Sherbet or Sherbert?

Sherbet Sherbert

In efforts to beat the summer heat, you may have encountered two different spellings of the same scrumptious treat: sherbet and sherbert. Why do both forms exist, and which one is correct?

Sherbet (pronounced “shur-bit”) is the standard American spelling for the frozen mixture made from fruit and an additive of either milk, egg white, or gelatin. It comes from the name of a Persian drink made of fruit juice, water, sweetener, and a cooling component such as snow. This refreshment was called sharbat after the Arabic word sharbah for “a drink.” Sherbert (pronounced “shur-bert”) is a common misspelling of sherbet that resulted from a common mispronunciation. Its prevalence has resulted in its inclusion in some dictionaries as an alternative spelling.

Both pronunciations will get you a scoop of a light, frozen, fruit-based refreshment in the US. But take note that if you order sherbet in the UK you may get something else entirely. In British English, sherbet is more commonly used to refer to a sweet powder that can be made into an effervescent drink by adding water.

Sherbet is distinct from ice cream primarily by its level of butterfat: in the US, sherbet must contain between 1 and 2 percent butterfat, whereas ice cream must have least 10 percent. Sherbet might also be confused with sorbet, the name for which also comes from the Arabic sharbah. Unlike sherbet, sorbet does not contain dairy, making it a great alternative for those who are lactose intolerant.

How do you pronounce sherbet? Do you prefer sherbet or sherbert?

Like this Word Fact? Sign up for our Word Fact of the Week email!


  1. ntrs -  August 24, 2016 - 10:59 am

    You can always spot the class and experiences on how someone pronounces a word. Those who pronounce it sher-bit tend to be your white suburbanite, perfectly leftist types that’ve had everything they’ve ever needed in life to live comfortably. Sure, it’s a little off the topic here but it’s true.

    • oni -  October 27, 2016 - 12:28 pm

      So true. This is not necessarily someone who is highly educated, just someone with an easier life than most….the same sort of person who might pronounce “ketchup” any other way than keh-chup.

    • Ron -  December 7, 2016 - 3:10 am

      Um, I beg to differ. I may be white, but definitely wouldn’t consider myself a suburbanite. Never had much but what I’ve worked for and my politics lean a little too far to the right for most people.

  2. Ruth -  August 15, 2016 - 1:53 am

    I’ve decided to work extra hard at not letting the differences in pronunciation of words bother me. I’ve discovered that there will always be someone that pronounces a word differently. I have always pronounced the word applicable with the emphasis on app (APPlicable). An attorney that I was speaking with pronounced it with the emphasis on Plic (apPLICable). Come to find out, my pronunciation was American English and the attorney’s pronunciation was British English. By the way, he wasn’t British. :) Apparently, depending on what Web site you use as a resource, either both are acceptable or only one is.

  3. Scarlett -  April 25, 2016 - 12:17 pm

    I never realized how much of a controversy this is! You may call me stupid but, I personally have always pronounced it as “Sherbert”. This is mostly due to the fact that I have a multicolored bear named Sherbert.
    I don’t know much about the dessert but, when it comes to names; Sherbet is feminine, Sherbert is masculine.
    I also know that different languages have different names for masculine and feminine items. Maybe this is where the mix up began? Even so, it still doesn’t answer the question of which is correct.
    I like to think that both are correct (despite what people say). The names Isabel and Isabella are spelled differently but, they are still technically the same name.

    • JJ Ostinato -  June 10, 2016 - 4:39 pm

      Not to enter the fray, but I feel that language is the most important tool that we possess as individuals and as a society. It is impossible to have precise thoughts if our language is not precise. We tend to think in sentences, made up of individual words. If we use the word, “good” for an ice cream cone, a Beethoven symphony and the Grand Canyon, we fail to convey anything; it is much like a dog wagging its tail. Instead, if we say that the ice cream is delicious, the symphony inspiring and the Grand Canyon breathtaking, we convey much more information. So, I will always say ‘sherbet’, ‘February’, ‘dissect’, etc. Am I a snob?

      • David -  June 24, 2016 - 1:26 pm

        Yes, language changes to fit the time and the people. Color is spelt with a U more places than it isn’t and what is English even? European English or American English? They have widely different pronunciation for tons of words.

        Basically language changes and sticking to the ways you were raised is both not accurate and pointless. Society is language, not a dictionary.

        • Bo Dahlstrom -  August 24, 2016 - 10:13 am

          Yawn, I think I am going to lay down now

  4. Justin Steenhoek -  April 20, 2016 - 11:26 am


  5. Artificial Intelligence -  April 17, 2016 - 9:59 pm

    When I was a child, occasionally my mom would purchase this delicious sherbet that I pronounced “sherbit”, as did all my other family members. I was surprised (yes) one day to see the word “sherbert” printed on the lid of the carton as I was about to dip some to enjoy. Go figure! Perhaps we should have called this company to inform them of their mistake, but we chose not to enunciate such a thing. We just kept eating that delicious dessert because we could not bare the thought of deserting it!! We also began to make certain the second R was sounded each time we spoke of this delicacy!! I am shocked to learn that I have been pronouncing it wrong all these years. Some of my family members have passed away; therefore, I am unable to share the atrociousness of my newfound knowledge with them. Please forgive me as I must stop right here to nurture my inner child! AI

  6. Leslie -  March 11, 2016 - 3:36 pm

    Saying SherbeRt is the equivalent to saying FebUary. It may be the common pronunciation but that doesn’t make it right.

    Sherbet should be pronounced just how it’s spelled, Sher-BET

    And February should be pronounced just how it’s spelled Feb-RU-ary.

    And for the person below saying only snobby perfectionists pronounce it that way… No. Just because some people choose to be defiantly stupid and purposely incorrect, it doesn’t make those of us who actually pay attention to things like grammar and spelling snobs. Same goes for the people who refuse to learn how to correctly use their, there and they’re or your and you’re or to, too, and two. They are different words with different meanings. It’s like choosing to say the word apple when what you’re really talking about is an orange. Being educated and knowing the difference doesn’t make me a snob, but you refusing to learn the correct way and choosing to say the incorrect thing does make you an idiot. You can’t pick and choose which words to pronounce correctly. Well you can, but that reflects poorly on you, not the rest of us who actually care enough to not want to sound like kindergarteners.

    • Joseph -  March 27, 2016 - 5:16 pm

      Firstly, your comment is rude. I understand that those below you were being rude and unkind as well, but it reflects badly on you that you responded in the way you did. If anything you played right into their hands, as your response was snobby and pretentious, exactly as they said. Secondly, pronouncing it sherbert is completely fine because, although that did not originate from the original word and rather came from a mispronunciation, many words in modern day language have. Not only that but it’s become very common in American society to pronounce it as such. The difference between February and Febuary is that February is the correct spelling. Sherbet and Sherbert, contrarily, have individual spellings for each pronunciation. Therefore, although they both mean the same thing, either way of spelling and pronouncing is correct. Belittling people for the way they pronounce a word is childish.

      • Hyacinth -  June 2, 2016 - 2:33 pm

        I was raised in a fast food business and my dad made his sherbet from scratch. It was a major sin to pronounce or spell sherbet any other way except the aforementioned. To this day i shake my head when I hear sherbert. It sounds ugly. My dad made sherbet with the highest quality flavor and colors. There is milk in it, but not the high fat content of ice cream. The result is a cold, beautiful treat. He made raspberry, orange, pineapple, cherry, grape, lime, lemon, and pineapple-orange. Only 1 flavor/day or week depending on weather. A wonderful memory for me. My dad expected perfection from me in grammar and lit.

      • Robin -  August 21, 2016 - 4:49 pm

        Love Joseph

      • Julie -  August 30, 2016 - 2:39 am

        Joseph, Your post is perfect and I couldn’t agree with you more!! I felt the exact same way about Leslie’s post. :)

      • afx -  October 9, 2016 - 9:53 am

        Leslie was right. His/Her point, though, was about people refusing to pronounce things correctly even after seeing that the way they do pronounce it is incorrect.

        Yes, language changes, but sher-BERT arose as an accepted spelling simply because enough stubborn and stupid people pronounced it that way despite it even entirely incorrect. Sherbert became an accepted spelling because people would see ‘sherbet’, pronounce it ‘sher-BERT’ and then write it how they said it: ‘sherbert’.

        Watching the destruction of a word due to stupidity is not something that should be celebrated, no matter how much language changes.

        Does this post make me a snob because I disagreed and called people who refuse to be correct ‘stupid’? It probably does, and I’d much rather be known as a snob than be known as a stubborn idiot.

    • Andrew -  May 3, 2016 - 7:25 pm


      Thank you for speaking and writing English correctly! So few do these days and it is quite refreshing.

    • Matt -  May 9, 2016 - 4:55 pm

      It’s more fun to pronounce it Shur-Burt. There was a time when I tried to hide my Midwest upbringing and use that other pronunciation but this had a gloomy side effect. Every time I pronounced it “sherbet” it just didn’t taste as good. I’m older now and I don’t care what other people think of me quite as much. I’m going to call it Shur-Burt and I’m going to be more forgiving when I hear other people say “libary” and “Febuary.”

      • afx -  October 9, 2016 - 9:55 am

        Why not pronounce any word in a stupid way if the word ‘tastes better’ or is more ‘fun’ to pronounce that way? Why not just forget that the word even exists? What is the point of a word anyway, to mean something? That’s stupid!

        Hooray Midwest upbringing!

    • Chris Stratmann -  May 14, 2016 - 8:35 am

      Leslie- Aren’t you a fountain of knowledge? Speaking of defiantly stupid… Even your assertion that the “r”-less version of the word should be pronounced Sher-BET is grossly incorrect. First of all, why did you capitalize it; secondly, the CORRECT pronunciation of the “r”-less version is sher-BIT. Thank God for sanctimonious asses like you.

    • Art -  August 16, 2016 - 6:00 am

      Leslie, I’m totally on your side. Ignorance is becoming the accepted norm and I won’t go along with it either.

    • Toby -  November 26, 2016 - 2:31 am

      Your assertion that February “should” be pronounced with the first “r” as “r” instead of “y” is unfounded. Look at the pronunciation note for that word on this site, regarding the dissimilated pronunciation (in which the first “r” is not pronounced as an “r”). It states: “Although sometimes criticized, this dissimilated pronunciation of February is used by educated speakers and is considered standard.” So I think you should take your “should” and… yeah, you can guess the rest.

    • Brennan Walsh -  November 27, 2016 - 10:24 am

      Yes this.

  7. ana -  February 6, 2016 - 5:20 pm

    Here, in Serbia, we use he term “sherbet” for a caramelized dairy drink people use when they cough or have a sore throat.

    First we heat the saucepan, add sugar, heat it until it gets brown and liquid and then we pour milk into the saucepan to finalize the procedure.

    The result is “sherbet”. We pronounce it as “sher-be” (t is silent).

    We believe the term is Turkish (since we were 500 + years under the Turkish rule)

  8. Anthony -  December 30, 2015 - 11:32 pm

    Actually the very original pronunciation of the word was sherbert. Then a population chef with a speech impediment cam a long that pronounced it sherbet. And stupid people around the world went holy shit have been pronouncing it wrong this whole time!? The second r must be silent. Let’s just remove it!

  9. Dawn -  September 15, 2015 - 9:22 am

    Hands down…it’s sherbet. Look at the word and sound it out. It’s not hard?

    • afx -  October 9, 2016 - 9:55 am

      Oh, but it IS hard. Some people take pride in being stupid.

  10. bertharris -  August 13, 2015 - 1:07 am

    the dessert should be spelled s,h,e,r,b,e,r,t which is spelled exactly the way it sounds. No different than the enunciation of Herbert; except with a “sher” prefix.

    • Katrina Storm -  October 24, 2015 - 6:44 am

      @bertharris You are clearly unable to READ. The word is neither spelled with an R, nor pronounced with an R.

      HeRbert has an R; Sherbet does not!!!

      It irritates the hell out of me that people can’t a) Read or b) accept that they are wrong.

      • hecker -  December 27, 2015 - 5:14 pm

        i think you’re the one who can’t read.
        see that?
        that’s an R.

      • autumn -  March 14, 2016 - 11:21 am

        And I hate it when people who think they know everything are wrong as well…scrt!

  11. Geschi -  July 29, 2015 - 10:49 pm

    I’m curious about the spread of the mispronunciation – I grew up in Oregon, where EVERYONE says sherbert, and if you said “sherbet” people would look at you like you had a third eye. I never heard that pronunciation until I traveled to the east coast when I was older, and by then “sherbert” was so ingrained in me that “sherbet” sounded ridiculous (and I still refuse to pronounce it like that. It’s normal back at home!). I wonder if it’s a coastal thing, pronunciation-wise, or if the distribution of the pronunciation is more complex than that.

    • Joseph -  March 27, 2016 - 5:19 pm

      I’ve grown up in California and experienced the same thing. Here, it has always been pronounced sherbert. I only learned about the other pronunciation when a friend of mine told me. When I asked around, no one really knew the correct way, and those who thought they did said the correct way of pronouncing it was sherbert.

  12. Pietro Del Buono -  July 29, 2015 - 4:40 am

    Are you really, but really sure… I mean adamant that a “Sherbet” and a “Sorbet” are two different things?

    I have always known that the second is nothing but the French translation of the first one and that both depict any iced and fruity concoctions of an ice-cream like texture that may be served between courses of a robust meal (as in France) or in lieu of an ice cream (rest theh world) .

    … and, really, guys who – a part from some pre 1962 hilly-billy – would actually use “Sherbert”, come on!


    • ggg -  July 29, 2015 - 10:26 pm


  13. llamaz -  July 28, 2015 - 11:59 pm


  14. llamaz -  July 28, 2015 - 11:59 pm


  15. sona -  July 28, 2015 - 10:47 pm

    sherbet is not a persian word . it ,s arabic and comes from sharaba that means drinking.

  16. bubble -  July 28, 2015 - 2:45 am

    hello again

  17. bubble -  July 28, 2015 - 2:29 am


    • bubble -  July 28, 2015 - 2:30 am

      I THINK IT’S SHERBET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Will -  July 27, 2015 - 5:57 pm

    Yeah… I agree! Sherbet is correct.

  19. Carol -  July 25, 2015 - 7:17 pm

    When I was a child, my Aunt Genie made the world’s most delicious apricot sherbert! We ate it in the back yard while dodging mosquitoes and mispronouncing other words. I’m sure that apricot sherbet would not taste the same. If I’m ever in a crowd of snooty perfectionists discussing sherbet, I’ll just say I’ve never tried it! Thanks for the tip!

    • Your Mom -  July 28, 2015 - 11:27 am

      you spelt sherbet wrong

    • Pat -  January 24, 2016 - 5:40 pm

      Oh, come now. Anyone who prefers the correct spelling and pronunciation of a random word is a snooty perfectionist? Then, what does that make you? Down to earth, indifferent, AND purposely incorrect?

      • Scarlett -  April 25, 2016 - 12:28 pm

        How do you know that you’re not incorrect? Isn’t that what this article was about? The word means the same thing, either way you pronounce it. Maybe the problem is that some people just don’t accept new ideas very well. (And please don’t become weirdly defensive. That’s not what I intended when writing this.)

    • YOUR FREAKING WORST NIGHTMARE -  April 19, 2016 - 8:54 am

      carol, no one gives two craps about ur granny’s sherbert. you and ur disgusting “sherbert” can go kys

  20. I am amazing -  July 25, 2015 - 12:30 am

    What? I am amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • I am amazing -  July 25, 2015 - 12:32 am

      Seriously, I am! But I think it’s sherbet. Yeah!

      • Your Mom -  July 28, 2015 - 11:30 am

        Trust me, You’re not amazing at all.
        You’re the most insignificant, most ordinary person on earth.
        you are cool : \ (jk jk)

  21. Mayuresh -  July 24, 2015 - 4:15 am

    As article mentioned, this word is inherited from persian word…

    it is almost pronounced alike in Hindi … as “Sharbat”
    and “Sarbat” in Marathi..

    But never knew.. the origin is from Persia…

    Thats good learning .. thanks !

  22. Rosemary -  July 23, 2015 - 5:26 am

    SHERBET = The correct spelling! :-D

    • JanMarie -  July 23, 2015 - 12:41 pm


    • mitchyftw123 -  July 26, 2015 - 4:53 pm

      You are correct :)

  23. Asli -  July 20, 2015 - 12:53 pm

    We use sherbet in turkey too. from the Ottoman Empire. Its writing as “Şerbet” in Turkish. Especially puerpera time, women in here drink it.

  24. emmaawesomeness -  July 19, 2015 - 10:55 pm

    one of the words has a capitol letter

    • Max -  September 9, 2015 - 7:09 am

      May I correct you? It’s ‘capital.’

      • Max -  September 9, 2015 - 7:10 am

        Or maybe not. DON’T LISTEN TO ME! X_X

  25. DeviB -  July 18, 2015 - 7:51 pm

    This article reminds me of the well-known Math textbook I studied at the undergraduate level. “Real Analysis” by Bartle and Sherbert… We students used to refer to the authors as “Bottle and Sherbet”!!

  26. Alkemist -  July 17, 2015 - 9:18 pm

    Sherbet is also slang in Australia for beer “i’m going to the pub for a couple of sherbets”

  27. Kerry -  July 17, 2015 - 7:47 pm

    Here is another one. Why do so many people on the radio and TV commercials pronounce jewelry, “joolery?” I would think the owner of such a business would at least pronounce it correctly.

    • Linda -  July 28, 2015 - 8:21 am

      I grew up pronouncing the word “joolery” because the standard spelling used then was jewellery, not jewelry. (According to this website, jewellery is the British spelling.) This is likely another example of a word that has dropped a syllable in its evolution. Vegetable and laboratory are two other words I can think of that have lost a syllable in their American pronunciation (vs. British).

      • Ronan -  August 16, 2015 - 12:05 am

        Gor blimey mate, I fink youv gor it!

        • autumn -  March 14, 2016 - 11:25 am

          really? like seriously that was out of line, I have a British accent too but you SURE would get offended if I made fun of whatever nationality you are. Wank off.

    • Art -  August 16, 2016 - 6:04 am

      Totally agree. I used to be in radio and made a point of my announcers saying it correctly. When I hear store owners saying it wrong, I make a note to NEVER shop where they can’t be bothered to say what they sell correctly.

  28. Jesse -  July 17, 2015 - 3:15 pm

    I’ve always pronounced it sherbert because wherever we’d go, it was always spelled and pronounced sherbert. There was a nice little place by the shore that we went to that had wonderful rainbow sherbert, and now whenever we buy any, it’s a local brand that calls the product sherbert. I think how it gets pronounced/spelled is a bit of a regional thing.

  29. Ron -  July 17, 2015 - 11:40 am

    I wonder what people think of the concept “common mispronunciation”? Is it an oxymoron? Consider three words that come immediately to mind. “Err” used to rhyme with “fur”; nowadays most people I hear in the United States pronounce it like “air”. The first syllable in “machinations” is now commonly pronounced “mash”. And the French borrowing “forte” (strong point) is most often pronounced like the Italian musical direction “forté”.

    • Ethan L! -  July 20, 2015 - 8:15 pm

      Clearly you’ve been listening to the wrong people. I’ve never heard any of these pronunciations, and I’ve lived in the U.S. my whole life.

      As for mispronunciation, I agree that it’s an oxymoron. If everyone pronounces it that way, then it’s how it’s “supposed to be” said.

      • tadhgvonnorth -  July 23, 2015 - 9:53 pm

        Well I am Aussie all the way and I – too – have not heard of any such pronunciations. Err rhymes with fur, machinations is MASHinations, and forte is for-tay — guess its all a matter of influence and environment.

        • Bart -  July 26, 2015 - 8:57 am

          OMG, you have NEVER heard the correct pronunciation of “forte?” That’s just sad.

          • tadhgvonnorth -  July 28, 2015 - 7:29 pm

            Having completed 7 years of classical pianoforte lessons and examinations – you would think so wouldn’t you! I have honestly never heard anything other than “for-tay” … sorry people!

        • tuesday -  July 28, 2015 - 7:38 pm

          I think “regional and social influences” might explain a lot of things here. I too am Aussie, and maCKinations is how I was taught to pronounce this word. I have never heard ANYONE say maSHinations. Forte and For-tay are two separate words. But agree err rhymes with fur.

        • Abby -  February 3, 2016 - 7:39 pm

          This is what he ways trying to convey. Forte as in pianoforte or the dynamic forte is pronouned as such for-tay. However if you say something along the lines of this is not my forte, it is pronounced as fort. People mispronounce the latter as forte, because at the time the word was coined pianoforte was a instrument that many people played. Therefore people mispronounced the word.

      • n -  July 25, 2015 - 12:17 am

        i live in the pacific northwest. Err pronounced air and other words as well. are the dominant pronunciations here. It is an accent “thing”.

      • Bart -  July 26, 2015 - 8:59 am

        You’ve never heard “forte” (mis-)pronounced “for-tay?” I find that hard to believe: in my experience it’s the much more common way of saying it.

      • Katy -  July 29, 2015 - 9:15 am

        Sorry, I couldn’t read this and not comment! So, here’s my explanation. I’m from the U.S. the Err you’re hearing could be someone trying to say Er, meaning Um. These are just filler exclamatory words like Uh. People add letters to the ends of these online to draw them out as if they were saying them in a long, slow way. The word err, if pronounced by someone who knows what the word means, is still pronounced like air. Ex. To err is human. Machinations is not mashinations. I agree that you have heard the wrong people. Lastly, forte is commonly pronounced fortay if it has the e, accent or no accent. This is because both have those french/latin origins. Forte means strong suit/trait. Forte means loud(strong) in music. Fort without an e means a “stronghold” like something you would build as a child. Don’t know why they dropped the e on that, but it’s pronounced like it’s spelled, no extra syllable. As far as common misspellings, I think this concept applies to a lot of abnormalities. Idk about other places, but in America, people seem to be on a misguided mission to purposefully take things that are incorrect and make them commonplace and OK. Ex. Just because everyone is spelling something wrong does not mean we have to make it a new version so all the idiots are right. (Yes, I am one of those idiots too sometimes lol, but I like to be corrected and learn from my mistakes) how is our country supposed to learn value in historical significance if a simple truth such as this is always changing? Yes, every region has different ways of pronouncing things, too. Just sharing food for thought. Good luck navigating our ridiculously complicated language!

        • Carmel -  July 30, 2015 - 2:24 pm

          I agree that just because a lot of people are mispronouncing words or using them in the wrong context means that the definition or pronunciation of those words should change to accommodate them.

          Yeah, language shifts – but that’s to make the language better, not to accommodate for people who can’t be bothered to learn…!

          • Mikkel -  July 31, 2015 - 7:07 am

            Language doesn’t shift to make things better. What possible change in the language would you not consider ‘people not being bothered to learn’?

            People use ‘literally’ to mean ‘figuratively’ quite often and people complain about it saying how so many don’t know what the word means anymore, ignoring the fact that’s been the way it is for centuries such that even Shakespeare used it in the figurative sense.

        • Mikkel -  July 31, 2015 - 7:03 am

          Dictionary.com says ‘err’ is pronounced both “air” and “er”.

          “forty” has become so common now that you can’t insist any longer that it should be pronounced “fort” just because that’s the way it used to be pronounced.

          If everyone is spelling something ‘wrong’ and it becomes established then it’s not wrong anymore. This is the way words change, this is how they’ve always changed and trying to prevent it is pissing in the wind.

  30. Del -  July 16, 2015 - 10:39 am

    In England, the pronunciation of sherbet or sherbert (which is commonly seen) is the same, because you wouldn’t pronounce that R anyway. You don’t pronounce the R in Albert or standard . Do Americans really pronounce the R in standard ?

    The person who has written liquorish means liquorice. This is a common mispronunciation in England, and as a spelling it is definitely wrong. (The QU in both is pronounced as K, however, since the word was taken from French, like cheque, and later mis-spelt in the USA only).

    The Concise Oxford Dictionary only has sherbet as the correct spelling, and it mentions not only sorbet, but also syrup as coming ultimately from the same Arabic word. Sorbet is very common in England and France (the T not pronounced in either), meaning in effect an ice-cream always with no milk or fat at all, what used to be called a water-ice in Victorian times, in fact.

    • bostonbeans -  July 25, 2015 - 2:38 pm

      Yes, Americans really do pronounce the R in standard, and in Albert.

    • tuesday -  July 28, 2015 - 7:49 pm

      Aussies also pronounce the R in standard and Albert. British English seems to differ as much from US English as Australian English…I’m a proof reader with an author from all three backgrounds, and it’s amazing what differences there really are. Makes it quite challenging at times for me, but it’s also very interesting.

      I think too, and this is just my personal opinion here, that the different education systems play a hand in the variations of pronunciation and spelling. I was educated in both the private and public sectors here in Australia, and even as a child, I noticed differences.

      Regional areas also influence language; the states of Victoria and New South Wales, for example, sometimes have a wide variation on Australian English.

      And of course, Education is different nowadays, and so we have the different generations pronouncing words differently to one another. Just like in dictionaries, word meanings fall out of disuse and the older generations seem to talk another language to the younger ones.

      Nothing ever remains the same while it’s still functioning; which is why Latin is used for scientific terms. Being a dead language it doesn’t change anymore.

      • Carmel -  July 30, 2015 - 2:28 pm

        Well, I’m Australian and I say “stand-ed” and “Al-but”, as do all my friends. The over-pronunciation of the R is a trait we’re inheriting from American TV.

    • Mikkel -  July 31, 2015 - 6:54 am

      Those pronunciations arrived in New Zealand intact evidently, except for in the far south where, thanks to heavy Scottish settlement, we throw a lot of ‘r’s around.

      Albit, standid, lik’rish, shuhbit for NZ generally (but shER-bERt for me).

    • Scarlett -  April 25, 2016 - 12:43 pm

      I’ve actually never heard of standard being pronounced without an ‘r’. That’s curious! What would that sound like?

      • Scarlett -  April 25, 2016 - 12:44 pm

        Never mind. I need to learn to read. X(

  31. Mikaylah -  July 16, 2015 - 3:23 am

    sherbet is my favourite sweet

  32. Izzy -  July 15, 2015 - 8:40 am

    I would agree
    with pat

  33. David -  July 15, 2015 - 7:37 am


    • bob -  July 17, 2015 - 9:54 am


  34. Somebody -  July 14, 2015 - 9:06 pm

    Has anyone ever encountered folks that say “westrin” instead of western? It seems to be pretty common here in the mitten state. Another frequent language abuse is to run words together: “whatchagot” instead of “what do you have”. I believe many of our grammatical errors could be eradicated if we eliminated contractions from our vocabularies. Of course I am not an expert…

    • Larkin Huey -  July 17, 2015 - 6:03 am

      How about people who say things like “for you and I” in their failed efforts to be proper. They don’t realize that “I” can be as incorrect as “me” can be. I’ve never heard the “westrin” pronunciation, but I’ve been through Michigan only one time.

  35. Lollipop -  July 14, 2015 - 5:08 am


    • Name -  July 15, 2015 - 1:45 am

      Lollipops is right it is very weird, NOT ITS TOTALLY NORMAL

  36. Lollipop -  July 14, 2015 - 5:06 am

    i say sherbet like sheor bet. It strange what people say

    • booth -  July 14, 2015 - 10:25 pm

      its ok lol

      its pumk-kin
      for me

  37. spam -  July 13, 2015 - 10:57 am

    sherbet, classically sold as a kids sweet. it always has a stick of liquorish that you lick and dab it into the sugary fizzy lemony powder! you get a bitter hit from the liquorish and a sweet acidic hit from the powder. to make sherbet you make a flavoured sugar (lemon zest and sugar beaten in a kitchen aid to release the essential oils) blitz the sugar to make it a powder for 500g powdered sugar add, 2 tsp of citric acid, and 1 tsp of bicarb mix well and use as your fizzy powder. you can flavour the sherbet with any flavour powder you wish to make (i really like raspberry powder). Boom… childhood recreated!!!

    • Mikkel -  July 31, 2015 - 7:09 am


  38. Hannan -  July 11, 2015 - 8:02 am

    sher bet is correct pronounciation as per stanfard english

    • mike -  July 13, 2015 - 2:05 pm

      you mean:

      • Dog -  July 14, 2015 - 8:00 pm

        Hahahaha nice find.

  39. Pinky -  July 10, 2015 - 9:37 pm

    I grew up saying sherbert and never noticed that there wasn’t an r in the 2nd syllable. Never ran into anyone who said sherbet either. However, just when I tried to type sherbert now, the autocorrect changed it to sherbet.

    • Leigh -  July 14, 2015 - 11:34 am

      Both my parents, when I was growing up, said “sherbert” for sherbet. And they also said “warsh” for wash. It sounds as if they were terribly uneducated, but they weren’t, perhaps it was due to being Hoosiers. I forced myself to correct the way I said those words, however, when I left home, for fear of sounding like an uneducated hillbilly, not that there is anything wrong with that!

      • jsponger -  July 16, 2015 - 10:21 am

        I have never heard the term Sherbet without an r, and my family has lived in southern California for multiple generations (always saying sherbert). On the other hand, I am very aware that there is a difference between sorbet (pronounced sohr-bay around here) to be different from sherbert, but would venture to say that most people would not know which was milk and which was ice based.

        I clicked on this link because it never occurred to me to think of sherbert as sherbet.

      • Denise -  July 16, 2015 - 11:07 am

        Leigh – Hahaa ha ha! “… for fear of sounding like an uneducated hillbilly, not that there is anything wrong with that!”

        Regarding the pronunciation of sherbet as sherbert, I also noticed the lack of the second ‘r’ in the spelling on my own and adapted. Then lapsed, then correctly pronounced it when with my kids. Truthfully, I don’t know what I would say at any given moment. My mom adapted too, by the way.

      • Miners Lettuce -  July 16, 2015 - 5:35 pm

        I’m from eastern NC and had relatives who lived near Washington DC for most of their adult lives who pronounced wash as “warsh”, as in “Warshington, DC”. Everyone in my town called it “sherbert”. I can’t begin to describe how they all pronounce the word, iron. I like these regional accents: it would be boring if we all sounded the same.

  40. Randall -  July 10, 2015 - 4:52 am

    Thus it could be powder or lequide it depends what you use it for…?

  41. Jane White -  July 10, 2015 - 2:24 am

    Where I come from sherbet is a white tingley tasting powder inside lemon boiled sweets … the frozen refreshment is known as sorbet (from the French) Sore Bay!!

    • Jeanpaul -  July 20, 2015 - 6:01 am

      “Sore Bay” is not french! In France we use the word “Sorbet”, which also comes from the Arabic sharbah.

  42. TK -  July 9, 2015 - 3:54 pm

    At long last, I know how to properly pronounce this word! I never was 100% sure until now.

  43. Roger Cayman -  July 9, 2015 - 12:58 pm

    A sherbet by any other name would taste as awful.

    I can’t stand the stuff!

    It doesn’t surprise me that “sherbert” comes from a mispronunciation of “sherbet” – I grew up in the Deep South where EVERYTHING is mispronounced. All vowels are pronounced as diphthongs; in words with a final hard consonant, it is sounded as a glottal stop; “ing” is pronounced as “in”; “pin” and “pen” are both said and heard identically; et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

    • Mikkel -  July 31, 2015 - 7:13 am

      Being surrounded by a dialect doesn’t mean things are mispronounced. There are ‘standard’ pronunciations certainly, but ‘standard’ is not a synonym of ‘correct’.

  44. Queanie -  July 9, 2015 - 12:39 pm

    Sherbet always and only. A pet peave. Another one: FEBRUARY is NOT, repeat NOT FEBUARY!!!!! Even brodcast journalists now slaughter this easy to pronounce month. What’s the deal with that? Would love to see an open discussion beginning with your wonderful chalk board, which I love. It is like, ok now children, we will now learn how to… I like the chalk board graphic.

    • J Lynch -  July 10, 2015 - 1:04 pm

      At the risk of peaving someone off…I was raised pronouncing it sherbert, likely because I can’t spell well, I never noticed the different spelling. Also, it’s always been FebUary to me…always figured the, r, was silent. Also it’s the hardest month to spell.

      • joel -  July 16, 2015 - 7:33 pm

        Fortunately it is shorter than other months and ends sooner.

      • Scarlett -  April 25, 2016 - 12:50 pm

        Couldn’t agree more. :)

    • lynn -  July 11, 2015 - 5:49 am

      Peeve, not peave

      • Jumping Fovie -  July 22, 2015 - 1:11 pm

        rotfl! Nice one!

  45. Jeanett -  July 9, 2015 - 11:02 am

    I do enjoy reading these articles. I wish, however, that when these articles are “explaining” things, they would simply, and bluntly, say when words, terms, or phrases are, very simply, pronounced, spelled, or used WRONG! And not “oh by the way, sometimes it’s used this way or spelled that way even though it’s wrong, but it has become more accepted or understood” type of thing. Just put it out there! Wrong is wrong, because it seems quite a few people who read these articles are not native speakers of American English, and they are trying to actually learn. It is NOT ok to keep using or spelling words incorrectly simply because they hear others doing it. And to be honest, I know plenty of people who ARE native speakers of American English that slaughter the English language. Wrong is wrong.

    • Dianne -  July 9, 2015 - 7:31 pm

      Well said, Jeanett!!! My thoughts exactly!!!!

    • Seejay -  July 9, 2015 - 8:33 pm

      Uh…ok…just put it out there? “…when words, terms, or phrases are, very simply, pronounced, spelled, or used WRONG! ” Should be “WRONGLY”,no? Or perhaps, “incorrectly” ?

      • Clark -  July 11, 2015 - 12:32 pm

        Way -Ta-Go Seejay,

        Just when She THOUGHT She had it write!!!!!

        • mike -  July 13, 2015 - 2:02 pm

          ….you mean “right” :)

          • Del -  July 16, 2015 - 11:02 am

            I protest at this strongly. I am not a native speaker of American English. I am a native speaker of English English, from the South-East too, and educated in a grammar school and a university in southern England. How can you say that I am WRONG ?

            We usually hesitate nowadays from saying that Americanisms are wrong, but why should I in these circumstances ? “Plow” is obviously wrong, it has always been plough. “Plow” doesn’t even clarify the pronunciation, since “row” can be pronounced either way, and both as a meaningful word. Anyway, if you wanted to reform the spelling of such words, you should have gone right through all of them thoroughly. Why should you pick on plough ? (Wy shood yoo pik on plaoo ? But then some people pronounce the H of why, and especially of white, which is “correct” really!)

            The worst Americanism of all, not visible in print, is the way almost all Americans pronounce Van Gogh ! It rhymes with “loch”, for goodness sake ! Why should anybody imagine it is pronounced Van Go ? At least make it Van Gock, if you can’t manage Goch like in Scots, Dutch, Czech, Arabic, or German.

          • Del -  July 16, 2015 - 11:09 am

            Jeanett, it should be spelt, not spelled, and it should actually be Jeanette, not Jeanett. I’m afraid you are WRONG.

            “to actually learn” is a split infinitive, a classic example of WRONG grammar.

            But you are right when you say that almost all speakers of American English slaughter the English language. Who do you think the French language belongs to, the Haitians or the Canadians ?

          • Lilly -  July 20, 2015 - 12:21 am

            Way to go, Mike. Just when he THOUGHT he had it right!

      • Max -  July 14, 2015 - 10:07 am

        If you are trying to instruct Jeanett in the ways of proper grammar, I believe you are doing it -ahem- WRONGLY. You may be interested to know that the dear Oxford English Dictionary does, in fact, list “wrong” as a possible adverb: “–adv. (usually placed last) in a wrong manner or direction; with an incorrect result.” I do not mean to say that “wrongly” is improper; I simply wish to remark that rather than immediately castigating Jeanett for her use of the word “wrong” (which, quite apart from being grammatically correct, is also the phrasing used much more frequently in quotidian discourse) you ought to have perhaps educated yourself in what is and is not correct grammar before making false accusations. Both “wrongly” and “wrong” are equally correct, so I suggest that you simply (as I believe is said nowadays) “deal with it.”

      • Lilly -  July 20, 2015 - 12:20 am

        Or perhaps, wrong? If you’re going to lecture people, make sure you know what you’re talking about.

        • Fred -  July 28, 2015 - 2:35 pm

          Yeah, and who are you to tell her that her own name is not spelled correctly?

    • Barb -  July 9, 2015 - 10:27 pm

      I agree!

    • ritchie -  July 10, 2015 - 12:16 am

      “…or used WRONG!…”
      Please, if you are attempting to comment on a sincere effort to educate, try to always use correct grammar. Try another way of learning how to write correctly – it will make you feel so much better!

      • Kay -  July 13, 2015 - 4:06 pm

        Ritchie “try always to use correct grammar” — not “try to always use”

        • bob -  July 17, 2015 - 9:57 am

          or “always try to use”…lol

    • Pat -  July 10, 2015 - 7:42 am

      Whoa…calm down! Language adapts, it grows and changes like a living thing. The alternative is to preserve it artificially at some random point in time i.e. kill it. Words, along with other sounds and even gestures, that people use to “become more accepted or understood” constitute the very basis of language. Practically by definition.

      And if you want to be that picky, you might try ending your first sentence with the word “wrongly”. You used an adjective to quality an action. Ouch. That was…ahem…wrong!

    • Tunisia -  July 10, 2015 - 9:49 am

      @ Jeanett- You are so right. I read quite a few of these and sometimes, I too am left wondering why the writers sit on the fence when making a decision. Yes, these are very interesting

    • Frank Casale -  July 10, 2015 - 1:58 pm

      I agree, Jeanett! Just tell the readers the RIGHT WAY to employ the use of the word!

    • Lorenrenee -  July 10, 2015 - 6:41 pm

      Because real linguists know that language is not static, it evolves and changes because-’communicates’. While dictionaries standardize written language to some degree, America has no bureau of language conformity ( some countries do) and people can choose to add their personal or cultural flair to embellish or butcher at their whim. Again, because- communicates. The purpose of language is to be understood by your audience, and thus reference books follow trends and do not precede or dictate them. The rapid change in literacy habits; a mature bloggers and txts, create a real impact on language as it is used, which is LANGUAGE. Unlike the meter which is an alloy rod in a vault in Paris language is in constant flux and defined by whatever conveys mutual meaning. The closer you are to someone the greater the chance of mutual deviations in language to alternate meanings. This language can infer inclusion or divisiveness, depending on what kind of person you want to be. By accepting alternate unconventional spellings while pointing out the correct one(s) – but not labeling the others as ‘wrong’ the site attempts to be inclusive to readers of all backgrounds. Lastly, in the case of borrowed/butchered words- so common in English, it is considered generally acceptable to spell phonetically- which may produce multiple correct spellings since phonetic spelling is contingent on pronunciation which can vary by geography, ethnicity, and income/education level.

    • Nycel -  July 13, 2015 - 5:43 pm

      you have a point there Jeanett but may be the one making such articles here are trying to give consideration as in other nations, they have their own style of pronouncing or spelling a specific english word just like the British or Australians compared to the Americans… but then, i love this website as it gives me something new to learn everyday as i am not a naturally born speaker of English… thanks everyone!

    • Eoin -  July 14, 2015 - 9:17 pm

      Except when wrong was wronge. Or wrang.

    • Bill O'Connor -  July 15, 2015 - 2:27 pm

      Wave your hanky at the train now but don’t hold back the tears. Any kind of ‘accepted’ stands of pronunciation are gone and not likely coming back. In fact they may never have even really been here. Language is constantly in flux; that is in fact how it changes.

      I agree with Jeanette, but sadly, the only real standard is usage, and “Yo”, will surely replace “Excuse me a moment, I’d like your attention”.

      Bostonians and Carolinians speak today as the Brits did before the Hanoverian takeover of the Crown by the Georges.

    • tadhgvonnorth -  July 23, 2015 - 10:17 pm

      Jeanett, you seem to forget that languages are living creatures. Languages are born, they live, develope and grow strong, and sometimes (sadly) they die and become a tongue of the past. In the modern world we live in today – I would go as far as to say that there is NO “correct” way to communicate. The modern man is concerned more that his ideas are heard than the way he expresses them. Some dictionaries even have entries such as ROTFL (rolling on the floor laughing) and LOL. “Google” is now considered a verb. This goes to show that as technology advances and adapts, so do those that use it. We communicate differently to cater for these changes, and before long they are a part of our everyday life – eventually it becomes as if we never knew otherwise.

      Anybody agree?

  46. CJS -  July 9, 2015 - 9:58 am

    what is the correct word in England for the dessert ‘sherbet’?

    • sn -  July 15, 2015 - 7:41 am


  47. Rick W -  July 9, 2015 - 9:39 am

    Grandmother was a superb cook which included sherbet. I despised Lima Beans due to mother making them like shoe leather. An uncle lived with Grandmother in Mahattan Beach, NY. When I asked to be excused from eating Lima Beans Uncle advised, these are not Lima Bean, they are Mahattan Beach Carrots. Like everything else Grandmother made they were wonderful.

  48. Donna -  July 9, 2015 - 9:19 am

    I loved my granddad in the 40s and he called it sherbert so I did too. After he passed in the 50s I began to pay attention to spelling and discovered the word was actually sherbet so I have used that spelling ever since.

  49. Meriem -  July 9, 2015 - 8:39 am

    Sherbet is a refraiching drink made with
    Lemon juice +water+suger + some ice ;
    It is very prized in my native country
    “Algeria” especially in summer …

    • Me -  July 19, 2015 - 5:40 am

      Er….’refraiching’? Are you sure you don’t mean ‘refreshing’?

  50. Liz -  July 9, 2015 - 7:57 am

    The way I remember? Sherburt is what Ernie says to Burt on Sesame Street! I heard this many, mnay years ago, and it always makes me smile when I hear sherburt being used instead of sherbet!

    • Eoin -  July 14, 2015 - 9:24 pm

      Sure Bert, it’s a sure bet!

      • Lilly -  July 20, 2015 - 2:21 am


  51. Jimi Miller -  July 9, 2015 - 7:43 am

    Very helpful! I have been using the mispronunciation, but with this information I will change to the standard American sherbet. Thank you!

  52. Terry Middleton -  July 9, 2015 - 7:40 am

    All of the commercial sherbet I’ve ever found has been made with citrus flavoring, with the exception of raspberry, which is another tart flavor.
    Why is chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry never used in making sherbet? Which also begs the question: Why are none of the citrus flavors ever used in ice cream?
    I really appreciate your web-site, and the tidbits of knowledge you send via emails. Just like this one, they impart information; and at the same time, provide food for further thought. To me, a necessary and invigorating part of daily life.
    Thank you.

    • calvin michel -  July 9, 2015 - 9:56 am

      Here in the southern United States, various versions of custard based lemon ice creams are fairly common. Differing from sherbets mainly in the higher fat content and the use of milk rather than cream. i also have never seen a strawberry sherbet,

      • adele -  July 12, 2015 - 2:23 am

        But you surely HAVE seen strawberry sorbet, which is a most delicious treat that I prepare for my extended family by request!

    • Anonymous -  July 9, 2015 - 11:52 am

      The reason that chocolate is not used in sherbet is because chocolate is heavy– sherbet is supposed to be light and refreshing. It is difficult to get citrus in ice cream because of all the water in those fruits, which can make the ice cream runny– whereas chocolate does not contain much, if any, water. The water from the citrus does not bother sherbet, though, since sherbet is supposed to be light.

      • anonymous -  July 9, 2015 - 5:17 pm

        And yet sorbet, which is even lighter, does come in chocolate.

      • Amanda -  July 10, 2015 - 10:14 am

        Great info. My favorite Sherbet is raspberry. And since there is no chocolate sherbet. So I use some chocolate syrup over it. It’s a pretty tasty combo!

  53. Angie -  July 9, 2015 - 7:16 am

    It’s sherbet

  54. Chris Rieder -  July 9, 2015 - 6:40 am

    I’d like to see a discussion of the very common misuse of calvary vs cavalry. When speaking of the horse-mounted soldier, it seems most folks use the word calvary when they really mean cavalry.

    • Roger Caymin -  July 9, 2015 - 9:09 pm


      This has bothered me, also, for almost 60 years (I’m 65) (by the way, the correct spelling of my surname is “Caymin” – I make typos even in my own name; it’s pronounced KEE-man), but I’m not sure there is anything that can be done about it.

      The word “cavalry” originally meant a military unit composed of soldiers who fought on horseback (cavaliers). With the advent of mechanized warfare, it has gained the meaning of a military tank unit, or, less often, a unit of any ground assault vehicles. (If you want to live long enough to eat supper, you don’t want to mess with either one.)

      The word “Calvary” is actually a proper noun, and is the name the hill outside Jerusalem where, according to the Christian Gospels, Jesus was crucified.

      “Calvary” comes from the late Latin word “calvaria”, which means “skull”, and is a translation of the Greek word “golgotha”, meaning “place of a skull”. The Romans occupying Judea found it to be a very good spot to crucify people living in Jerusalem and the surrounding area, as it was visible for miles; to the Romans occupying Judea, crucifixion was spectator sport (actually, it was a spectator sport throughout the entire Roman empire).

      The Judeans, themselves, probably used “Golgotha” as almost everyone spoke Greek, regardless of their native tongue. I don’t know the Aramaic name for the place, if indeed there was one (Jesus grew up speaking Aramaic).

      I suspect the “cavalry”/”Calvary” problem has two main causes. The first is that the vast majority of people encounter “Calvary” far more often than “cavalry” – so much so that when they hear “cavalry”, what they think they hear is “Calvary”, especially as the two words sound virtually identical.

      The second cause is that “Calvary” is easier to say than “cavalry”.


      • Ashley -  July 14, 2015 - 12:13 am

        OMG! That is so long Roger!

      • tadhgvonnorth -  August 17, 2015 - 4:02 pm

        Wow ~~ Thanks Roger “Caymin” [LOL]
        That is well researched and well put. I love an educated speaker.

  55. María Eliana González -  July 9, 2015 - 6:06 am

    Thank you for this new word.

    I have heard this word from a South African friend who always use it as an exclamation for something that has gone wrong.
    Could you please give me your opinion…. Thank you!!

    • Pat -  July 10, 2015 - 7:46 am

      That’s sounds a lot like what my mother used to say when something went wrong. “Oh…sugar!” she’d exclaim, when you knew she really wanted to use a coarser word starting with “sh..” I bet a lot of “sh..” words would work pretty well in that context.

  56. shirin shaikh -  July 8, 2015 - 8:16 pm


  57. andwhataboutthatone -  July 8, 2015 - 7:44 pm

    What about the pronunciation of “sorbet”?

    Sore-bet or sore-bay? Both?

    • anonymous -  July 9, 2015 - 5:21 pm

      Sorbay would be the correct pronunciation, but Americans often do the er and et endings phonetically.

    • Robert James -  July 10, 2015 - 12:16 am

      sore-bay is correct: at least in France and the US

      • tadhgvonnorth -  July 23, 2015 - 9:54 pm

        And in Aus

    • Pat -  July 10, 2015 - 7:51 am

      I think it’s French originally so if you want to sound close to that you’d end it “-bay”.

      I’m not sure about your first syllable though. Phonetically, I think I’d spell it “saur-bay”. It feels closer to the sound I can hear in my head when I think of the word. But I accept it’s an accent thing. I’m Irish and living in Britain, so Americans or English speakers from elsewhere may disagree.

      • Lollipop -  July 14, 2015 - 5:09 am

        I agree with u pat

      • Vanessa -  July 14, 2015 - 12:58 pm



Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked (required):

Related articles

Back to Top