'Trooper' vs 'Trouper': Which is Correct?

By Carly Forsaith, updated on February 19, 2023

'Trooper' vs 'trouper:' which one is correct? Both are used interchangeably, which makes it confusing to know which to use in which context. But don't worry; after you've read this article, you'll have no doubts about what each word means and when to use it.

In short:

  • 'Trooper' is a state police officer, and a 'trouper' is a troupe member.
  • The word 'trouper' is also used to refer to the kind of person who works hard and is reliable.

'Trooper' vs 'Trouper:' Which Should You Use?

The words' trooper' and 'trouper' are so often used interchangeably that it makes you wonder whether there's a difference between them. Even the Urban Dictionary has a similar definition for both words.

On top of that, the two words are homophones, meaning they sound exactly the same when spoken aloud, which goes a long way in explaining the common confusion around spelling.

But the truth is, the two words aren't interchangeable, and each word has a different meaning… as well as some similarities. Yep, sorry, this one isn't as straightforward as you might have hoped. Let me explain.

Each word has its own separate definition, but the word 'trouper' has a secondary meaning: to describe someone reliable, hard-working, who never gives up no matter the adversities they face. So yes, while 'trouper' is the correct spelling for this secondary meaning, you could argue that a trooper also displays these qualities.

Let's look at the definition of each word.

What Does 'Trooper' Mean?

A trooper is a member of the state police force, an enlisted cavalryman, or even the horse of a cavalryman. It's also a word used to refer to soldiers of a certain rank in the army (usually the lowest rank).

Do you see how, while 'trooper' isn't the actual spelling for the noun I defined earlier, troopers definitely display that strength of character and those positive personality traits? This is why getting the spelling right can be a little confusing and even, frankly, conflicting.

Nonetheless, you can't argue with grammar (at least, most of the time, you can't), and the correct spelling for the idiomatic sense of the word is definitely 'trouper.'

What Does 'Trouper' Mean?

The term 'trouper' was initially used to describe members of an acting crew or anyone in the entertainment business.

The word in the sense of someone hard-working came about because it's well known that anyone working in this industry must show tremendous hard work despite adversity. For example, if an actor is ill, it's unlikely a show can be canceled or shooting postponed, and therefore, they must show up and work anyway.

"The show must go on," as the famous idiom goes.

Ever heard of the Abba song "Super Trouper?" If you haven't, give it a listen. It's a pop classic if you ask me.

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Trooper' and 'Trouper'

The good news is that 'trooper' and 'trouper' are pronounced the same, so you'll only have to practice the pronunciation once.

The words rhyme with 'super,' 'blooper,' and 'party-pooper.' And it sounds like this:

[ troo-per ]

The International Phonetics Alphabet would spell it like this:

/ ˈtru pər /

When to Use 'Trooper' vs 'Trouper'

Now let's take a look at some examples of each word used in a sentence. We'll start with 'trooper.'

'Trooper' in a Sentence

A state trooper approached us and asked what we were doing there.

The street was quiet until the troopers appeared en masse.

The trooper gathered together for a late supper.

'Trouper' in a Sentence

The troupers emerged onto the stage with pride.

We can call upon him anytime, and he'll be there; he's such a trouper.

You took it like a trouper.

Concluding Thoughts

And that concludes this article on the difference between 'trooper' and 'trouper' and when to use each one. Let's summarize what we've learned:

  • A 'trooper' is a member of the police force or army
  • A 'trouper' is part of a crew in the entertainment business
  • 'Trouper' has a secondary meaning that refers to a person with determination and hard work

The team at WritingTips promises to be tireless troupers when it comes to helping you master your English grammar skills.

And if you'd like to learn about more confusing words like these, head to our blog.

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

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Written By:
Carly Forsaith
Carly Forsaith is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. Carly is a copywriter who has been writing about the English language for over 3 years. Before that, she was a teacher in Thailand, helping people learn English as a second language. She is a total grammar nerd and spends her time spotting language errors on signs and on the internet.

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