Activities Sports & Athletics The Proper Pronunciation of "Rodeo" Share PINTEREST Email Print Jeremy Woodhouse / Getty Images Sports & Athletics Other Activities Cigars Collecting Baseball Bicycling Billiards Bodybuilding Bowling Boxing Car Racing Cheerleading Extreme Sports Football Golf Gymnastics Ice Hockey Martial Arts Professional Wrestling Skateboarding Skating Paintball Soccer Swimming & Diving Table Tennis Tennis Track & Field Volleyball Learn More By Ralph Clark Ralph Clark Ralph Clark is a writer and former rodeo cowboy. As a member of the Western Writers of America, he has written about the Western lifestyle since 2002. Learn about our Editorial Process Updated on 08/29/17 What is the proper pronunciation for "rodeo"? Technically, either "ro-day-oh" or "ro-dee-oh" is correct. The word we use to describe cowboy competitions comes from the Spanish word "rodear," which means "to surround." Pronouncing rodeo like "ro-day-oh" retains the Spanish flavor and origin and is preferred by certain events, like the California Rodeo in Salinas. However, most modern events prefer "ro-dee-oh."