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Dear Minerva:

I recently saw a meme featuring that Real Housewife and that white cat. In this particular meme, the cat says that “Boise” is pronounced “Boy-zee,” while the woman says it is “Boy-see.” Since there doesn’t exactly seem to be a 100% agreement on that, even amongst the citizens here, I thought I’d ask you, what is the correct pronunciation?


See vs. Zee

Dear See:

Ah, a topic about which every Boisean has an opinion. I looked up the meme that you referenced, starring Taylor Armstrong from “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” as the very adamant, teary-eyed woman, and Smudge the Cat as the contrarian. The etymology of the word “Boise” is quite clear. The French word “bois” means “wood.” We are the “City of Trees” so this makes perfect sense since in French “boisé” means “wooded.” While French is a beautiful language, accomplishing the task of making the everyday sound beautiful, it’s not always a language with which the population of the USA has found comfort. This has led generations of Boiseans to insist that the name of our city is pronounced “boy-see” while the French language insists it’s “boy-zee.” Much like “Versailles” became “Ver-sales” in Kentucky, Boise is now “Boy-see.” In my own life, I’m not going to correct anyone. One pronunciation is correct because that is the actual pronunciation of the word. The other is correct because the majority says so. But much like GIF, there technically is a correct answer, and the correct isn’t necessarily popular.

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