A guide to commonly mispronounced Delaware places

There are some places in Delaware that even people who have lived in the state for decades have to pause to say correctly. Then there are some that you’d most likely only get right if you are a born and bred First Stater. Here are a few tricky pronunciations of cities, towns and locales in Delaware, explained by the vastly informative staff at the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs (HCA) as well as information published in a 2021 article by Delaware Online/The News Journal:

New Castle County

Hockessin: It’s “Ho-kess-in” not “Hock-ess-in.” According to Delaware Online, the name has Quaker origins linked to a meeting house built in the village in the mid-1700s.

Newark: It’s “New-ark” not “New-erk” like the same-named city in New Jersey. Learn more about HCA’s Cooch’s Bridge Historic Site near Newark.

Kent County

Frederica: It’s “Fred-er-ick-a” not “Fred-reek-a” or any other variations, although locals told Delaware Online they don’t sweat the pronunciation here quite as much.

Houston: It’s “House-ton,” not “Hughes-ton” like the city in Texas. Delaware Online notes the small Delaware town was named after southern Delaware lawyer and politician John W. Houston, who served as Delaware’s Secretary of State from 1841-1844.

Port Mahon: It’s “May-hon” not “May-hone” Little Creek’s Glenn Gauvry told Delaware Online.

Smyrna: It’s “Smern-a” not “Smeern-a” or “Suh-mer-na.” 

Visit one of several Kent County museums and historic sites such as the John Dickinson Plantation and The Old State House.

Sussex County

Lewes: It’s “Lew-is” not “Lews.” According to Delaware Online, the “First Town in the First State” was named by William Penn, after an English town. Visit HCA’s Zwaanendael Museum in Lewes.

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