US Cities You're Pronouncing Completely Wrong

La Jolla, CA | fon thachakul/
La Jolla, CA | fon thachakul/

Americans are quite adept at butchering the names of foreign places, but alas, these offenses are also committed everyday on American soil. Here are 20 cities in our OWN DAMN COUNTRY that you're probably mispronouncing. Please, for the good of the nation, get your shit together.

lafeyette Louisiana pronounciation
Flickr/Kent Kanouse

NOT: Lah-FEY-et

We bought Louisiana from the French, and of course proceeded to totally butcher the French pronunciation of this city. That's so us!

boise idaho
Charles Knowles/Shutterstock

NOT: BOY-zee

Just to mess with you a little more, its racetrack -- Les Bois -- is pronounced "Lay Bwah." Even weirder, Boise is a legit cool place to spend a weekend. A lot to mull over on this one.

helena montana
Sue Smith/Shutterstock

NOT: Hel-AY-na

There are a hell of a lot worse places in Montana, but none that are this easy to mispronounce.

wilkes barre Pennsylvania

NOT: Wilks-BAR

Behold, a town in Pennsylvania named after the Golden State Warriors' two best players from 1975-1977: Jamaal Wilkes and Rick Barry.

la jolla california
Dave Newman/Shutterstock


Yeah, and la-holla at us if you've ever heard someone call it "La JOL-LA." Same.

kissimmee florida
William Silver/Shutterstock

NOT: KISS-a-mee

Good move with this one -- otherwise their town name would sound like Super Mario trying to get to first base.

norfolk virginia


But if you ask folks from Norfolk a question, do they answer "yea" or "naw"?

spokane washington
Kendall Rittenour/Shutterstock


C'mon people, you spo-can get this right!

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

NOT: WOR-ches-ter and WOR-sess-ter

This IS New England, however, so you'll probably hear it called WUSS-tah. Or even WISS-tah.

Thomas Kelley/Shutterstock


And it is definitely not LOU-iss-vill.

Nadia Borisevich/Shutterstock

NOT: SEE-kwim

Yes, it has a funny name, but they make up for it by being one of the best dang beach towns on the West Coast.

schenectady new york
debra millet/shutterstock

NOT: See-NEK-ta-dee

The Mohawk tribe of the Iroquois Nation originally called this area "Schau-naugh-ta-da," which means "over the pine plains." Not any easier to pronounce, however.

Wikimedia/Kenneth C. Zirkel


... or Wah-KE$HA for that matter, even though when you ask people why they pronounce the name of the town like that, they're all, "We R Who We R."

sault st marie michigan
Wikimedia/Michelle Hill

NOT: SALT-saynt MA-ree

Soooooo, it doesn't sound anything like it looks? Got it.

des moines iowa
Henryk Sadura/Shutterstock

NOT: DES Moyns

... or DES-money, for that matter. Although, with a poppin' job market and low cost of living, you'd be forgiven if you move there and call it that, privately.

Wikimedia/John Menard

NOT: Scan-EAT-ells

If you said you knew how to pronounce this place, it's probably time to eat your words. Sorry, I got nothin.'


NOT: Pat-cha-goo

Proper pronunciation of this place: yet another thing you only know if you're from Long Island.

puyallup washington
Flickr/Neil Hodges

NOT: Poo-ya-lup or Pooh-Y'all-up

The second one sounds like what Christopher Robin probably said whenever he went into the Hundred Acre Wood.

bethesda maryland

NOT: Beth... um, followed by something else, presumably.

colorado pronounciation
Andrew Zarivny/Shutterstock


OK, not a city, but for the good of America, it'd be cool if you stopped screwing this up. Colorado is pronounced Col-uh-RAD-o. Rad.

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Bradley Foster is a former Thrillist editor who lives in WAR-shing-ton... err, dammit (!) WASH-ing-ton State.