Rabbet or Rabbit

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Forum topic by MrRon posted 04-17-2013 08:38 PM 2240 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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04-17-2013 08:38 PM

I’ll bet a lot of woodworkers , myself included, refer to a rabbeted joint as a rabbited joint (pronounced rabbit, like the bunny with the floppy ears). I just learned that it is pronounced a rebate joint after checking it out on Wikipedia.

16 replies so far

View nwbusa's profile


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#1 posted 04-17-2013 08:41 PM

Rebate is the UK term. Rabbet generally used this side of the pond.

-- John, BC, Canada

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#2 posted 04-17-2013 08:48 PM

I thought rebate was when you get money back :-)

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

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#3 posted 04-17-2013 08:54 PM

To early in the day for Jim Bean. I’ll get back to you later this evening after I’ve had a little mind clearing refreshment.

-- Loyd, San Angelo, TX

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#4 posted 04-17-2013 09:18 PM

Or is it “wabbit”?

/Elmer Fudd

-- jay,

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#5 posted 04-17-2013 10:00 PM

Rebate is the UK term. Rabbet generally used this side of the pond.

Not always, John. I live half and half in B.C. (summer) and AZ (winter) but I’m Canadian. I’ve never heard “rebate” south of the border but it’s not uncommon in Canada. I for one use it.

I’m actually sort of the perfect Canadian about it. I spell it “rebate” like the English, but I pronounce it “rabbet” like the Americans. ..... How Canadian, eh?

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View NiteWalker's profile


2738 posts in 2818 days

#6 posted 04-17-2013 10:03 PM

I learned it as “rabbet” in spelling and pronunciation, so that’s what I stick with.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3889 days

#7 posted 04-17-2013 10:33 PM

rabbet (n.) “rectangular groove cut in a piece of timber,” late 14c., from Old French rabbat “a recess in a wall,” literally “a beating down,” from rabattre “beat down, beat back”

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4459 days

#8 posted 04-18-2013 12:20 AM

Paul and John: IMO, you are both right. Rebate is the British term, so, since British spellings are common in Canada, it makes perfect sense that “rebate” would be used there.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View nwbusa's profile


1021 posts in 2527 days

#9 posted 04-18-2013 03:14 AM

Lol… my wife was born in England, I was born in the States, and now we live in Canada. You should hear some of the “discussions” we have about proper spelling and pronunciation! :)

-- John, BC, Canada

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#10 posted 04-18-2013 03:20 AM

Well, I’m down ~3 fingers of Eagle Rare and it’s still rabbit here

-- It is what it is...

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#11 posted 04-18-2013 03:46 AM

Then there is rarebit….... which is very tasty!

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

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2928 posts in 2266 days

#12 posted 04-18-2013 05:46 AM

But “rarebit” is supposedly American and “rabbit” (as in Welsh rabbit) is supposedly Brit. The explanation I heard was that the poor couldn’t eat real rabbit (critters belonged to the lord of the manor, you know), so they made a cheese dish and called it rabbit. Example of wishful thinking, I guess. Sort of like pretending that your cheap new tool is really “heavy duty” and “industrial.”

My mom always said “rarebit” and my dad always corrected her. I don’t think that issue was ever resolved in our family. But being poor, we did eat it fairly often. When we could afford it. Better than stone soup.

As for the rabbet, most of the boatbuilding books I have read (Billy Atkin, Howard Chapelle, etc.) called it . . . that.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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Don Johnson

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#13 posted 04-18-2013 03:17 PM

Then there is always Chas and Dave’s version to bring into the discussion:

In case you were wondering, the origin is from Cockney rhyming slang: “rabbit & pork” = “talk” where the second part eventually got left off. This happened quite often, and sometimes a new rhyming term got created from just the first bit, making it difficult to work out how the – shortened – second version had anything to do with what it came to mean.

As in this example:
Plaster = Plaster of Paris = Aris = Aristotle = bottle = bottle and glass = ar*e

-- Don, Somerset UK,

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#14 posted 04-18-2013 06:21 PM

I think you are splitting Hares ? Hairs ? Heirs?

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Bill White

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#15 posted 04-18-2013 06:38 PM

If you do your rebates well, you’ll get a rebate (for the customer).
See my fingers making the bunny ears?
If the SPCA found out that you were puttin’ rabbits in a chest, you’d be in big trouble.
It took me a while to learn what the Brits were meaning when they were talking about a “gudgeon pin” on my Norton MC.
Go to your local auto parts store and ask for a gudgeon.


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