How to Pronounce Salina, KS: A Salty Tale with a Rhyme You Won’t Forget!


By Larry Billinger

Have you ever breezed through Kansas and stumbled on a city that leaves you in a pronunciation pickle? Stop in town and say the name incorrectly and everyone will know you are from out of town. Don’t count on Alexa saying the name correctly either. Meet Salina, a town whose name is as unique as its salty history!

First things first: it’s “Suh-li’-nah”. If you’re looking for a cheeky way to remember, just think: it rhymes with vagina. Yep, you read that right! Now that we’ve got your attention, let’s unravel the reason behind this intriguing name.

Our story starts with the Saline River, a name derived from the Latin “salinus” meaning “salty”. Given its moniker because of the slightly (very slightly) salt-tinged waters, Saline is pronounced “Suh-leen”. Fast-forward to a town close to this river, and voilà, the playful variation Salina was born!

Why the name change, you ask? While the region did have its salty attributes, it was also blessed with rich, fertile lands perfect for crops. The savvy settlers didn’t want folks out east looking for new land to settle to get the wrong idea — thinking their land was as salty as a pretzel and unsuitable for farming. So, they opted for Salina, a variation that wouldn’t hint too strongly at salt but would pay homage to the nearby river.

So, next time you’re touring Kansas and find yourself in “Suh-li’-nah”, tip your hat to its salty past. And if someone says “Suh-li-nuh”? Just chuckle and share the tale.

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