You are here

Pronunciation of 'cache'

Submitted by Druss on Sun, 2007-04-22 23:15

I have, for years now, always pronounced the word cache as kaysh. I have encountered a few people over the years who pronounced it more like cash or even cashay and worse (catch?), and more often than not, I have brought them into the fold—so to speak—by convincing them that kaysh was correct. However, after something close to an argument with a grammar-Nazi (yes, you know it's true!) colleague, we decided to set the matter at rest by doing some research. Desafortunadamente, (and to my keenly felt embarrassment) I lost :/

After much digging around in numerous dictionaries, our (unanimous) conclusion was that the correct pronunciation of the word cache is cash!

It's been hell trying to continually correct myself :(

P.S. As a commenter has pointed out, it is possible that cache is pronounced kaysh in some parts of Australia (which, however, does not really explain how it's sneaked into my vocabulary). I have anecdotal evidence that this might be true.


I have heard people pronouncing it as "kae-shay" in England, where first vowel sound is same as in "bat".

Person 1: Hey, the web page is down! But I need that information NOW!

Person 2: Don't worry, just search for the cached(cashed) version in Google.

Person 1: Wait, what? Google has a currency now?

Person 2: *sigh* cache(kaysh) I meant cache(kaysh)

Seriously though guys, language, words, meanings, and pronunciations have changed constantly over time.

This is probably one of those natural changes in language.

Makes sense, since the term cash(money) is so prevalent, and I prefer to not even say cache(cash) due to that overlap, but if I "mispronounce it" cache(kaysh) as far as I know, it can only be interpreted as cache, whether the listener considers that the correct pronunciation or not.

Ya, it's nice to have standardizations in the form of dictionaries and all that, but it's not the be-all end-all of language. Not even sure most people could even read a few hundred years ago, let alone respect proper, standardized pronunciation as suggested by a dictionary.

In south africa we always pronounced it cash, however since moving to australia, nobody really knows what im talking about. goes with the word "project" which also seems to be pronounced differently in australia and south africa.

I had always understood this word to be pronounced like 'cash', however similar to others found that all my colleagues in Australia prefer the 'kaysh' pronunciation. Turns out that Macquarie Dictionary (the most authoritative reference on Australian English) recommends 'cash' for the hiding-place/provision meaning, and 'kaysh" for the computer science meaning.

As a programmer in Australia all my colleagues pronounced it kaysh. As I remember, back in the early 90's a fellow engineer remarked, cache kaysh is a computer term derived from the word cache cash. I didn't ask. For myself, if someone says cash I think money. If they sounded kaysh I think ram buffers. That fits well in my simple head.

You will find in American dictionaries that it is pronounced cash. Everyone in my office (in Australia) pronounces it kaysh, as do all my friends. I think it's just an Australia pronunciation.

That would also probably explain where I'd got it from.

Another Australianism (I think) is that I used to pronounce the letter H as "Haitch" rather than "Aitch". Rather odd.

We'll that's a load of crap. It is pronounced "aitch" in australia as well. I remember very early on when learning the alphabet mum would always correct me lol I'm living in canada now and hear haitch here more often than aitch.

another thing that aussies use is the word 'mum' without a pronoun. i realise that they are referring to their mum, but saying it without a pronoun leads me to believe that i may know your mum or i should know her... :-)

I'm from melbourne and I can confirm that I was taught to say haitch rather than aitch. I also pronounce cache as kaysh ;)

In australia, as in france and all other civilised locations I expect, 'cache' ought to be pronounced 'cash', the imaginings of semi-educated programmers notwithstanding (no offence:)). 'Caysh' is an abomination. You may as well pronounce it 'cake' to rhyme with 'ache'? It does not compare though with 'haitch' in the linguistic atrocity stakes though. Any teacher (even of IT) caught mispronouncing 'aitch' should be summarily expelled from the profession for condemning his or her pupils to the status of second-class citizens . 'Haitch' is a shibboleth (in the proper sense) and marks the utterer, to many people, including potential employers, as an ignorant boor. Shooting such teachers out of hand would be too extreme; we should have a trial first and then shoot 'em. And let's not go into the theory that it's an Irish Catholic thing: please! (Speaking as the scion of a substantial line of micks).

I was taught in Australian high school computing classes to pronounce it as cash. That said, I'm now a programmer and everyone else in the office pronounces it kaysh.

Years ago, there was a perfume called Cashe.
They always pronounced it Cashay.
I hate it when someone on the news calls it Cash.

I first came across the word during a required reading of a Louis L'Amour western in high school in NZ in the 70s. Our French Canadian teacher, who taught both English and French advised us that the correct pronunciation was "cash" - in both languages.
At University in the early 80s my major was Computing, and the correct pronunciation used by all was "cash". At that time we had lecturers from the US, Europe, Australia, and NZ while many had also studied in the US as computing was still in its infancy.
I first heard the pronunciation "kaysh" during a seminar at a local conference circa 1990 by local Macintosh guru John Holley, who somehow had brought this strange pronunciation back from the US where he often frequented.
As a patent attorney and writer of technical documents/specifications I am required to have a reasonably high technical literacy, and deal regularly with experts from multiple disciplines. My observation as a whole is that while most people in the computer hardware industry are expert in their field, they are not my first choice to turn to should I require advice on grammar or pronunciation - somewhat akin to going to your butcher for medical advice.
After being corrected many times by computer industry workers that the correct pronunciation is supposed to by 'kaysh' I investigated the matter in detail. According to authoritative sources, the correct pronunciation is 'cash' - in NZ English, Australian English, US English, Canadian English, British English, European French, and Canadian French. And from my own experience, it was also called 'cash' by the pioneers and early workers in the Computer industry.

Informative comment, thanks :) Could you please also provide information on these authoritative sources?


Simple phonics rules would suggest the correct pronunciation should be Kaysh.

When a syllable ends in a consonant and has only one vowel, that vowel is short. Examples: "fat, bed, fish, spot, luck".

When a syllable ends in a silent "e", the silent "e" is a signal that the vowel in front of it is long. Examples: "make, gene, kite, rope, use, taste, and baste".

A fairly comprehensive list of words ending in -(v)che can be found at . The most telling one for me, and the reason that I have always pronounced cache as cash is: moustache. As this is a french derived word, the "e" is silent and the "ch" is pronounced as the softer "sh" (as opposed to the germanic -che, with silent "e" and pronounced as a "k"). The problem with trying to follow a phonics rule in the english langauge is that the correct pronunciation must be based on the language of origin. So while the germanic based "ache" has the long vowel, the french based "cache" has a short vowel.

i have always pronounced it as cash,i think thats the best way to do it,i was taught to pronounce it as CASH in my school days,later when i went to a graduate school to complete my IT grad ,there also we pronounced it as CASH.

Not always, I have some friends (technically inclined too) who pronounce it cashay. Makes me rage so goddamn hard.

i pronounce it as sashey!
it sounds better than cash doesn't it

If I had a dollar every time... The correct pronunciation of cache is cash. Full stop. End of story.

I have not met one Australian who has pronounced it correctly. Sad.

"cache", pronounced /kaSH/, from French word "cacher" late 18th century.
"cash", pronounced /kaSH/, from Old French word "casse" late 16th century.
(From U.S. Oxford dictionary)

The problem is, the damn English took a good word from the French and abused it for their own use. Then added another word later, abusing it further by pronouncing it exactly the same way as the first word. The American's after their Tea Party have continued the tradition and refused to fix this travesty in having two words with the same pronunciation. (A Honomyn)

On the other side of the Pacific, some of us smarter folks are sick of people giving us dumb looks when we say "it's in the kaSH", and instead pronounce "cache" as " kaySH" to stop the dumb looks and get our message across as quickly and concisely as possible.
As “cache” has been in the “English” dictionary for a while (especially when the other is the older word), perhaps it’s time to ignore how the French pronounce it, and change how we English speaking people pronounce it.
We’ve been changing and abusing foreign words for centuries, what’s a few more in the name of reducing confusion.

Interesting replies but I think the main reason for the confusion is that kash (cache) is not how the word sounds in French.

It would be easy to dinstinguish between cash and cache in spoken English if cache was indeed pronounced as the French word it is. It would be a different 'a' as in cash, more like 'cache' rhyming with 'blush', if you get my meaning.

Great to know though others have trouble with this too, and even natives. :)

Biz, M

Don´t you mean homonym? It´s ok to say homo in a word, it just means "alike". So cash and cache are homonyms to each other because they are pronounced the same way..

and their also gay for each other...

slipped a tiny typo in there accidentally. Kinda lame sense i was correcting someone else´s language.. anyways, their = they´re

The word "bison" was also borrowed from French, however I'm sure you can figure out for yourself that the French say it more like: /bi:'so(n)/. Does that mean every English speaker pronouncing it as /'baisən/ is wrong? Pronunciation often changes when it crosses language borders; it doesn't mean that we are pronouncing it wrong.

On a practical note, I think it's quite handy pronouncing "cache" a little differently to "cash" in order to avoid a homophone (I'm an Aussie and say it /keiʃ/, as much out of Aussie pride as any other reason!). I know you're unlikely to confuse the two when they're used in context, nevertheless, "cache" as used in computing is still unfamiliar to some so I think it's quite useful that it is presented as a completely distinct word.

I know there's plenty of people out there who see the practicality of communication as entirely subordinate to "correctness" when it comes to the English language, so not everyone will agree. I'm cool with that and quite happy to hear you say "cache" however you please (although /ka'ʃei/ is a little far out for me..).

Perhaps you forget that the English pronunciation of "bison" as "bye-sn" is universally accepted in all forms of spoken English. Furthermore, "bye-sn" is a natural Anglicisation of a French loanword, whereas "kaysh" is a complete fabrication which has NO phonetic reference to its original. The 'flexibilities' of the English language has its limits, and this is one of them. If everyone decided to make up their own pronunciations for whatever word they liked, then it wouldn't be called standard spoken English, wouldn't it?

So the question is, if you're pronouncing the word 'cache' as "kaysh" due simply to "personal" or "practical" reasons (despite "kaysh" NOT even being the universally accepted pronunciation in Australia, let alone the world), then you cannot expect your pronunciation to be remotely correct (or acceptable).

There is not one practical/logical/linguistic/phonetic purpose why 'cache' should be pronounced any differently, for whatever reason one might use the word, from the original pronunciation. Unless there is a natural and universal acceptance of "kaysh", then there is simply no argument for continuing to pronounce it incorrectly.

If it's for "Aussie pride", that's easy. DON'T SPEAK ENGLISH.

I teach first year computer science at a G08 university in Australia and I have _no_ idea where kaysh comes from. I whack any first year who says "kaysh" within earshot. I'd love to find out where the heck "kaysh" came from and how it gained a life.

The word cache was, is, and will always be pronounced "kash", irrespective of whether it's used for the computer science meaning. I work in an IT department also for an Australian university, and find it amazing how NOT ONE person has EVER pronounced it correctly.

Perhaps "kash" sounds too elitist for the average Australian pseudo-computer loser.

In my computing circles in Australia it was always caysh. In my amateur radio circles, it was always geo-cayshing, not geo-cashing. A microfiche is not a microfish. A niche is neesh, not nitch. See a pattern?

I wish you had provided sources, I think the word comes from the French cachè (to hide) and keeps the pronunciation (which is why we keep the accents on the noun rèsumè to avoid confusion with the verb resume)

Therefore I suspect the word is pronounced 'kah-shay' - this was the first article that came up when I wanted to confirm, but does not provide sources or reasons.

For those who care - I found an article with a much better explanation. Cachet and Cache derive from the same French word (cacher), but have different pronunciations.

I will start practice pronouncing 'cash' instead of 'cashet' when I am saying 'cache'

I believe you are mostly correct sir. However, the french accent you provided should be slung in the opposite direction ; accent aigu, giving the 'e' an 'ay' sound. Think fiance and passe. (my keyboard doesn't have the accents.) The accent you placed above the 'e' is called a grave.
When vocalizing a hiding place with the french word I will always say cash-AY.
The weapons cache (KASH-noun) was buried in a cache (kashAY-adj) tube.