North Carolina town pronunciation guide


Appalachian Mountains | Photo by Ken Thomas

Table of Contents

On Nov. 21, North Cackalacky will turn 232 years young. We know: it’s our party and we’ll cry if we want to, but we’d rather not cry over mispronunciations of NC things. So today, we’re bringing you a guide on how to talk like a local.

Appalachia: ap-uh-LATCH-uh

  • Arguably the number one offender here, some folks find the following helpful: “If you say appa-laysha, someone will likely throw an apple atcha.” You’re sure to get a lot of “Bless your hearts,” if you pronounce it any other way.

Angier: ANN-jur

  • Angier is a small town located where Harnett County nudges up against Wake + Johnston counties. Though only a few letters, the spelling still trips outsiders up.

Beaufort: BOE-furt

  • Write this one down — in NC, it’s BOE-furt. In SC, it’s BEW-fert. We’re not sure why, but we do know that it matters.

Fuquay-Varina: FEW-kway vuh-REE-nah

  • While that pronunciation may look intimidating, think of Varina as rhyming with arena. Nothing grinds our gears more than hearing folks say FOO-quay.

Kerr Lake: CAR

  • Yes, literally just like a car that you drive. You can find this lake about an hour or so north of Raleigh along the Virginia border.

Mebane: MEB-un

  • Otherwise known as the place with the Tanger outlets, Mebane is ~50 minutes from Raleigh. Just head down I-40 toward Greensboro, and you can’t miss it.

Topsail: TOP-sul

  • When you head to this beach, there’s no more obvious way to stick out like a sore thumb than to pronounce it TOP-sayl.

Uwharrie: you-WAHR-ee

Zebulon: ZEB-yoo-luhn

  • If you’re really NC-grown, it’ll come out more like ZEB-yoo-lin. But, under no circumstance, is it ever ZEB-yoo-lawn.


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