Most Mispronounced Tennessee Towns

February 28, 2014

By Rachel Bertone

Do you live in the Tennessee towns of Milan or Santa Fe? If so, you can probably recognize a visitor just by the way they (incorrectly) say the name of your hometown. And you’re not alone – there are many places in our great state that only true Tennesseans know how to pronounce. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Milan (pronounced MY-lin)
  • Santa Fe (Santa Fee)
  • Maury County and Maury City (Murry)
  • Poga (Pogee)
  • Lebanon (Leb-nun)
  • Finger (Fanger)
  • Ooltewah (Oo-da-wah)
  • Lafayette (Luh-fayette)
  • Shelbyville, Fayetteville, Nashville and other “villes” (-vul)

Do you live in a town that most people mispronounce? Leave a comment with others we may have missed.

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Comments

  1. Evelyn Hilton says:

    Fayetteville – Fatevul

    Maryville – Murvul

    Shelbyville – Shebbyvul

  2. grace schoeberl says:

    I live in Pulaski, Tn,,, county is Giles,, but they pronounce it ( Jiles)

  3. Debb harper says:

    How about Harriman (Harry-man)

  4. candace bond says:

    Beersheba (bersheba)
    woodbury (woodberry)

  5. Patricia Linn says:

    We moved to and have lived in Baileyton, TN for 10 years. We still chuckle when we are corrected by a local because we do not pronounce it “Belton”. (Tee Hee)

  6. Melissa McMurray says:

    I live in Mosheim (pronounced Moss-eim) it is a little town in east TN between Morristown and Greeneville. I love my little town, little towns can make a big difference.

    Melissa McMurray

  7. Linda Lee says:

    The first one that came to mind was: Lafayette(la-fay-ette) pronounced like its spelled in Macon Co. Then Cairo(kayro) in Sumner Co.

  8. Barbara Savge says:

    Most people that live in carthage pronounce it carthridge, and they say gornsvul instead of gordonsville

  9. Joe Ledford says:

    Scioto (Unicoi County) is pronounced locally as Sye-o-thee

  10. Forrest Butler says:

    Maury City is pronounced Murray City
    Brownsville is pronounced Browvul
    Lexington is pronounced Lexton

  11. Forrest Butler says:

    I forgot one. Many people pronounce the name Rutherford as Rullerford.

  12. Robin Elliott says:

    Elizabethton- elizzaBETHtun.
    “Furiners” most often say it like the name Elizabeth with a very quick “ton” on the end.

  13. Darlene Guinn says:

    Working in Advertising at the local paper, I talked with people from all over the US. I answered a call from a Chicago advertising agency one day with the usual “ElizzaBETHton Star”. The caller asked me to repeat it three times. Then I heard her say, “See, I TOLD you!” She thanked me for helping her win her bet and hung up.

  14. Stephanie Beasley says:

    Gallatin- Ga-latin

  15. Cindy Coleman says:

    I live in Cleveland but it drives me crazy to hear people mispronounce chattanooga. It is pronounced just as it is spelled. Chatt-uh-nooga. Most people leave out the “a” and pronounce it chattnooga. Drives me batty. Lol

  16. Stephanie says:

    Celina (Sa-lina)

  17. yogiman says:

    Is Gallatin ‘Gal ton’ or ‘Gal-tin’?

  18. Lisa says:

    Hohenwald, Tn!! My husband and I have relatives that swear you pronounce this with an “r” in it (such as Hoarnwald) and they lived in the area.

  19. Joyce Carter says:

    Medina, TN (Muh-Die-nuh)
    Not Muh-Dee-nuh…

  20. Crystal says:

    Buchanan….Buh-can-an
    Puryear…Per-yer

  21. conalita reeves says:

    Surgoinsville tn..pronounced..sir goins ville
    Not surgeonsville

  22. Ken says:

    Palmer = pronounced Parmer in Grundy County

  23. Ken says:

    Whitwell is Whutwull. And South Pittsburgh is South Pitchburg

  24. Leslie says:

    My hometown is Obion, pronounced O-bi-on. I’ve heard it pronounced O-bri-on or
    O-be-onn.

  25. JF Guinn says:

    Elizabethton = LIZ-uh-beth-ton

  26. JF Guinn says:

    Jonesborough = JONES-burr
    Sulphur Springs = Suffer Springs
    South Central = SOW-cen-trul
    Washington (as in County) = Worsh-un-ton

  27. jane says:

    Trezevant – Trez e vant

    McLemoresville – Mac Lemers ville

  28. Tina Smith says:

    Another community in Tennessee is
    Theta (pronounced Thee-tuh)

  29. John Summitt says:

    Vonore, pronounced just as spelled. New people in town want it pronounced
    Vin ure. Sounds like manure to me. Drives my wife crazy.

  30. Denise Keen says:

    Munford, actually pronounced the way it’s spelled, but the locals call it “Mumfert”.

  31. The Brown's says:

    Polk County is pronounced Poke County by its natives.

  32. Cyndi P says:

    Hampshire (Maury County)– pronounced Hamp- shure not hamp-shy-er

  33. Jim says:

    Cookeville is Coo-vul

  34. Lucy Eastman says:

    McMinnville, is pronounced like Mac-Minnville instead Mick-Minnville. Tennessee and their are only 2 in United States the other one is in Organ

  35. kent peters says:

    I love my little town. It was named after Coryton Woodbury, but he started receiving so much mail that was intended for the town government, he changed the spelling of the town to Corryton (adding the extra R). If a stranger asks us how it’s pronounced we always say Cor-ry-ton) but when we talk to each other, it’s sort of said like Carton, adding a slight pause after the car but still making just 2 syllables.

  36. Lynn H says:

    In Gibson County, Trenton is pronounced by the locals as Trennon.

  37. Patsy Atkins says:

    Joelton is very often mispronounced Jol-tin, I don’t live in Joelton but I worked in the Post Office. The news media is the worse about that.

  38. Rhonda says:

    Orlinda in Robertson County – people not from Middle TN have asked you live in Orlando?

  39. MissNancy says:

    After I moved here from another state, I found out the public schools in TN do not teach phonics. I saw a television news report and they interviewed the principal at the local high school. He said, ” Things like this don’t happen at our sku!”

    This is the principal of a high school? He could not pronounce the word, “School!”
    The blind leading the blind here in TN!

    Lebanin (Lebanon)
    Marvull (Maryville)
    Shovelvull (Shelbyville)
    Murray Cow-nee (Maury County)

  40. Laurie P Thompson says:

    I knew that my visiting Indiana friends knew someone from Tazewell when they pronounced the name with a short a and not a long a! Can always tell an out-of-towner (US! 3 years ago!) by the butchered names of not just towns but people.

  41. erin keltner says:

    Hohenwald. (Hole in wall)