THE DIGRAPH OO has different pronunciations. In the early stages of the development of English, it was pronounced as a long [ɔː] as in "door". Later, it changed in many words, but, unfortunately, this change was not reflected in spelling. Fortunately, there are a few patterns that may help memorize them. 


-OOK is mostly pronounced as [ʊk], with a short u as in "put": book; brook; cook; crook; rook; look; hook; took; rook; shook, etc.

The exceptions, which are pronounced with a long [u], are just a few: kook; mook; spook; snooker.

NOTE: In Northern English dialects, particularly in Lancashire and Greater Manchester, some words with /ʊ/ in RP have /uː/ e.g. "book" is pronounced /buːk/, while conservative accents can also pronounce "look" as /luːk/.

-OOD is pronounced as [ʊd], as a rule: good; hood; stood; wood, etc. However, the exceptions are almost as common as the rule. In brood; food; mood; rood; snood; doodle; poodle; noodle, etc oo is pronounced as a long [u], as in "shoe". 

The other words pronounced with a short [ʊ] are: foot; soot; woof; wool; whoosh. 


The vast majority of English words containing oo that weren't mentioned above are pronounced with a long [uː]. 

boom; boost; boom; brood; choose; cool; coot; croon; doom; drool; droop; food; fool; hoop; hoot; loop; loose; loot; mood; moon; moose; moot; noon; proof; pool; root; school; schooner; scoop; shoot; soon; spook; spool; snooker; snooze, etc.

All words ending with -oo are pronounced with a long [uː]. 

bamboo; cuckoo; igloo; kangaroo; loo; shampoo; taboo; tattoo; too; voodoo, etc.

Finally, there are a few words for which both pronunciations, [uː] as well as [ʊ], are possible, but the long [uː] is more common, whereas [ʊ] is used only in some dialects.

broom; groom; hoof; roof; roomy; root

NOTE: "room" and "-room" words (bedroom, bathroom, mushroom, etc.) are a somewhat special case for which both pronunciations are fairly common.


There are some words with yet another pronunciation of oo.

In "brooch" it is pronounced as [əʊ] as in "roach".

NOTE: some AmE dictionaries recognize a variant pronunciation that rhymes with "smooch."

In "blood" and "flood" it is pronounced as [ʌ] as u in "but".

NOTE: some dialects in Northern English lack the sound /ʌ/. This has led to Northern England being described "Oop North" /ʊp nɔːθ/ by some. So its /blʊd/ and /flʊd/ respectively up there.

In "door" and "floor" it is pronounced as a long [ɔː] as in "more".

In "moor" and "poor" it can be pronounced in different ways regionally. 

moor /mʊə/ UK, /mʊr/ US or /mɔː/ UK, /mɔːr/ US
poor /pʊə/ UK, /pʊr/ US or /pɔː/ UK, /pɔːr/ US

NOTE: some speakers use a distinct sound traditionally transcribed /ʊə/ as in "sure" in BrE, and /ʊr/ as in "fur" in AmE but it's commonly replaced with [ɔː] as in "more" in both regions.

Finally, it may happen that the two o's in oo belong to different syllables. If this is the case, the first o is usually pronounced as "oh", and the other one is pronounced as if the first one weren't there.

cooperate UK /kəʊˈɒpəreɪt/; US /koʊˈɑːpəreɪt/ 
zoologist UK /zəʊˈɒlədʒɪst/; US /zoʊˈɑːlədʒɪst/or both with /zuː-/
coordinate UK /kəʊˈɔːdɪneɪt/; US /koʊˈɔːrdɪneɪt/(verb; noun with /-nət/)
microorganism UK /,maɪkrəʊˈɔːɡənɪzəm/; US /,maɪkroʊˈɔːrɡənɪzəm/ 

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