14 Texas Cities and Words Everyone Says Wrong

Texas is such a melting pot of cultures, it’s no wonder that people mispronounce many of our words. Here are a few that folks always seem to have trouble with.

14. Gruene, TX

Ok, I understand that this word might look a little confusing to the average person, but it’s really not that hard. I continue to hear folks (who are probably newcomers) butcher this name. I’m here to tell all yall that it is not Groo – en – ee. It’s not Groo – n. It’s Green. Say it with me.

  • Gr – ee – n
  • G – ree – n
  • Gruene

It may not be the biggest little village in Texas, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve the respect of being referred to correctly yall.

13. Burnet, TX

The easiest way to tell if someone is from around central Texas or not is to ask them how to pronounce this. If they say Bur-net, then you know they’re not.

  • Burn – it
  • Bur -knit
  • Burnet

12. Refugio, TX

Legendary pitcher Nolan Ryan was born in this great little town. Despite this claim to fame, people still pronounce it all wrong. It’s not Ref-oo-gee-o and it’s definitely not Rufio.

  • Ref – fur – ee – oh
  • Reh – fury – oh
  • Refugio

11. Mexia, TX

Dependent upon who you talk to, you’ll get different answers about how to pronounce this Texas city’s name. Either way you say it, it’s not Mex – ee – uh. You can pick your pronunciation from below though, and you’ll probably be pretty close.

  • Muh – hay – uh
  • Meh – hair
  • Mexia

Just because the word looks like Mexico doesn’t mean it’s pronounced the same way at all.

10. Bexar County

This one always cracks me up. Newcomers see it and immediately screw it up. It’s not Bex- arrr. It’s really pretty easy, if not very obvious.

  • Bay – err
  • Bear
  • Bexar

9. Kuykendahl Road in Houston, TX

Folks in Houston know that there’s a lot of debate about how to say Kuykendahl. It looks like Koy – ken – doll, or maybe coo – ken – dall. Well I’m here to tell you that, that is in fact wrong. Jeff Nusser has proof that this is how it is pronounced. Get it right yall!

  • Kerr – ken – doll
  • Cur – ken – dahl
  • Kirk – en – doll
  • Kuykendahl

Mystery solved and argument over yall. Now let’s all take a drive down Kuykendahl road and live happily ever after knowing that we can actually say that word correctly.

8. Study Butte, Tx

Study Butte is a tiny village/ghost town in West Texas just outside of Big Bend. Given the small population, it’s no surprise that few people know how to say its name very well. It may not make sense, but it sounds cool.

  • Stew – dee B – yewt
  • Stu – dee Bewt
  • Study Butte

7. Humble, TX

There’s nothing “humble” about Humble, TX. To say it right, you have to say it wrong. Drop the H and say it right y’all.

  • Uh – mm – bull
  • Um – bull
  • Humble

6. Bowie

Jim Bowie died in the Alamo for Texas. The least people can do for him is to pronounce his name correctly. According to the NC State map above, at least Texans get it mostly right. Well I’m here to tell you that it is NOT Bow – ee. Let’s not get it mostly right. Let’s get it right right.

  • Boo – eee
  • B – ew – ee
  • Bowie

Jim Bowie didn’t sacrifice his life at the Alamo for all you city slickers to go around mixing up his name with David Bowie. Do him a favor and stop.

5. New Braunfels, TX

Do you see an “s” in the middle of Braunfels? Me either. Please stop putting one there when you say it folks.

Say it with me now slowly one at a time.

  • New Br – awn – full – s
  • New Br – on – full – s
  • New Br – ahn – full – s
  • New Braunfels

That wasn’t so hard was it?

4. Boerne, TX

Boerne may not be as big of a Texas city as New Braunfels, but it still doesn’t mean we can go around mistreating the name of this little town. With the way people butcher this name, you’d think Jason Bourne’s family had founded it.

Here’s your lesson.

  • Burn – knee
  • Burr – nee
  • B – urn – eeeee
  • Boerne

Congratulations. You’re now one step closer to speaking Texan a little better.

3. Guadalupe

Now this is one that I let slide because it sounds cool even when said with it’s Spanglish pronunciation. It’s the name of one of the greatest rivers in the world and nearly every town in this state has a street named after it. Guad-a-loop is a popular word with us Texans. If you want to get particular though and say it correctly during your next Spanish class or get extra cred with your Hispanic friends, follow my pronunciation chart below.

  • Gua-ca-mole (Sorry, I was hungry)
  • Gua – dah – loo – pay
  • Gua – duh – loo – pe
  • Guad – ul – oopay
  • Guadalupe

This lesson qualifies as 3 credits of High School Spanish in the state of Texas.

2. Waxahachie, TX

To be fair, most people unfairly just know this city by the roadside sign they pass when driving between Dallas and Austin. Often times I hear folks pronouncing it Wax – ahachie. You may be saying to yourself, “well it sure looks like Wax – ahachie to me” and you’d be right. It does look like that. But it sounds like this.

  • Walks – uh – hatch – ee
  • Wox – uh – hat – chee
  • Wocks – uh – hatch – ee
  • Waxahachie

Congratulations.

1. Whataburger

Newcomers to Texas ALWAYS mispronounce the name of our beloved fast food restaurant Whataburger. Heck, even Whataburger’s commercials say it What – a – burger. Real Texans understand two things about Whataburger; the menu is only for non-Texans, because real Texans already know what they want, and it’s pronounced like this:

  • Watt – er – burr – gurr
  • Wat – er – burg – er
  • Waterburger

For formality’s sake, you can continue to write it as Whataburger so you don’t confuse all the newcomers to Texas in to thinking we’re eating some kind of Waterburgers. Just know that if you pronounce it What – a – burger, you may be mistaken for a Yankee, or worse, a Californian.


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