Why do people say idear instead of idea? 

Depending on where you are in the world, you may hear the word ‘idea’ pronounced with an additional ‘r’ sound at the end, making the word sound like ‘idear.’ The reason for this is due to a rhotic accent that can be found in some parts of the world where there are English speakers. 

Continue reading to explore what the word ‘idear’ means, what a rhotic accent is that causes people to pronounce it this way, and how to use it in a sentence.

Definition of Idear and Idea

The words ‘idear’ and ‘idea’ are the same, but ‘idear’ just has an extra ‘r’ that is pronounced at the end. Idea, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, means a thought or suggestion of a course of action. It can also mean the aim or purpose of something, but it is more commonly used as the first definition.

Why Do People Say Idear instead of Idea?

A rhotic accent is any accent that dictates how to pronounce an English ‘r’ sound. English language speakers in Great Britain, for example, pronounce each ‘r’ in a word and are considered to have a rhotic accent.

In contrast, American English speakers who are native to the northeastern region of the country do not pronounce their ‘r’ sounds much. These speakers have a non-rhotic accent, which means their ‘r’ sound either sounds like ‘uh’ or is silent. For example, native New Yorkers would pronounce ‘better’ and ‘bettuh’, dropping the ‘r’ sound.

An Exception to Rhotic Accents

The most commonly known exception to rhotic and non-rhotic accents is found, again, in the northeastern United States. New Englanders, as they are called, traditionally pronounce an ‘r’ sound after idea, making it idear.

While this is uncommon with English speakers who have non-rhotic accents, the hypercorrection to place an ‘r’ after a vowel is unique to this specific region.

Examples of Idea and Idear in a Sentence

Both the words ‘idea’ and ‘idear’ have the same meaning. They are the same word, in a sense, just found in different geographical locations. Therefore a few example sentences that you may hear the word idear in are:

  • Unlike her last one, this idear was very good.
  • He had the unfortunate idear of speeding and now he has a big fine.
  • The chef had the idear to change the menu and it was a hit with customers.