You're Saying It Wrong: 20 Missouri Cities No One Knows How to Pronounce

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Missouri. Missuruh. Mizurah. Standard pronunciation is hard to come by in the Show-Me State.

But that's nothing compared to cities and towns in Missouri that use faux French, hick or just plain made-up pronunciations.

If you've ever been laughed at by someone for referring to Nevada, Versailles or Spokane, Missouri, using the pronunciations from their homographic sister cities, this list is for you:

1. Nevada

It's "Ne-VAY-dah." This is not Las Vegas.

2. Versailles

"Ver-SAIL-s." Ain't no castles here, so none of that French L-dropping.

VIA

3. Hayti

"Hay-Tie." Don't get mixed up with the island nation of Haiti.

4. Kimbrough

"Kim-brew," not Kim-bor-oh.

5. Bolivar

"Ball-i-ver."

6. Spokane

In Washington State, it's Spo-can. Here in Missouri, it's "Spoe-kane."

7. Kearney

"Carney," like someone who works at a carnival.

Many more on the next page! 8. Pomme de Terre

The Pomme de Terre is a river, not a city, but its pronunciation is still bonkers. It's "puhm duh TAHR," which sounds little like the French word for potato, "POHM de tehr."

LEBANONMISSOURI.ORG
  • lebanonmissouri.org

9. Lebanon

This isn't the Middle East. Over here, it's "lebuh-nun."

10. Haseltine

The real old timers call it "hazel-teen."

11. Nixa

It's pronounced with a short "I" like it's spelled, but the locals call it "Nixie."

12. Auxvasse

"Of auze," not Ox-Vahsey. Tip: When pronouncing, pretend you're saying the last two words in the movie title The Wizard of Oz.

13. Cabool

It rhymes with pool.

14. Bois D'Arc

A late addition! We forgot about this one. It's "Bo Dark." No S.

15. Bona

It's "Bah-nuh," though the locals call this teeny town "Bah-nee."

16. New Madrid

"New MAH-drid." Thanks to the kind lady at New Madrid City Hall who corrected our "MAYdrid" pronunciation.

17. Laquey

It's pronounced Lake Way.

18. Clever

It's clever, like a fox, not cleaver, like for a butcher.

19. Milan

It's "MY-luhn," not the Italian fashion hub. A reader suggests pronouncing it like you're saying "mile and a half," but stop at the "d."

20. Canalou

Wrong: "CAN-a-lou." Right: "ca-now-lou."

What did we miss? Any other pronunciations got you confused? It doesn't have to be a city. Don't even get us started on Gravois...

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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