Which Word Wednesday: Barbecue vs. Barbeque

By July 3, 2013 language One Comment

Barbeque-logoTomorrow is our chance to celebrate our nation’s birth with parades, fireworks, and feasting. My guess is that many celebrations will include charring some meat products on a hot grill—something we call a barbecue . . . or is it barbeque?

That’s the inspiration for today’s Which Word Wednesday. A quick look to the New Oxford American Dictionary reveals that the C variant is the proper entry:

barbecue :: noun
a meal or gathering at which meat, fish, or other food is cooked out of doors on a rack over an open fire or on a portable grill.

Barbecue is often misspelled as barbeque. This form arises understandably from the word’s pronunciation and from the informal abbreviations BBQ and Bar-B-Q. Although almost a quarter of citations in the Oxford English Corpus are for the -que spelling, it is not accepted in standard English.

Looks like the proper spelling is with a C; reserve the Q for the abbreviation.

What’s my WWW verdict? No matter how you spell it, enjoy your grilled foods and your Fourth of July festivities.

What’s your verdict? Do you lean to the C or to the Q spelling? Are you planning some grilled foods for the holiday? Do share in the comments.


Check out previous Which Word Wednesday verdicts here.

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