I’m starting a new job in a couple weeks, and so I’m in transition at my current job. I’ve been spending all my time in meetings, debriefing the various people who are taking over the bits and pieces of all the projects I’m working on. 

In many of these meetings, I have to describe how our reporting system (based on Oracle Reports) works. Inevitably, I have to discuss the URLs generated by the system. (Based on the user’s selections, our homegrown PL/SQL app generates the proper URL format for the report servlet and then issues the HTTP GET to retrieve that URL for the user.) I almost always pronounce URL as one syllable rather than enunciate each letter, so it ends up sounding like a homophone for “Earl”.

In almost every meeting, someone asks me what an “Earl” is. As soon as I spell out U-R-L, they know what I’m talking about. It’s not that they don’t know what a URL is — they’ve just never heard anybody say it as a word before. They’re used to people spelling out the three individual letters.

I know I did not come up with this pronunciation by myself — I must have picked it up at a previous job. There has to be at least a few other folks out there saying it this way besides me. But all of these people who look at me funny when I talk about “Earls” in a meeting have me worried. It makes me fell like I might be doing something stupid.

Is it common practice to pronounce URL as “Earl”, or is it more common for people to spell out U-R-L?