When’s the last time you said “Missouri,” and how did you say it (even just now in your head)?
Chances are, you pronounced it with an “ee” vowel at the end… but maybe not? Some residents use an “uh” vowel. Also, Missour-eye used to be a thing, and the “ss” wasn’t always pronounced as a “z.”
Back up. Slow down.The origin of the name “Missouri” is a little mysterious. It could be the Algonquian name for a Sioux-language community near the Missouri River. It could also mean “muddy water.” Still others reference “people with big canoes,” a common folk etymology — though it’s disputed. Regardless, it was used by 1600s French settlers to refer to the region.
We like to think “Big Muddy” had a say in the name. | Photo by KCtoday
“Evidently, French explorers were the first Europeans to use the word Missouri, and English speakers borrowed it from the French.” — Mizzou professor Charles Gilbert Youmans.
Youmans said the French likely pronounced it “Mi—ss—oo—ree,” with an unvoiced sibilant (think: hissing) and an “oo” like in “boo.”
Then, it got messy. The English adapted the pronunciation to their spelling, and since it ends in “i,” they used a long “eye” sound. But try saying “Missour-eye” without stressing that last vowel. No easy task. That’s why the final syllable “eye” shrank to “uh.” The “uh” sound (called a schwa) is the most common vowel for unstressed syllables in English.
1976 Automobile Club of Missouri: 66% favorting “ee”
Another Mizzou English professor, Donald Lance, studied the name + its use throughout his tenure. He found the majority of his students in 1945 said Missour-uh, but that gradually diminished, especially after WWII. The eastern regions led the charge for Missour-ee, while Northwesterners are more prone to use “uh.”
However you say it, take heart that we’re all probably wrong together — but we can all agree on our love for this place we ultimately call “home.”
We don’t know who will like this story more, your Missouri friends, or your non-Missouri friends. Thankfully, you can share it with both using these buttons.
The State of Black Entrepreneurship in the Midwest | Tues., May 10 | 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. | Kauffman Foundation Conference Center, 4801 Rockhill Rd., Kansas City, MO | Free | Community leaders and experts discuss entrepreneurship trends and forecasts.
Jesse McCartney | Wed., May 11 | 8 p.m. | The Truman | $30+ | The pop artist is famous for his song “Beautiful Soul.” 🎤
Song & Dance | Thurs., May 12-Sun., May 29 | 8 p.m. | MTH Theater, 2450 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO | $35+ | The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical follows the road to love through song and dance.
We have amonthly guide filled with events + activities you can plan for in advance. Click the button below to bookmark ideas for upcoming date nights, family outings, and time with friends.
The heat is on. KC will experience higher temperatures than normal this week — along with most of the country. The National Weather Service’s 6-10 day outlook said Kansas City is 90-100% likely to have higher temperatures. Forecasts show 90s for most of the week. ☀️ (FOX4)
KC Cajun opened its first brick-and-mortar location — at 3510 E. 27th St., KCMO. What started as a catering company + food truck now has a physical spot to display Chef Esra England’s “Louisiana-crab-shack” vibes. OK, we’ll bite. The alligator po’boy has our attention. 🐊 (Startland News)
High fashion + African inspired. That’s how owners describe Uzuri Closet, which recently opened in Oak Park Mall in Overland Park — next to Nordstrom. Owner Melanie Mfuh drew inspiration from her Cameroonian roots to create “high quality, versatile, and stylish clothing.” Wares include dresses, tops, and accessories. (Blue Valley Post)
Kansas City’s tap water has a new flavor profile — “spring.” Water you talking about? If you’ve noticed a change in the tap’s taste and smell (we did), KC Water says it’s part of the changing weather. Rain + snow melt changes the Missouri River, though the quality and safety remains the same. 🚰 (FOX4)
Now for something a little tastier. McCormick’s Holladay Distillery — 1 McCormick Ln., Weston, MO — is making Missouri bourbon for the first time in 37 years. The bottled-in-bond certified liquor (need a definition refresher?) is aged six years. It will be available May 21 at the distillery for ~$50 a bottle. 🥃 (Kansas City Business Journal)
Ding, ding. The KC Streetcar will add a fourth car on Fridays + Saturdays as ridership increases — with a 72% recovery rate after the pandemic. Friday’s additional service will run 2 p.m.-10 p.m., and Saturday’s will run 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
American rock band A Day To Remember is coming to Azura Amphitheater on Sun., Aug. 21. The group, famous for songs like “The Downfall Of Us All,” will be joined by The Ghost Inside, Beartooth, and Bad Omens. Tickets go on saleThurs., May 12. 🎸
Score.Children’s Mercy Park was ranked No. 4 out of best major league stadiums in the US + Canada. The list, which compiled online reviews, placed the KC stadium after Lambeau Field, PNC Park, and Oriole Park. KC’s pro soccer home was the only MLS stadium in the top 16. ⚽ (Kansas City Star)
An Overland Park developer wants to build 77 new apartments in Mission — at 58th Street + Nall Avenue. Moffit and Associates already bought the land and is seeking rezoning, which will go before the Planning Commission meeting on May 23. Developers hope to have units ~10% below market rate. (Shawnee Mission Post)
Sporting KCdrew against 2021 MLS champions New York City FC on the road Saturday, 0-0. Goalkeeper Tim Melia totaled three saves. Kansas City returns home on Tues., May 10 for the start of the US Open Cup in a matchup against Dallas.
Celebrate good times. This past weekend was the KC Streetcar’s6th birthday, President Harry S Truman’s138th birthday, and the March of the Monarchs — the 80th anniversary of the KC Negro Leagues team’s 1942 championship (because they never got a parade). 🎉
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Editor’s pick: I went on a small road trip this weekend and turned on my favorite podcast — “99% Invisible.” Episode 370 was about the first kidney-shaped pool and how its design inspired the evolution of skateboarding. It got me thinking about Columbus Park’s Harrison Street DIY. Apparently, the skatepark was community funded in 2014, but it now faces development as the KC neighborhood grows.
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