As far as I can tell the two have different etymologies and have both possible pronunciations, CLUH-J and CLOO-J but seem to be used interchangeably. I had not idea CLOO-J even existed until my school business librarian used it.

  • 1
    "CLUH-J" = [klʌdʒ] and "CLOO-J" = [kludʒ] – Kosmonaut Dec 18 '10 at 16:53
  • 1
    nope, CLOO-J = [klu:dʒ] – Mark Dec 18 '10 at 20:55
  • @Mark: Depends on whether you consider vowel height or vowel length more important, I suppose. And the more correct the transcription, the less universal anyway. – Jon Purdy Dec 19 '10 at 18:49
  • True. I only added the comment because I'd never heard CLOO-J uttered, and had to find out whether it was pronounced in a strange German way [kludʒ] or French [klu:dʒ]. – Mark Jan 1 '11 at 20:00
  • The right place to find answers to such questions is en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kludge – Jim Balter May 22 '15 at 3:36

In thirty years as an engineer, the only pronunciation I have heard from other engineers is CLOO-J.

On the rare occasions when I heard someone say CLUH-J, the speaker was NOT an engineer and was pronouncing the word as they had seen it written: kludge.


I've also seen and heard both. In my experience, kludge is more common these days; kluge seems to be used by older programmers/engineers, or those who believe that it's more correct because it's apparently older. To me, the kludge spelling and "fudgy" pronunciation seem more American. That is, I can see it looking and sounding more comfortable to average Americans, while the other may seem a bit stilted (trying too hard to maintain foreign origins).

I know you have to be careful when relying on Wikipedia, but I think its article on this subject is pretty good.

  • 1
    +1 for the Wikipedia article; it could be nice to add some of its well-documented points (in particular, that in some usage kluge and kludge are essentially different words) into the text of your answer. – PLL Dec 18 '10 at 19:19
  • "I've also seen and heard both. In my experience, kludge is more common these days;" -- it's hard to make sense of this, since "kludge" is properly and usually pronounced as [klu:dʒ]. "I know you have to be careful when relying on Wikipedia" -- a lot less so than relying on StackExchange or just about anywhere else. Most of the criticisms of Wikipedia are confused or come from people who dislike the facts recorded there. – Jim Balter May 22 '15 at 3:38

I always use the CLOOJ pronunciation, because that is how I've always heard it. In fact, I've never heard it the other way.

Nevertheless, I always spell it kludge, possibly because kluge always brings to mind the German word meaning "clever" and is pronounced "KLOO-GEH".

  • But only clever feminine or plural things :) – Kosmonaut Dec 18 '10 at 16:55
  • @Kosmonaut: Or der word complements in the nominative case, as in der kluge Mann or das kluge Pferd. With ein words, of course, you would add the gender-specific signifier, as in ein kluger Mann or ein kluges Pferd. – Robusto Dec 18 '10 at 17:12
  • 1
    True, I should say indefinite feminine or plural things, or definite non-plural things. Okay, I guess it isn't all that funny sounding anymore... nevermind :) – Kosmonaut Dec 18 '10 at 18:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.