Rood vs rude

Rood and rude are two commonly confused words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. Homophones are a group of words with different spellings, the same pronunciations, and different meanings. Homophones exist because of our ever-changing English language and are a challenge for those who wish to learn to speak English. It can be difficult to learn how to spell different words that sound the same, and homophones are commonly misused words. Said aloud, the difference is less important, because the words are pronounced the same. The way the spelling and definitions differ can be confusing even to native English speakers when attempting to learn vocabulary correctly. Proper pronunciation of spoken English may help the listener distinguish between homophones and understand the correct spelling; the words affect-effect are a good example, but the word pairs to, too and two, bridle and bridal, creek and creak, hoard and horde, toed and towed, or horse and hoarse, are indistinguishable from each other and are easily confused and are commonly misused. Pronunciation is usually more ambiguous, as English pronunciation may vary according to dialect, and English spelling is constantly evolving. Pronunciation may change even though the spelling doesn’t, producing two words that are pronounced in the same manner but have different meanings such as night and knight. Phonological spelling and spelling rules do not always work, and most people avoid misspelling by studying vocabulary words from spelling lists, enhancing their literacy skills through spelling practice, and learning words in English by studying a dictionary of the English language. English words are also spelled according to their etymologies rather than their sound. For instance, the word threw is derived from the Old English word thrawan, and the word through came from the Old English word thurh. Homophones are confusing words and are commonly misspelled words because of the confusion that arises from words that are pronounced alike but have very different usage and etymology. A spell checker will rarely find this type of mistake in English vocabulary, so do not rely on spell check but instead, learn to spell. Even a participant in a spelling bee like the National Spelling Bee will ask for an example of a homophone in a sentence, so that she understands which word she is to spell by using context clues. Homophones are often used in wordplay like puns. We will examine the different meanings of the homophonic words rood and rude, the word origin of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

A rood is a cross or crucifix, particularly one that is large and positioned as the center of attention in a church. Medieval churches often have a large rood positioned above a rood screen or near the altar. The word rood is also an archaic British term for a land measurement of approximately a quarter of an acre. The word rood is derived from the Old English word rōd, which means pole or cross.

Rude means offensive, ill-mannered, impolite. Rude may also be used to mean something that is rough-hewn, in which case it is said to be rudely made. Rude is an adjective, related words are ruder, rudest. The word rude is derived from the Latin word rudis, which means crude or ignorant.


The red demon hangs, mid-air, in the turret where there once was a spiral staircase leading to a loft above the church’s 15th century rood screen – now long gone, a doorway high above the nave the only sign that it ever existed. (Eastern Daily Press)

“He was known among his brother priests as having beautiful vestments from Spencer Abbey and the Holy Rood Guild. … If someone needed vestments for a large celebration, they would contact Lloyd and he would see they got them — matching of course.” (The Baltimore Sun)

According to various studies (cited in a moment herein), supposedly the brand of car is a telltale indicator of how rude a driver sits behind the wheel of the vehicle. (Forbes Magazine)

I am rude and unmannerly and I say many things out of turn which I realise afterwards must have hurt someone. (The Daily Express)

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