I'm looking for words that has double o, but aren't pronounced as [ʊ]. (aren't like moon, goose, school)

Ideally is there a rule, or even a hint for finding these kind of words?

Looking at the differentiation between long ⟨oo⟩ and short ⟨oo⟩, I've found few examples:

  • Door
  • Floor
  • Blood
  • Flood
  • Coordinates
  • Brooch
  • Cooperative
  • Zoology

I'd appriciate any other examples, or a way to identify more words in the dictionary.


  1. https://jakubmarian.com/pronunciation-of-oo-in-english-long-or-short/
  2. https://rachelsenglish.com/the-6-sounds-of-oo/
  3. https://thesoundofenglish.org/oo-pronunciation-rules/
  • Rephrased. At the end, I'd like to form a list, and ideally would love to have a way of tracing all the words that answers this specific criteria. If there isn't one, I'd appriciate some more examples.
    – U_D
    Oct 17 '20 at 13:08
  • Sometimes one sees co-operative or as in the New Yorker, coöperative. This may be so you don't think it's something to do with barrel making. Oct 17 '20 at 19:19
  • "moon" and "goose" aren't pronounced with /ʊ/ but with /u:/. "Look" and "book" are (in most accents) /ʊ/.
    – rjpond
    Jan 13 at 18:28

There are two common pronunciations for oo: typically "book" and "boot".

With "r" it is pronounced as in door or floor. That is regular, and you'll see the same reading in moor, poor, boor (but not hooray, which is formed as hoo-ray)

The other readings have various reasons: Brooch (a type of jewellry) was deliberately spelled with "oo" to distinguish it from "broach" (a large pin)

There are words with the prefix "co" in front of a word starting with o. This explains "cooperate" and coordinate (and there are no similar common examples)

Flood and blood seem to have changed pronunciation. 600 Years ago they would have had the same vowel as in book and boot. The modern pronunciation started as a dialect variant, which spread. The same dialect variant didn't catch on for other "oo" words. flood and blood are the only words with the -lood pattern.

Zoology is pronunced with the regular "oo" sound, but it followed by an "o" sound of "ology" It is really zoo-ology but a triple letter has been suppressed.

There's no rule

  • 1
    Note that cooperate was formerly spelled as co-operate or coöperate when it started as a prefixed form of operate, but that was simplified over the years as it became its own word with independent meanings. Ditto for coordinate.
    – StephenS
    Oct 17 '20 at 14:17
  • 1
    Also note that there are several accents where "book" and "boot" are pronounced the same, see Foot-goose merger Oct 17 '20 at 18:00
  • 1
    @DanielRoseman - my wife is an educated person from Lancashire, and she says the double-Os in book, look, cook, etc, like that in boot. Oct 17 '20 at 18:51
  • @StephenS - "cooperate was formerly spelled as co-operate or coöperate" - it still is spelt 'coöperate' in two places that I know of: 1. The New Yorker, 2. My house. Oct 17 '20 at 19:08
  • 1
    In some accents "poor" is pronounced differently from "door". Lexico gives two alternatives for BrE - /pɔː/ and /pʊə/. (Of course, Lexico only specifies RP/near-RP pronunciations for BrE. So this shows that even in RP there are two rival pronunciations.)
    – rjpond
    Oct 17 '20 at 20:20

You asked if there was a 'rule' for pronunciations. There is, and you quoted it - 'oo' is generally pronounced as [ʊ]. But there are often exceptions to rules.

Modern English contains words with various origins that include older forms of English, Latin, and other European languages. The etymology of a word often contributes to its modern English pronunciation. Take your example of 'brooch' for example. The pronunciation is neither similar to 'brood' or 'pooch', so you can see that neither the opening nor closing letters influence the pronunciation of this particular word. 'Brooch' is from Old French broche.

Another reason in two of your examples - 'coordinate' and 'cooperate' - is that the 'co' is a prefix meaning 'shared', so that portion of the word is pronounced as if a separate word.

These are just two reasons for differing pronunciation.

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