Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Do you say 'coo-pon' or 'cue-pon'?

Tomato, tomahto: Where you live influences how you pronounce the word. (But one way is just WRONG.)

By Donna_Freedman Dec 9, 2011 11:38AM
Recently the digital coupon site polled more than 3,500 U.S. residents about how to pronounce the word "coupon."

The result?

"Cue-pon" won. Some 57% of Americans use the wrong pronunciation.

The horror. I don't care if the dictionary gives it both ways. Cue-pon. It just sounds weird. "Cue." Rhymes with "eeww."

You're more likely to say it wrong if you live in New Mexico, Idaho, Missouri, South Dakota or North Dakota. I bet you folks say "rout" when you mean "route," too.

People who know how to pronounce coo-pon correctly are most heavily concentrated in New Hampshire, New Jersey, Hawaii, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C.

Steven Boal, CEO of, says he was "shocked" by the 57% figure. Post continues below.

"(I've) been calling it from the beginning," he says. "Maybe it's time I change my ways."

Don't do it, Steven. Think of the children!

Another surprise that came from the company's survey: For the first time a nonfood category was No. 1 in the top 10 most popular coupons.

"Household cleaners" beat out that old favorite, ready-to-eat cereal. Maybe there were better coo-pons for Mr. Clean than for Cap'n Crunch.

How about it, readers: Coo-pon or cue-pon?

More on MSN Money

Dec 11, 2011 7:19PM

The word "coupon" comes from the French word "couper" (pronounced: coo-pay), which means "to cut." Therefore, "coupon" is pronounced correctly as "coo-pon." (It doesn't matter what region of the United States or elsewhere you come from, as that has nothing to do with it).


PS, a coupe style car is not pronounced "cuep." It's "coop."


There. It's settled.



Dec 9, 2011 8:35PM
It's a regionalism.  Some people pronounce it one way, and some pronounce it another.  Most people "mispronounce" the words err and forte (the latter meaning a "strength" and not as a musical term), but as long as everyone knows what you mean, what difference does it make?  Many people say "oft-ten," and I doubt that the world will come to an end.  Was there a reason for this article?
Dec 9, 2011 3:07PM

Please note that the Random House Unabridged Dictionary (2e) says that pronunciation of coupon as "cue-pon" is "used by educated speakers and is well-established as perfectly standard, although ii is sometimes criticized."


This appears to be one of those times.


As for "route" pronounced as "rout": Here, RH Unabridged 2e doesn't even comment (this second pronunciation). Kinda like, it isn't even fair game for the Pooobahs of Pronunciation.


Now! If you want to feel really illiterate when it comes to correct pronunciation, open to any page, at random, Charles Harrington Elster's "The Big Book of Beastly Mispronunciations (Houghton Mifflin, New York, 1999). When perusing this nightmare, the one thought I guarantee you will have is, "Good Lord, everything I know is wrong!"



Dec 12, 2011 11:53AM

I find the most objectionable pronunciation is the word "sure". It is not "shore" and is not connected through definition in any way. Nearly all newscasters and politicians seem to have flunked third grade in elementary school. It is a good example of the dummy down process of the "American" education system. All Major news agency writers (even MSNBC) seem to have dropped using word correction programs or proof reading an article. The use of "texting" seems to have infected 90% of all the population. Why do we even spend our tax dollars on a failed education system?

Dec 12, 2011 12:16AM
I live in the west, and people here say cue-pon.  Maybe it's not right but saying coo-pon sounds weird, and makes you sound like some kind of tard Yankee.
Dec 9, 2011 3:58PM
Dec 9, 2011 3:07PM

We can't foget the ever-popular COOP-un...

I say coo-pon


Dec 12, 2011 8:28AM
I began calling them "cue-pins" after hearing a hilarious stand up routine by comedian Ron White when he attended a festival and needed a...."cue-pin" to get beer. Soooo "cue-pin" gets my vote.
There are a lot of words that have been "Americanized", who really cares where they came from. I say "cuepon", the word coo-pon sounds so fakey. Some people say Aunt (others say "Ant") a lot depends on the part of the country you are from and what is accepted in your location, what happens people do move around and now they are criticized for the way they talk and how they pronounce words. In my mind I have found that many act like southerners are stupid or uneducated because of the way we talk and northerners are mobsters because of the way they talk. I love America and I love the many dialects from different parts of the country surely we have more important things to worry about than the pronunciation of the word "coupon".
Dec 12, 2011 3:45AM

How about Peecan or Pe cahn...(pecan) or paJAMas or pi' JAH mas...(pajamas)  Here in Texas we say piCAHN  and piJAHmas.  No one likes JAM in their pj's.  Here are some more Southern Versions of words:  Y'ont to (do you want to); Yeatyet (did you eat yet?) I'm fixin' to (I'm going to); a'ight (all right) ; Imo (I'm going to...even Pastor Joel Osteen uses this one a lot.)  Humor breaks a lot of hard bones.

Dec 12, 2011 12:11AM
Definitely "coopon". "Cuepon" sounds so uneducated!
Dec 14, 2011 12:26AM
CUE-PON...that's how I have pronounced the word all of my 54 years!
Dec 9, 2011 4:30PM

We can't forget the ever-popular COOP-un...



this is the correct pronunciation in the UK, but I use 'coop-on'- equal emphasis on both syllables

Dec 12, 2011 1:44PM
I grew up in NM and I say coo-pon.  Who are the people being surveyed?
Dec 13, 2011 7:06PM
I have been known to say it both ways....maybe the way I feel that day.  But, come on people, really....who cares how you say it.  This is America.....freedom of speech.  Smile
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.