Ask Ernie: How do you pronounce “sherbet?”

Posted by Turkey Hill Team on August 31st, 2009


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CAROL A. FROM BUTLER, PA, ASKS: Please help me settle an argument, Ernie! My sister calls sherbet “sher-bert” and I tell her she shouldn’t pronounce the second R. She insists she’s correct, but I say she’s wrong. Who’s right?

Ahh, the classic sherbet/sherbert conundrum. It’s been causing arguments and dividing families ever since the word was invented to describe the sorbet-inspired treat back in the early 17th century. Personally, I pronounce it “shhermbetth” mainly because I usually have my mouth full of sherbet when I talk about it, but that’s just me.

I hope I don’t contribute to the rift between you and your sister, but you are correct, Carol. The correct pronunciation is “sher-bit,” which makes perfect sense considering it’s spelled “sherbet” (never “sherbert”).

I’m not sure when and why people started inserting that second R, but I’ve heard many ice cream savvy people throwing that extra consonant in there. It’s a risky slip of the tongue, because if you utter “sher-bert” in some ice cream circles, you’ll be laughed out of the room (and you won’t be allowed to take your French Vanilla with you). Of course, I don’t hang out in those circles because they tend to be a bit too rigid in the rules of “ice cream etiquette” for my taste.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to get more shhermbetth.

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42 Responses to “Ask Ernie: How do you pronounce “sherbet?””

  1. Lauren says:

    I was just talking about this with someone yesterday!

  2. Sue says:

    Nice to have the “Correct” pronunciation from a PRO,,, Thanks Ernie! Now, if the subject ever comes up,, I’ll know the right answer, for sure!

  3. Charles Hoover says:

    TMI–tell carol we love hearing from people in Pennsyrvania, but any word you can’t spell you may misrponounce. LOL

  4. Mary says:

    The teacher in me says to only pronounce what is there and that is sher-bet.

  5. Evan Thomas says:

    I’ll always say sher-bert in my little world

  6. Lilly says:

    I’ve only ever heard it called Sher-Bert.
    I think its good no matter how its sounded out…

  7. Ken says:

    That’s nice to know.

  8. Norma says:

    Just like plain old spaghetti is now “Pasta,” sherbet is Sorbet. Now is that Sorbbay or Sorbette!

  9. Judi says:

    I’m glad this has finally been settled. Now my favorite Turkey Hill ice cream is Butter Pecan. So what is the correct pronunciation of pecan. Is it pee can or is it pee cahn? I tend to say it the same way Paula Dean does, but no matter how you say it, it is delicious! By the way, I say crick, not creek!

  10. Brenda says:

    I was told it all depend on where you live. Everyone speak different. Sherbert/shebert is shebert/sherbert to everyone.

  11. Robbin L. Netz says:

    Ernie, you are awesome!

  12. Lois says:

    Who cares? It tastes delicious no matter how it is pronounced. Now, is it LANcaster or LanCASTer, home of Turkey Hill?

  13. Linda Leffler says:

    My sister in law is from Ireland and she would always correct me when I ask her if she would like some sherbert. Now I will pronounce it correctly when asking her if she would like some Sherbet. Thanks Ernie, Linda

  14. Sarah says:

    However you pronounce it, it’s delicious. Especially my favorite flavor, TH’s Cherry Orchard Sherbet. Too bad my local supermarket dropped it from their freezers. When I inquired they said it wasn’t selling but they would order it if I wanted a whole case. Boy, if ever I needed a deep freeze….

  15. Sarah says:

    Just read Norma’s comment and would like to point out that sherbet and sorbet are two different products. Ernie, would you please tell readers the difference?

  16. Catherine Schehr says:

    Pronounce it any way you want as long as I can have my sherbet- sherbert, any flavaor will do. Love them all.

  17. Pat says:

    Either way I’ll take a raspberry cone! :)

  18. Deb V. says:

    Lois, it’s LANK-aster, accent heavily on the first syllable, not like the Californians pronounce it.

  19. Ellen says:

    However it’s pronounced, it’s delicious. I’ll have a bowl with Raspberry and Orange. Thank You.

  20. Nancy says:

    I’ve always said sherbert. Oh, well, whichever – it’s just the best!

  21. alicelynne says:

    Great question!!! Just send some more down to Virginia!!!

  22. gianna says:

    WOW! I never knew it was spelled sherbet (I just looked it up and the ALTERNATE spelling is sherbeRt)…no wonder I’ve been pronouncing it incorrectly all these years!
    Thanks Ernie! :)

  23. Stephanie Hanz says:

    Yes, always a controversial word. But if it’s good, I won’t care how it’s spelled or spoken.
    Give me a good watermelon bombe made out of sherbet anytime!

  24. Susan K Lapp says:

    I Pronounce Sherbert….”TURKEY HILL”!!!

  25. Bruce Schmeck says:

    Whatever, it’s good.

  26. Marion says:

    Skip the sherbet, and take me right to the ice cream!

  27. Sue says:

    I love words and that’s been one of those things that makes me crazy. There is no second R in sherbet. It’s Sher-BET. Thanks for putting it out there. And while we have people’s attention, there is no ‘a’ in definitely.

  28. Lynn says:

    Well, in my house we call it “Sure Boat” since that is what my oldest son used to call it when he was little and couldn’t say Sherbet!!!
    I always try to keep some Sure Boat in the freezer for the boys during cold/flu season since it’s very soothing for sore throats.

  29. Caroline at Manalapan says:

    I’m SherBIT and hubby brought up un Brooklyn is sherBERT

  30. Caroline at Manalapan says:

    I’m SherBIT and hubby brought up in Brooklyn is sherBERT

  31. CAROL TRIANO says:

    Now that I know how to pronounce it correctly, I think I will have a dish. I love orange and pineapple is my favorite.

  32. Joan says:

    I have never been a “sherbet” fan. Why eat sherbet when you can have the real thing-TH ice cream. Although we use sherbet to make a wonderful party punch. Keep up the good work, Ernie.

  33. Donna says:

    Not all sherbet tastes the same. I purchased a store brand and it was terrible. Glad Turkey Hill makes it. It is delicious. Thanks

  34. Joe says:

    I’m not that crazy about Sherbet as ice cream.

  35. Bob Kessler Jr says:

    I always thought it was pronounced the way it was spelled. According to the Wiktionary on the Internet the alternate spelling of sherbet i.e. sherbert is only found in the United States. Everywhere else in the world it is spelled “sherbet” and pronounced “sherbit”. May Turkey Hill continue to spell it sherbet and make the best.

  36. mary says:

    we love sherbert , you can say it any way ,we just eat it

  37. peg says:

    I pronounce it sher-bert, but I’d rather do ice cream.

  38. Debbie L says:

    Sherbert, Sherbet…However you pronounce it, it’s all good!

  39. Kim Luffer says:

    #1. I love sherbet(sherbert).
    #2. Personally I pronounce it shur+bert.
    #3. Serbet(serbert, as I call it) isn’t ice cream.

  40. Sheryl says:

    sure wish we got all the products Turkey Hill makes in the Detroit area !!!! I love all we can buy, but am missing out on the sherbet, yogurts, and pints !!!!!!! PLEASE !!!!! come to our area ???? thanks

  41. Tony P says:

    Ok wait just a second here, if its spelled sherbet and pronounced sher-bet Why then is sorbet pronounced sor-bay not sor-bet?

    Maybe we should be pronouncing sherbet sher-bay right?

    Im from Boston and we drop our Rs so even though were trying to say sherbert it comes out sounding like sherbit!

    Any how I’m goin to have some frozen yo-git!

  42. Me says:

    Yes! Thank you!
    I got in an pretty heated argument today at school about this. My friend told be it’s just like how you don’t pronounce the “k” in knife. That’s stupid, because yes, sometimes you don’t pronounce letters that ARE there, but I never heard of pronounces letters that AREN’T there.

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