You're not a moron, just speaking the wrong dialect. The British English pronunciation of borough and compounds using it like Scarborough in Yorkshire and Loughborough (roughly Luff'-bruh) have a schwa as their final syllable, quite distinct from the sound in dough, toe, sew, mow, Po ...*


The definitive list (southern British English):

  1. Though - rhymes with so
  2. Through - homophone with threw
  3. Cough, Gough - rhyme with off
  4. Tough, enough - rhyme with buff
  5. Borough and its compounds, thorough - a short schwa
  6. Hiccough - rhymes with up. I'd normally use the spelling "hiccup", though.
  7. Bough - rhymes with cow (there exists also a surname pronounced as (3) above)
  8. Ought, nought, fought, bought - rhyme with caught, taut, court, sort
  9. Lough - homophone with loch
  10. * left in to illustrate why response nodes are a Bad Thing when the node they respond to disappears. Watch and learn.

According to the pronunciation symbols used on www.m-w.com, the various pronunciations of ough (including some rarer ones) would be written:

  1. of - cough
  2. ü - through
  3. au - bough
  4. &f - enough
  5. O - though
  6. o - thought
  7. & - Flamborough
  8. &p - hiccough
  9. äk or äk - lough
  10. äf - Gough
  11. ä - nought, ought

Note: for many people, ä is pronounced the same as o, so the last two probably shouldn't be counted as separate sounds.

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