A memorizing process using routine or repetition, often without full attention or comprehension: learn by rote. 2. Mechanical routine. often without full attention to comprehension or thought for the meaning. Commonly found in the phrase "by rote " and in attributive use: " rote learning", " rote. 1: the use of memory usually with little intelligence learn by rote. 2: mechanical or unthinking routine or repetition a joyless sense of order, rote, and commercial.