Deeper Dive: room
Word Story Text

the pronunciation of ROOM r-o-o-m is pretty simple and easily learned–if you look at it the right way.

the OO in room is a digraph: two letters corresponding to one phoneme, a vowel.
OO has several pronunciations:

the one in room and boom is most common but also
brooch: so low frequency!

Determining the correct pronunciation requires looking at the words in which the OO occurs.

ROOM is part of a large neighborhood that includes DOOM, BOOM, BROOM, and many others. all of the -OOM words rhyme. The final M controls the pronunciation.

if the -OO is followed by K, the pronunciation is as in BOOK and LOOK.

if the -OO is followed by D, the pronunciation is as in BLOOD and FLOOD.

These examples suggest that the key to pronouncing OO words is to learn them in such groups.

One other complication: accent.

for some speakers, ROOM is pronounced “rhum”. It’s the same vowel as in BOOK.

For speakers, these pronunciations are equally valid.
But for reading, you have to be aware of how the OO is pronounced in your area.
As always, your students may come from different backgrounds and so pronounce the pattern differently.

The pronunciations of some OO words are in flux. ROOF vs. RUF for example. see the entry for ROOF for further explanation.


“What is soul? It’s like electricity - we don’t really know what it is, but it’s a force that can light a room." Ray Charles

“There is always room at the top." Daniel Webster

"I have said this many times, that there seems to be enough room in the world for mediocre men, but not for mediocre women, and we really have to work very, very hard." Madeleine Albright


room There’s a world where I can go and tell my secrets to
In my room , in my room
In this world I lock out all my worries and my fears
In my room , in my room

Do my dreaming and my scheming
Lie awake and pray
Do my crying and my sighing
Laugh at yesterday

Now it’s dark and I’m alone
But I won’t be afraid
In my room , in my room
In my room , in my room
In my room , in my room

In My Room - The Beach Boys

Emergency room
Make room
Left the room
In the next room
Waiting room
Dining/living/family room
Dressing room
Fitting room
Changing room
Locker room
Hotel room
room to move
room to do something
Elbow room
Leg room
Head room
room noun [OE. roum, rum, space, AS. rūm; akin to OS., OFries. & Icel. rūm, D. ruim, G. raum, OHG. rūm, Sw. & Dan. rum, Goth. rūms, and to AS. rūm, adj., spacious, D. ruim, Icel. rūmr, Goth. rūms; and prob. to L. rus country (cf. Rural), Zend ravaṅh wide, free, open, ravan a plain.]

1. Unobstructed spase; space which may be occupied by or devoted to any object; compass; extent of place, great or small; as, there is not room for a house; the table takes up too much room.
Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. Luke xiv. 22.

There was no room for them in the inn. Luke ii. 7.
2. A particular portion of space appropriated for occupancy; a place to sit, stand, or lie; a seat.
If he have but twelve pence in his purse, he will give it for the best room in a playhouse. Overbury.

When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room. Luke xiv. 8.
3. Especially, space in a building or ship inclosed or set apart by a partition; an apartment or chamber.
I found the prince in the next room. Shak.
4. Place or position in society; office; rank; post; station; also, a place or station once belonging to, or occupied by, another, and vacated. [Obs.]
When he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judea in the room of his father Herod. Matt. ii. 22.

Neither that I look for a higher room in heaven. Tyndale.

Let Bianca take her sister’s room. Shak.
5. Possibility of admission; ability to admit; opportunity to act; fit occasion; as, to leave room for hope.
There was no prince in the empire who had room for such an alliance. Addison.
Room and space (Shipbuilding)
the distance from one side of a rib to the corresponding side of the next rib; space being the distance between two ribs, in the clear, and room the width of a rib.
To give room
to withdraw; to leave or provide space unoccupied for others to pass or to be seated.
To make room
to open a space, way, or passage; to remove obstructions; to give room.
Make room, and let him stand before our face. Shak.

Syn. – Space; compass; scope; latitude. Room, intransitive verb [imperfect or past participle Roomed; present participle or verbal noun Rooming.] To occupy a room or rooms; to lodge; as, they arranged to room together.

Room adjective [AS. rūm.] Spacious; roomy. [Obs.] No roomer harbour in the place. Chaucer.

-- Webster's unabridged 1913

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