Have you ever fumbled around and garbled the pronunciations of "Gallaudet" or "Grosvenor" because you didn't want to mess them up?
Have you ever wondered if it's "Dupont" or "DuPont" Circle? You're not alone! We're here to clear up the confusion with seven of D.C.'s commonly mispronounced places (and misspelled ones, too)!
Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Station
Chances are, you've been slaughtering "Grosvenor" six ways from Sunday, and no judging! It doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. The correct pronunciation is "grove-nor," dropping the "s" in the French pronunciation. Fun fact: the Grosvenor neighborhood was named after Gilbert Hovey Grosvenor, first editor of National Geographic.
Adams’ Morgan or Adam’s Morgan?
Actually, both are wrong! This neighborhood gets its name from two formerly-segregated schools in the area—the all-white John Quincy Adams and the all-black Thomas P. Morgan school. In 1956, the Adams-Morgan Better Neighborhood Conference was formed to improve the neighborhood, and that's how the neighborhood got its name. Eventually, the hyphen was dropped, so now it's simply "Adams Morgan."
Takoma vs. Takoma Park
The neighborhood in D.C. with its own Metro station is called "Takoma," and the city in Maryland that borders it is called "Takoma Park." You don't want to be caught confusing the two with residents of either!
DuPont Circle or Dupont Circle
Both are OK. Though the circle was named after Samuel Francis DuPont (with an uppercase "P"), Congress named it "Dupont Circle" (with the lowercase "p") on February 25, 1882. You can do a big "P" or a little "p," as long as you put the seat back down when you're done. (Sorry. I had to). Also, it's pronounced with the emphasis on the first syllable, "DUpont."
L'Enfant may sort of seem like it should be pronounced "la infant," but that's not thinking like a fancy French person. Pierre L'Enfant was the civil engineer for which L'Enfant Plaza was named, and he was responsible for the initial basic plan for D.C. He was also the guy responsible for leaving out the "J" in our alphabetically-named streets, because at that time, it looked too much like an "I." They kept I Street, though, so is it safe to say that they took a vote, and the "I's" had it? (Again, couldn't resist). All jokes aside, in keeping with the French pronunciation, it should sound more like "lawn-font."
Gallaudet University, a university for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, was named after Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, an American educator. It is probably the most massacred of D.C.'s commonly mispronounced places and is called "gall-yoo-det" by the masses (bashfully raising my own hand here). The correct pronunciation is "gall-ah-det."
Okay, this one's technically in Virginia, but it's right over the Key Bridge from Georgetown, so it kind of works? It's such a mind-blowing mispronunciation, I had to add it. Widely, and I would even venture to say, unanimously known as "rozz-lin," this community was based around a farm in colonial days owned by William and Carolyn Ross. Their farm was named Ross Lynn.
So, there you have seven of D.C.'s commonly mispronounced places, and they're probably just the tip of the iceberg. Can you name some of your favorite name-slaughterings in D.C.? Tell us about them in the comments!