Rote refers to the act of memorizing or learning through repetition, often without necessarily understanding the meaning or purpose of what is being learned.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



Memorization, repetition, drill, routine, recitation


Understanding, comprehension, creativity, spontaneity, innovation

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun rotes, rote
Verb None
Adjective None
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • The students were expected to learn their multiplication tables through rote memorization.

  • He knew the speech so well that he recited it by rote, without any variation from the original wording.

  • The teacher noticed that the students were learning through rote, but not truly grasping the underlying concepts.

  • Her piano teacher emphasized the importance of rote practice in mastering the difficult piece.


Rote is often used in an educational context to refer to the process of memorization or learning through repetition. This can be an effective method for learning certain types of information, such as multiplication tables or vocabulary words. However, relying solely on rote memorization can also limit understanding and creativity, since it does not necessarily involve deeper comprehension or critical thinking.

It is worth noting that the term “rote” is often used in a somewhat negative or dismissive way, implying that the learning process is overly mechanical or lacks true understanding. For example, a student who has memorized a poem by rote may be able to recite it perfectly, but may not necessarily appreciate its artistic or emotional qualities.

In some cases, rote can be combined with other types of learning methods in order to achieve a more well-rounded understanding. For example, a student might initially learn a set of vocabulary words through rote memorization, but then use those words in a variety of different contexts in order to gain a deeper understanding of their meaning and usage.

The word “rote” comes from the Old French word “rote” or “route,” which means a path or way. This sense of the word is still reflected in the phrase “by rote,” which means following a set path or procedure without deviation. However, the meaning of “rote” as a learning method has been in use since at least the 15th century, and remains an important concept in education today.

In conclusion, “rote” refers to the process of learning through repetition and memorization, often without deep understanding or creativity. While it can be an effective method for certain types of information, it is often seen as limited and mechanistic. By combining rote with other types of learning methods, it is possible to achieve a more well-rounded understanding of a subject.