Activities Sports & Athletics The Proper Pronunciation of "Rodeo" Share PINTEREST Email Print Jeremy Woodhouse / Getty Images Sports & Athletics Other Activities Cigars Collecting Baseball Basketball Bicycling Billiards Bodybuilding Bowling Boxing Car Racing Cheerleading Cricket 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 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. our editorial process Ralph Clark Updated August 29, 2017 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."