seen that in "soccer", the 'c' is pronounced as 'k', though it is followed by 'e'. The word "soccer" comes from "(As)soc(iation football) + -er". But even in "Association", the 'c' is followed by 'i' and is pronounced as 's'. Then what is the reason for the 'k' pronunciation in "soccer"?

  • There are two Cs in soccer, which, in any case, originated as a slang or casual usage. Apr 16, 2021 at 16:40
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    Two Cs before an E is most often pronounced /ks/ in English: succeed, accept, access, eccentric. Though this being English, there are tons of exceptions, including words other than soccer where it is pronounced /k/: sicced, specced, Apr 16, 2021 at 17:17
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    Also, bocce is pronounced a third way. Why not say "Sotcher?" Apr 16, 2021 at 17:25
  • @TaliesinMerlin Because it is definitely not Italian! Apr 16, 2021 at 19:04

1 Answer 1


The term soccer appears to derive from Assoc, short for Association, originally “scocca”, with a hard c:

1889, socca, later socker (1891), soccer (1895), originally university slang (with jocular formation -er (3)), from a shortened form of Assoc., abbreviation of association in Football Association (as opposed to Rugby football); compare rugger.

An unusual method of formation, but those who did it perhaps shied away from making a name out of the first three letters of Assoc.

- er :

suffix used to make jocular or familiar formations from common or proper names (soccer being one), first attested 1860s, English schoolboy slang, "Introduced from Rugby School into Oxford University slang, orig. at University College, in Michaelmas Term, 1875" [OED, with unusual precision].


  • I believe there was a vogue for slang terms ending in -er at one time. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxford_%22-er%22 Apr 16, 2021 at 16:41
  • Interesting that it was socker at one point but then changed to soccer. Any explanation of that?
    – StephenS
    Apr 16, 2021 at 18:09
  • @StephenS - apparently socker was just a spelling variant after the suffix -er was added to socca. grammarphobia.com/blog/2014/06/soccer.html
    – user 66974
    Apr 16, 2021 at 18:25
  • @StephenS Maybe because at the time 'to sock' someone meant to hit them (it still does but is less common than it was). My guess is that, possibly, they didn't want to be thought of as 'brawling roughs'. The other code has always been said to be "a game for thugs played by gentlemen".
    – BoldBen
    Apr 16, 2021 at 20:00

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