My book Bowie Knife Fights, Fighters, and Fighting Techniques is available from Paladin Press. This blog contains additional information about the bowie knife, as well as the fighting knives of other nations.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Is It Pronounced "Bow-ie" or "Boo-ie"?


One of 22 maps featured in Business Insider showing the way words are pronounced differently in different parts of the United States.

Below the map there is this update from a Texan: "It's pronounced Boo-wie because it's named after Jim Bowie (pronounced Boo-wie), who played a major roll in the Texas revolution. That explains why we're the only ones who pronounce it correctly."

The Texan is correct. The name Bowie--referring to either the man or the knife--have always properly been pronounced to rhyme with Louie, not Joey. It's a Scottish name and that's the correct pronunciation. The 1950s TV program "The Adventures of Jim Bowie" got it right in its theme song.

I suspect the other pronunciation arose when the singer David Jones changed his name to David Bowie so as not to be confused with the lead singer of the Monkees.

14 comments:

  1. Ha, I have always said Bow-ie and feel like I'd turn a weird look from friends if I ever said Boo-ie. But I do believe you're correct on the origin of why so many say Bow.

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  2. If been trying to pronounce it correctly since I researched my book and no one seems to notice. If they do, I'll just 'splain that I'm right and they're wrong.

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  3. Ha, thanks for putting this to rest. I've been saying Boo-wie for ever and always attracted much disagreement from my fellow knife buddies. Thanks for clearing it up! I'll have to share this on my own blog to get the word out...

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  4. I lived in Scotland and people there usually bronounced the "bow" as "bough," but I think that is relatively recent. The old Scottish name used to be spelled "Buidh" with the dh represented by a letter no longer in our alphabet, sort of like the th as pronounded with the tip of the tongue placed between the upper and lower teeth.

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  5. Fantastic to see this post. My middle name is Bowie, from my mother's side, and I've been told more than once that I was saying my own name wrong. How's that work now? Great to see this blog. I've got a well worn copy of The Deadliest Men and your name caught my eye as I was looking up different styles of Bowie knives.

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  6. Actually, John, in Gaelic, where the epithet Buidhe ('yellow', or blonde) comes from, the dh, when adjacent to a slender vowel like i, tends to take on a "-y" sound. So BOO-yeh.

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  11. its boo-ie

    and wow @JohnMaddoxRoberts thats cool

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  12. at least thats what I've been told

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  13. I may be wrong... sry if I am

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