Rah vs raw

Rah and raw are commonly confused words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. We will examine the different meanings of the homophonic words rah and raw, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

Rah is a word used as a cheer of encouragement. Rah is primarily a North American term; it began as an abbreviation of the word, hurrah, and came into use in the 1870s. When it first appeared, rah was spelled with an apostrophe, as in ‘rah. Today, rah is a word in its own right and is not considered to be an abbreviation.

Raw is an adjective that may mean 1.) uncooked or unprocessed; 2.) physically red, chafed, or irritated; 3.) emotionally unbridled or unfiltered; 4.) sexually crude; or 5.) inexperienced. The comparative is rawer; the superlative is rawest. The word raw is derived from the German word, roh, which means uncooked.

Examples

Rah rah ree! Goin’ to Hawaii! Abilene cheerleader Lacey Fields in Pearl Harbor parade (Abilene Reporter News)

The “rah rah” speeches of leaders are less effective when followers are tired and just do not want to hear it. (Harvard Business Review)

Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) on Wednesday announced key partnerships to secure raw materials Europe’s largest carmaker needs to realise its ambitious electric vehicle strategy, eager to close a gap with rival Tesla (TSLA.O). (Reuters)

But emotions are raw from the first encounter and the defenders are expected to tee-off on Rodgers Sunday night. (Jamaica Observer)

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