How do you pronounce peony? There are so many different ways to say it so I took a survey. Here’s the most common pronunciation.
Yesterday I went to Trader Joe’s.
I heard a rumor that they had peonies. It was true. When I walked in the door it was amazing. The flower section was full of red and white and pink peony flower bunches.
Just for the record, peonies are my second favorite flower on this planet next to hydrangeas.
They would be in first place if the flowers lasted for more than a hot minute.
If you blink, the peonies will be gone until next year.
I grabbed bunch after bunch of flowers and tossed them into my cart and started whistling and pushed the cart up to the front and unloaded the flowers onto the counter. The clerk smiled at me over the edge of the flowers and said, “How many bunches of peonies do you have?”
Except when he said it, peonies sounded like PEE-OH-NEES.
Nope. That’s not the way to say it. That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.
Everyone knows it’s PEE-A-KNEES.
Or do they?
And that got me thinking.
Is there a right way to pronounce it?
And so I did what all potentially mispronouncing people do when faced with a word dilemma.
I googled it.
And FOUND 50 MORE WAYS TO SAY IT.
Can’t anyone make up their peony mind?
Here are some of the most common ways to pronounce “peony” depending on where you live or where you were raised.
And this is just 10. There are literally a zillion ways to say peony. But why? Why are there so many different ways to pronounce peony?
I didn’t know, so I researched it. One reason there are so many different pronunciations of the word is because of its origins. The word “peony” is derived from the Latin name for the flower, Paeonia.
Through the years, it underwent various changes and adaptations, resulting in different pronunciations. For example, in French, the flower is known as “pivoine” and is pronounced, “pee-vwah-nuh.” These differences can be attributed to the unique sounds and intonations of each language.
So basically? We all say it differently because we heard our great-grandmothers and our grandmothers and our aunts and uncles and cousins all say it one way. So that’s the way our peony pronunciation rolls.
But why stop with peony?
There are so many other super confusing words, too.
In even more general pronunciation confusingness, I found even MORE WORDS that I may or may not be saying wrong.
For example, how do you say caramel?
Some people say CARA-MEL.
I say CAR-MEL.
I only eat CAR-MEL if it has chocolate all over it.
Some people say SEER-UP.
I say SIR-UP.
I pour SIR-UP all over my blueberry pancakes.
Or what about envelope?
Some people say ON-VEL-OPE.
I say EN-VEL-OPE.
When I mail a letter, I put it into an EN-VEL-OPE.
How can we all not agree on the right way to say pecan? Especially if you are from the south.
Some people say PEE-CAN.
I say PUH-KAHN.
Unless I’m eating pie. And then it’s PEE-CAN pie.
And what about potato?
And don’t even get me started on Carribean.
So many words. So many pronunciations.
And it all started with these.
The ones I loaded up with from Trader Joe’s and put in my car and brought home and cut the ends off and put them in a vase.
They are actually peony buds right now, just waiting to bloom.
I guess in the end does it really matter?
Because no matter if you say PEE-OH-NEEs or PEE-A-KNEES, there’s one thing we can all agree on.
The word to describe them?
It’s beautiful. 🙂
PS Be sure you are following along with me on Pinterest for tons more ideas like this.
PPS I also have the best tip to help peonies to open.