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How do you pronounce "sherbet?" [tangent from General Topics]

I am also curious... how do you all pronounce sherbet? (It's an ongoing discussion in our household!)

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  1. Sher-bert...lol which is probably wrong...but I've always pronounced it that way.

    8 Replies
    1. re: davinagr

      See, this is the argument... I have always pronounced it sher-bet and my bf has always pronounced it like you! Surely there is no silent r?!

      1. re: Katie Nell

        Now I'm wondering if I'm one of those annoying "wash-wersh" people by calling the Sherbet, "Sherbert". Do you know what I mean?

        1. re: davinagr

          Oh, certainly! (My parents say "wersh"... well it's more like "worsh!" I always thought it was a Midwest thing!!) Hopefully others will weigh in on the "sherbert" thing!!

          1. re: davinagr

            No it's not you. I've always said/heard "sherbert" and I'm from up North (so I don't say "warsh").

            Merriam-Webster's lists "sherbet" (pronounced without the R) first, but spelling and pronouncing it sherbert is also acceptable. The definition also says "an ice with milk, egg white, or gelatin added" so I supposed it may be dairy-free (though not animal-free).

            1. re: Covert Ops

              I'm from New York, and I say "sher-bert." What's wrong with that? So what if there's no "r?" When has that ever stopped us English speakers? One of my favorite things to do with non-native English speakers is to show them the word "ghoti" and ask them how they think it's pronounced. Well, it's pronounced "fish." It has the "f" sound from "rouGH," the "ih" sound from "wOmen," and the "sh" sound from "naTIon." English is so much fun! Why try to make it rational?

            2. re: davinagr

              This reminds me of an Eddie Izzard routine about herbs, in which he pronounces the H. He said that someone asked him why he called them Herbs and he said, "Because there's a F**k**g H in it!"

              A few weeks ago, I was listening to an interview on Milwaukee Public Radio with someone who sells herbs and spices at a local farmer's market, and she regularly pronounced the H. The interviewer, walking into it, asked her why she pronounced the H, and the lady replied, "Because there's a [short pause] H in it!"

              Well, it was funny at the time.

              1. re: davinagr

                It was always sherbert in my family.

            3. re: davinagr

              The 1970s Australian pop group Sherbert "racked up nine consecutive gold albums and eighteen hit singles" in its native country according to the 1978 edition of the Rolling Stone Record Guide, but its US realeases on major-label MCA didn't go much of anywhere.

              I suppose they'd fall in the "sher-'bert" camp, though obviously with a different accent than the New England and Mid-Atlantic Americans here.

            4. cast another vote for sher-bert and warsh. not quite sure when sher-bert turned into sor-bay.

              2 Replies
              1. re: jfood

                That would be when they took the milk out of the sherbet. A sherbet has in it milk, fruit, and sugar; sorbet has just the fruit and sugar.

                1. re: MisterFister

                  I used to sell bedding plants. All the varieties have fancy names like Monarch Gold or Bingo Red with Wings. A line of violas was the 'Sorbet' series, and all my customers would call them Sore Butts. LOL!!

              2. Sher-bet and sorebay here ...

                1. It's sher-bet in my house.

                  Reminds me of my friend Joel, whose sister sent him off to buy some sherbet when he was a lad. She impressed upon him the importance of pronouncing the word correctly - sher-bet - and explained that there was only one R in the word. So when he got to the head of the line to order, he asked for raspberry sheb-ert.

                  1. I said sher-bert until my pastry chef sister finally cured me of it. She says there's no such thing as sher-bert - it's sher-bet. I trust her, and if you knew her credentials, you would, too.
                    But I'm still planning on naming my next pet Sherbert. And when she says there's no such thing - I will simply point and say, "Who's that, then?".

                    1. I always say "sherbert", and I'm from New Jersey. I took a couple of semesters of RP, though, which ruined me for life, and the lecturer took pains to point out that in RP it's pronounced "sherbet", as it comes from Farsi "sharbat".

                      I think "sherbet" sounds affected, unless you swallow the second syllable so much you can't detect whether there's an extra "r" in there or not.

                      6 Replies
                        1. re: jfood

                          Received Pronunciation, or as it's also known, "BBC English". It's taught to music and journalism majors at some schools. If you've ever listened to Silvia Poggioli on NPR, you've heard RP.

                            1. re: mrnyc

                              I don't know what tiffin English is (tiffin is a light lunch) -- can you clarify?

                        2. re: Das Ubergeek

                          Wow, I'm surprised to hear you say you think sherbet sounds affected; perhaps that's *because* you took classes in RP, which told you that it's the correct pronunciatiation, though you grew up saying "sherbert"? I've always assumed its some kind of regional thing (but also felt vindicated by dictionaries' first preference agreeing with how I say it [g]). I grew up in California saying sherbet, as did everyone I knew, including my parents, who are from NY and Wisconsin.

                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                            That's probably the reason. I grew up saying "sherbert" and hearing "sherbet" to me says, "This person is making a conscious effort not to sound lower-class."

                            Did I mention that I especially like nukular-coloured sherbert? (Just kidding. I don't say "nukular".)

                            I avoid the whole thing by eating "ice cream". Which I don't pronounce "ass cream", as my cousins in Georgia do.

                        3. I learned to talk in Missouri, so it's "warsh" with me. There's other words, too and my wife (from Pennsylvania) has always said I sound a lot like Harry Truman. I quess I've mostly said "sherbert", too, though I can swing both ways. I'm comfortable with "sher-bet", it's just that I have to stop and think for an instant to say it that way.

                          Speaking of an instant's pause, I grew up saying "APER-cot." Dunno whether I got that in MO or in MD, where I mostly grew up. Nowadays I almost always have that momentary reflection and say "APri-cot."

                          My wife (the PA girl) has no shame, and still calls 'em "aper-cots." I flinch a little every time she does it in public.


                          1. we pronounced it both ways.

                            speaking of sherbet, what about "gyro" and the whole jy-row versus hee-row thang? that's another one.

                            4 Replies
                                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                  Yes - that's the 'correct' way (and the only way in Greece), but here in the US, all my Greek friends always say "Jy-row" or "Jeer-o" as the accepted Greek-American pronunciation. They tell me if you pronounce it the correct way, you're the only one, even at Greek restaurants, so they pronounce it that way here, and "Yee-rohss" when they're back home visiting. Funny, huh?

                                  OTOH - I grew up in New England, don't say 'warsh', but do say "sher-bert"

                                  1. re: Rubee

                                    > Yes - that's the 'correct' way (and the only way in Greece)

                                    Um ... not the ONLY way: there are regional differences in pronunciation (accents) in Greece, just as there are in most countries, so it depends on the Greek who's doing the pronouncing. ;-)

                            1. I'm in Canada and have always pronounced it 'sherbet' (no 'r'). That said, it doesn't seem to be as common now as it was when I was growing up - or perhaps we just don't buy it anymore.

                              1. Akatonbo- As far as I know Ghoti is a made up word used as a linguisitcs tool and is not an actual real word in the English language.

                                1. I know. It's a joke I use to amaze foreigners. Makes them grateful the English language isn't worse than it actually is.

                                    1. re: lulusugarpop

                                      Dictionary.com is wrong :-). Dictionaries tend to be "descriptivist," meaning that if enough people do it wrong, it gets recorded. But obviously there's no "bert" in the word.

                                    2. If you enjoy such discussions (and I certainly do) here's a source for a couple of hours of similar pleasures: http://cfprod01.imt.uwm.edu/Dept/FLL/...

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: alan

                                        Response "c" to #77 made me ROTFLMAO.

                                      2. The R in sherbet is the rarely used "reverse silent letter". This is very uncommon in English, but does occur in various geographic areas in words such as Florida (Florider) and idea (idear).

                                          1. Sherburt = "Shur But" with no second post-vocalic "r".


                                            1. Being from the part of England that I am from, it's always been "Sheerbert".

                                              Having said that, when I was a child "sheerbert" was a white powderey thing that you dipped a stick of liquorice into. If you put any into a fizzy drink it would always fizz over. Ahh happy days.

                                              1. Just came across this site and found it interesting. My maiden name was Sherbet. No "r", just like the ice cream. I went through life with all my teachers pronouncing it "Sherbert". Very upseting. The origin of the word is Arabic/Turkish. It is still very common today and denotes a sweet cold dessert for them. Proper pronounciation is Sherbet.

                                                Just an added tidbit for you.