Rush is a Band

A blog devoted to RUSH:
Neil Peart, Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson

Fri, Nov 22, 2019

Y Y ZEE or Y Y ZED? The Answer Man explains

Thu, Aug 3, 2006@9:18AM | comments

[Rogers Yahoo - In the Spotlight: Answer Man for August 2]

The Rogers Yahoo high-speed internet site has a feature called the "Answer Man", where people send in questions and he, well ... answers them. This latest batch includes a question regarding Rush and YYZ. Here it is along with the very detailed answer:

My friends and I were having a small argument about the song "YYZ" by Rush. In the song's name is it said like this: Y Y ZEE (why why zee) or Y Y ZED?


You're probably not going to like this answer, but I would have to say "it depends." If you're from the U.S., it's "Y Y ZEE." If you're not (but you're a native English speaker), it's "Y Y ZED."

The fact that "YYZ" is used as the title of the song does confer upon it one immutable worldwide pronunciation particularly since the song is an instrumental and does not even contain the words/letters. (If, on the other hand, Rush had used a unique pronunciation like "izz" and had sung that word in the lyrics, I would suggest that the proper pronunciation of the title was "izz" and not "Y Y ZED.")

As a parallel, the Rush song "Tom Sawyer" is pronounced something like "Tom Soya" in England even though it's pronounced "Tom Soyer" in Canada. This doesn't mean the English or the Canadian pronunciation is wrong. That's just the way they/we talk.

Rush is a Canadian rock group, and all the members were born in Canada, so we can assume that they pronounce it "Y Y ZED." Also, YYZ is the international airport code for Toronto's Lester B. Pearson Airport, and it is referred to as Y Y ZED more often than Y Y ZEE. But these are just three letters, not an actual word. They should be pronounced however your native language/dialect normally pronounces them, with "Y Y ZED" considered slightly more correct.

Wow. I had known that YYZ was often referred to as Y Y ZED in Canada, but I never knew why. You learn something new every day I guess. Thanks to reader Dino for sending me this.