LEBANON, Mo. – For those not from the area you might have heard the locals pronounce the city of Lebanon, LEB-UH-NEN or LEB-NUN. Is it pronounced correctly or not?

“We’re just hillbillies,” said one man. He said that’s just the way they say it around here.

“It makes my head feel like Jello and Chex Mix mixed together,” described one woman whenever she hears LEB-UH-NEN. She wishes people would pronounce it LEB-UH-NON.

So, which pronunciation is correct? It depends on how far back in history you want to look.

According to Allison Dorris the library historian for the Lebanon-Laclede County Library, originally Laclede County was a part of Kinderhook county which also consisted of Camden county and part of Pulaski and was formed in 1841. It is called Kinderhook after Martin Van Buren’s (8th President of the U.S.) home of Kinderhook, NY.

The county of Laclede was made between 1835 and 1840 out of Pulaski, Wright, and Camden County and approved on Feb 24, 1849. The name Laclede is from Pierre Laclede, who founded St. Louis.

“Originally, the town of Lebanon was called Wyota—a Native American name. Presumably, the name of the “Indian Village” where old Lebanon was— until Reverend Benjamin Hooker, a prominent man in the area, asked to name the town Lebanon after his hometown of Lebanon, TN. Hooker’s wish was granted, and that is how Lebanon came to be.” Dorris said.

Those from Tennessee pronounce the city, LEB-NUN.

According to Britannica.com, Lebanon, Tennessee, was established in 1802 on an overland stagecoach route. It was named from biblical Lebanon—which had a profusion of cedar trees— because the area’s juniper trees were mistaken for cedars by the early settlers.

Biblical Lebanon is pronounced LEB-UH-NON.

“As a girl who was born in raised here, I say, LEB-A-NEN. But I have heard many travelers who pass by the Route 66 museum in the Lebanon Library refer to it as LEB-A-NON. But, I have also heard many of those same travelers say Missour-AH in the same sentence, which isn’t right to me either,” said Dorris.

So what is the correct pronunciation? It’s how the majority pronounces their own city.

We can at least all agree it isn’t LA-BANNEN.