It's getting to be that time of the year when relatives from out of town start to visit for the holidays. I'm sure you've heard those family members butcher many Iowa town and city names.

Des Moins city skyline at night

A fun game is to think of the relative that butchers names the most, and see how many of these they have said wrong.

Mispronounced Cities In Iowa

Before we jump into this, I just want to address that As of 2010, there are 947 incorporated cities in the state of Iowa. So needless to say I most likely missed some of the smaller cities. If you live in a city that gets butchered when it comes to pronunciation, let us know.

Welcome to Iowa sign

1. Des Moines

I bet you saw this one coming from a mile away, it's our state capital, and I doubt anyone who's not from Iowa knows how to pronounce it.

Des Moines is the capital city of Iowa. The gold-domed Iowa State Capitol building is among the 19th- and early-20th-century landmarks of the East Village area.

2. Ottumwa

I don't think I've ever heard someone say this right on the first time. I still mess it up from time to time.

Ottumwa is a city in and the county seat of Wapello County, Iowa, United States.[7] The population was 25,529 at the time of the 2020 U.S. Census.[8] Located in the state's southeastern section, the city is split into northern and southern halves by the Des Moines River.

3. Waukee

Since I have heard all of these cities on the list my whole life, it's hard to imagine people saying them wrong, but boy they do.

Waukee is a city in Dallas County, Iowa, United States. The population was 23,940 at the time of the 2020 U.S. Census. It is part of the Des Moines

4. Keokuk

It's just pronounced the way it's spelled, and yet some people from out of town overcorrect and say it wrong.

Keokuk is a city in and a county seat of Lee County, Iowa, United States, along with Fort Madison. It is Iowa's southernmost city. The population was 9,900 at the time of the 2020 census.

5. Quasqueton

I was avoiding super small cities since there are so many of them, but I had to put Quasqueton on here to wrap up the list because I still struggle at saying it right.

Quasqueton is a city in Buchanan County, Iowa, United States. The population was 570 at the time of the 2020 census. Just northwest of the town is Cedar Rock, a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, which is maintained by the state as a museum.

6. Osceola

Fun fact I thought Osceola was spelled with an A my entire childhood, I had to visit the spot to realize my mistake.

Osceola is a city in Clarke County, Iowa, United States. The population was 5,415 at the time of the 2020 census. It is the county seat of Clarke County

7. Monticello

Apparently, I also have no idea how to pronounce this, people claim it's actually pronounced like MONTI-CHELLO. Have I been saying this wrong my whole life?

Monticello is a city in Jones County, Iowa, United States. As of the 2020 census, the city population was 4,040

8. Dubuque

How is this on the list?! Some people call this spot DUB-U-K with a very hard k. (It should be pronounced as BYUWK) While that is closer to its actual name than some other spots get when mispronounced, it's still incorrect, and weird anytime I hear it.

Dubuque is the county seat of Dubuque County, Iowa, United States, located along the Mississippi River. At the time of the 2020 census, the population of Dubuque was 59,667. The city lies at the junction of Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin, a region locally known as the Tri-State Area. It serves as the main commercial, industrial, educational, and cultural center for the area.

9. Maquoketa

Once you hear it, it's hard to forget, but for a lot of people saying it for the first time can be a struggle.

Maquoketa is a city in Jackson County, Iowa, United States. Located on the Maquoketa River, it is the county seat of Jackson County. U.S. Route 61 adjoins the city, which therefore hosts traffic between Dubuque and the Quad Cities. Iowa Highways 62 and 64 also pass through the city. Maquoketa Caves State Park is located a few miles northwest of Maquoketa.

10. Sioux City

Another one I grew up hearing and assumed everyone just knew how to say... apparently I was wrong.

Sioux City is in northwest Iowa. The Sioux City Art Center showcases work by artists from the Upper Midwest. Nearby, Sioux City Public Museum has local history displays, including a hands-on replica of a fossil dig site.


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