AskDefine | Define rote

Dictionary Definition

rote n : memorization by repetition [syn: rote learning]

User Contributed Dictionary



, origin uncertain. Likely from the phrase bi rote (“by heart”), c.1300. Some have proposed a relationship either with rote/rute (“route”), or rota (see rotary), but the O.E.D. calls both suggestions groundless.
  • Rare, unrelated "roar of the surf" sense is c.1600, from rot (“breaking of waves”), perhaps related to rauta (“roar”).


  • a RP: /ɹəʊt/, /r@Ut/
  • a US: /roʊt/, /roUt/
  • Rhymes: -əʊt


  1. (usually in the phrase by rote) The process of committing something to memory through repetition, in a mechanical way, usually by hearing and repeating aloud, often without full attention to comprehension or thought for the meaning.
    They didn't have copies of the music for everyone, so most of us had to learn the song by rote.
  2. Mechanical routine; a fixed, habitual, repetitive, or mechanical course of procedure.
    The pastoral scenes from those commercials don't bear too much resemblance to the rote of daily life on a farm.
  3. The roar of the surf; the sound of waves breaking on the shore.

Usage notes

  • This noun is mostly found in the phrase "by rote", and in attributive use: "rote learning", "rote memorization", and so on. It is not normally considered an adjective, but the derived adverb rotely is attested.

Derived terms






From róta


  1. to untidy, to make a mess
  2. to fool around (engage in casual or flirtatious sexual acts)


Derived terms

Related terms

Extensive Definition

Rote can refer to:
rote in French: Rote

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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