Most Mispronounced Tennessee Towns

66 Comments By 

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.

66 Comments

  1. Evelyn Hilton

    February 26, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    Fayetteville – Fatevul

    Maryville – Murvul

    Shelbyville – Shebbyvul

    • Donald Wayne Allen

      June 5, 2014 at 9:32 am

      We also pronounce our home town of Shelbyville Shebvul

      • MissNancy

        June 16, 2014 at 9:31 pm

        I moved to Spring Hill and one guy said it is pronounced, Spring Gall!

  2. grace schoeberl

    February 27, 2014 at 2:37 pm

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

  3. Debb harper

    February 27, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    How about Harriman (Harry-man)

    • Emily Dryden

      August 29, 2019 at 1:53 pm

      Hair-uh-mun

  4. candace bond

    February 27, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Beersheba (bersheba)
    woodbury (woodberry)

  5. Patricia Linn

    February 27, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    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

    February 28, 2014 at 7:24 am

    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

    February 28, 2014 at 8:56 am

    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

    February 28, 2014 at 11:10 am

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

  9. Joe Ledford

    February 28, 2014 at 9:01 pm

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

  10. Forrest Butler

    February 28, 2014 at 9:26 pm

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

  11. Forrest Butler

    February 28, 2014 at 9:27 pm

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

  12. Robin Elliott

    March 1, 2014 at 10:34 am

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

  13. Darlene Guinn

    March 1, 2014 at 11:49 am

    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

    March 1, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    Gallatin- Ga-latin

  15. Cindy Coleman

    March 2, 2014 at 8:21 am

    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

    • ShaE

      December 16, 2016 at 10:57 pm

      Me too!!!! Makes me want to pull out my hair lol

    • Sal

      March 17, 2017 at 9:16 am

      TV people are the worst. Plus, they seem to enjoy saying it and so you have to hear them mispronounce it over and over. I have misophonia anyway and it drives ME batty too. Aa-lanta is another one but I realize that should be on another thread.

  16. Stephanie

    March 2, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    Celina (Sa-lina)

  17. yogiman

    March 2, 2014 at 2:31 pm

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

    • Emily Dryden

      October 23, 2019 at 8:11 am

      Gal-uh-tin

  18. Lisa

    March 4, 2014 at 10:21 am

    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

    March 4, 2014 at 2:32 pm

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

  20. Crystal

    March 4, 2014 at 3:27 pm

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

  21. conalita reeves

    March 4, 2014 at 4:25 pm

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

    • Sharon

      August 19, 2019 at 11:48 am

      It’s really (sur goins vul)
      Born and raised there. I know

  22. Ken

    March 4, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    Palmer = pronounced Parmer in Grundy County

  23. Ken

    March 4, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Whitwell is Whutwull. And South Pittsburgh is South Pitchburg

  24. Leslie

    March 5, 2014 at 7:02 pm

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

  25. JF Guinn

    March 7, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    Elizabethton = LIZ-uh-beth-ton

  26. JF Guinn

    March 7, 2014 at 4:11 pm

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

  27. jane

    March 8, 2014 at 11:35 am

    Trezevant – Trez e vant

    McLemoresville – Mac Lemers ville

    • George

      August 7, 2020 at 11:15 am

      Never heard either of those pronunciations, and I’ve lived in Carroll County for 52 years.

  28. Tina Smith

    March 9, 2014 at 9:39 am

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

  29. John Summitt

    March 15, 2014 at 10:55 am

    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

    March 29, 2014 at 10:39 am

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

  31. The Brown's

    April 8, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    Polk County is pronounced Poke County by its natives.

  32. Cyndi P

    April 10, 2014 at 9:40 am

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

  33. Jim

    April 15, 2014 at 6:00 am

    Cookeville is Coo-vul

  34. Lucy Eastman

    April 21, 2014 at 9:08 pm

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

    • Lucy Eastman

      April 21, 2014 at 9:40 pm

      McMinnville, Oregon

  35. kent peters

    May 31, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    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

    June 1, 2014 at 4:49 pm

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

  37. Patsy Atkins

    June 4, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    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

    June 12, 2014 at 11:16 am

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

  39. MissNancy

    June 16, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    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. Victoria landing

    April 6, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    Southern people can’t spell. If you’re going to call your town Solana don’t spell it Celina. K?

  41. Miss Nancy

    May 16, 2015 at 8:14 am

    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 (correctly ) 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 misprounounce.

    This is the way the article should have been written because the educational system in TN is broken and they don’t teach phonics!

  42. Ann Lambrecht

    October 6, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    The infamous Sevierville. Pronounced se vere ville. Hear see ver ville from tourists and newcomers.

  43. Steve Ray

    September 21, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    Ooltewah is an old Native American word which means “See Rock City”

  44. echofive

    November 23, 2018 at 8:42 am

    Wartrace (war trace) is often pronounced as wart race.

  45. BillVol

    November 23, 2018 at 9:44 pm

    Is Trousdale (County) pronounced true or like trousers?

    • Scott

      September 13, 2019 at 8:52 pm

      Its more like trousers. TROUS-duhl

  46. Howell Estes

    April 4, 2019 at 12:08 pm

    Is blount, as in Blount County, pronounced like the word count or like the word punt?

    • Steve Cole

      August 19, 2019 at 12:48 pm

      Blount is pronounced like “punt”. I’m not native to Blount County, but I’ve lived there for 13 years. It’s named after William Blount, the first governor of Tennessee, who pronounced his name that way.

  47. Sharon

    August 19, 2019 at 11:48 am

    It’s really (sur goins vul)
    Born and raised there. I know

  48. Sara Anglin

    August 31, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    We LOVE the way we speak. If you’re uncomfortable with that, LEAVE.

  49. Sara Anglin

    August 31, 2019 at 12:19 pm

    Just because something is not pronounced the way you are accustomed to hearing it does not mean it is mispronounced.

  50. Scott

    September 13, 2019 at 8:59 pm

    Lancaster in Smith County. It’s not Lan-CAST-er. It’s Laynk-a-STIR.
    Norene in Wilson County. It’s more NO-reen.

  51. Laura

    September 30, 2019 at 10:48 pm

    Born and raised in Wilson County, currently residing in Mount Juliet.
    It makes me chuckle a bit when I hear new comers say “Juliet” like you would from Romeo and Juliet. The more proper you say it the funnier it is. People from around here normally say something to the effect of “Mount Jewl-yet” or the old timers will say “Mount Jew-yet” but definitely only two syllables, just like our neighboring towns of Lebnin (Lebanon) and Old Hickry (Old Hickory). And let’s not forget our neighbors to the south in Murphysboro (Murfreesboro).

    • Emily

      July 21, 2020 at 4:37 pm

      As a Mt. Juliet native (family been local to here more than 200 years), thank you for recognizing how it should be said! Even though I’m still young (in my 30s), those raised to pronounce it “Mount Jyoo-yet” like me are a dying breed!

  52. bailey

    January 16, 2020 at 12:56 pm

    BAILEYTON bailey-Ton

  53. Tim Pearsall

    July 14, 2020 at 6:45 pm

    Is Cocke County pronounced “Coke” as in the soft drink, “Cook”, or “Cock”?

  54. Steve Cole

    November 17, 2020 at 2:31 pm

    Blythe Ferry. It’s not really a town, more of a place with a small community that used to have a car ferry that would take people across the Tennessee River. You would think the “the” would be pronounced, but according to my wife’s grandfather, an Igou who lived in Chattanooga starting from about 1960 on and visited the ferry on the last day of its existence, said that folks there pronounced it simply “Bly”. The last three letters are silent.

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