Locations in Maine: A Pronunciation Guide

At the waterfront, a hand-lettered painted sign advertising the Harraseeket Lobster Co. and the food they serve.

If you’re looking for lobster in Harraseeket make sure to say Hare-uh-SEEK-it. Photo © Jill M, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Countless names for Maine cities, towns, villages, rivers, lakes, and streams have Native American origins; some are variations on French; and a few have German derivations. Below are some pronunciations to give you a leg up when requesting directions along the Maine coast.


Pronunciation 101: How to Say It Like a Native

Arundel Uh-RUN-d’l
Bangor BANG-gore
Bremen BREE-m’n
Calais CAL-us
Castine Kass-TEEN
Damariscotta dam-uh-riss-COTT-uh
Harraseeket Hare-uh-SEEK-it
Isle au Haut i’ll-a-HO, I’LL-a-ho (subject to plenty of dispute, depending on whether or not you live in the vicinity)
Katahdin Kuh-TA-din
Lubec Loo-BECK
Machias Muh-CHIGH-us
Matinicus Muh-TIN-i-cuss
Medomak Muh-DOM-ick
Megunticook Muh-GUN-tuh-cook
Monhegan Mun-HE-gun
Mount Desert Mount Duh-ZERT
Narraguagus Nare-uh-GWAY-gus
Naskeag NASS-keg
Passagassawakeag Puh-sag-gus-uh-WAH-keg
Passamaquoddy Pass-uh-muh-QUAD-dee
Pemaquid PEM-a-kwid
Saco SOCK-oh
Schoodic SKOO-dick
Steuben Stew-BEN
Topsham TOPS-’m
Wiscasset Wiss-CASS-it
Woolwich WOOL-itch

Excerpted from the Fifth Edition of Moon Coastal Maine.

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1 Comment

  1. Jay Fulton says:

    thank you, Hilary! I moved here in September ’13, and wondered about Topsham. Some of these pronunciations are guessable, but BREEm’n was a surprise.