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The Clematis Pronunciation Debate

By grannysgarden
June 10, 2015

Since this is Celebrating Clematis Week, I thought I would pose a question to all regions that grow and love the plant. How do you pronounce the word "clematis"?

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Name: Leon
Indiana (Zone 5a)
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TBGDN
Jun 9, 2015 6:31 PM CST
At the risk of appearing "non-intellectually correct" I vote #2. Nobody talks the way of #1 around here. But if I ever run across somebody who does I'll probably know what he/she is describing. Smiling
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Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
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Horntoad
Jun 9, 2015 7:12 PM CST
I agree
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Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
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lovemyhouse
Jun 9, 2015 7:29 PM CST
#2
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Catmint20906
Jun 9, 2015 7:32 PM CST
for the #2 Kle-MAT-is pronunciation, does the MAT part rhyme with cat or with caught?

thanks!
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
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Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses
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zuzu
Jun 9, 2015 7:33 PM CST

Plants Admin

I agree. Kle-MAT-is is the most common pronunciation around here, and it's the one I use. I suppose KLEM-uh-tis is the "correct" pronunciation, according to most dictionaries, but it doesn't sound right to me. I've also heard it pronounced KLEE-muh-tis, Kle-MAY-tis, and Kle-MAH-tis.

I was amused by the Cambridge Dictionary site's audio pronunciations of the word in British English and American English. The pronunciation is virtually the same, but the English speaker sounds cheery and chipper, while the American speaker sounds depressed and dull. Hilarious!

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/pronunciation/british/cle...
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses
Clematis Irises Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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zuzu
Jun 9, 2015 7:33 PM CST

Plants Admin

In my case, the "mat" rhymes with cat.
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover Plays in the sandbox
Butterflies Region: Texas I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member Annuals Garden Sages
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lovemyhouse
Jun 9, 2015 7:36 PM CST
Me, too.
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
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Paul2032
Jun 9, 2015 7:42 PM CST
My Mother and I used to quarrel about this...........We said Mat like Cat and then I heard the other pronounciation on Victory Garden which I started to use.
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
[Last edited by Paul2032 - Jun 9, 2015 7:47 PM (+)]
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Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Region: Maryland Garden Photography Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 The WITWIT Badge
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Catmint20906
Jun 9, 2015 7:43 PM CST
Thank you! :-)
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
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kylaluaz
Jun 9, 2015 7:46 PM CST
I grew up using pronunciation #1, accent on the first syllable, and then was told authoritatively on another garden forum ( Whistling ) that that was definitely wrong, and accent on second syllable (pronunciation #2) was the Only Right Way.

Now I can't get the word out of my mouth because every time I try to say it I think I'm about to say it wrong.

Rolling on the floor laughing
Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic Butterflies Forum moderator Native Plants and Wildflowers Bee Lover Echinacea
Region: Maryland Garden Photography Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 The WITWIT Badge
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Catmint20906
Jun 9, 2015 7:47 PM CST
Paul2032 said:My Mother and I used to quarrel about this...........


Hilarious!
Reminds me of Agastache. I heard so many variations of this locally, with the staff at every nursery having a different favored pronunciation. In Nursery B I mistakenly used the preferred pronunciation of Nursery A, and was summarily corrected by the staff person: 'well, I'm telling you the *right* pronunciation!' Whistling I'm actually afraid to say the word out loud now... Big Grin
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses
Clematis Irises Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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zuzu
Jun 9, 2015 7:48 PM CST

Plants Admin

The Only Right Way? How rude! On our site, you get a choice. Big Grin
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Bulbs Seed Starter
Gardens in Buckets Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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grannysgarden
Jun 9, 2015 7:53 PM CST
Which one did you prefer Paul? Thanks Leon from Indiana, Jay and Debra from Texas and Catmint from Maryland. Thanks Zuzu from N. California and Paul from Utah. So far, though Paul has not yet voted, the second pronunciation is the preferred one. Anyone from the east coast care to chime in here? It would be interesting also to hear from other places.

Catmint, Zuzu is correct, mat rhymes with cat in this instance.
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses
Clematis Irises Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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zuzu
Jun 9, 2015 7:54 PM CST

Plants Admin

I hate the correct pronunciations of Agastache (uh-GAS-tuh-kee, or A-gus-TACK-ee). I think a-gus-TASH (the incorrect pronunciation) sounds sophisticated and interesting.
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Bulbs Seed Starter
Gardens in Buckets Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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grannysgarden
Jun 9, 2015 7:57 PM CST
Absolutely you get a choice...... and no one will correct you here. But I agree that saying it aloud in other gardeners presence gives one pause. I have been told that #1 is preferred in England.
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic Butterflies Forum moderator Native Plants and Wildflowers Bee Lover Echinacea
Region: Maryland Garden Photography Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 The WITWIT Badge
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Catmint20906
Jun 9, 2015 8:11 PM CST
thanks, all.
I think CLEM-a-tis is preferred here in the DC area--it's definitely what I hear others say, pretty consistently.

Zuzu, I like a-gus-TASH and dislike both the correct pronunciations as well!
a-gus-TASH sounds like I'm touring the local art museum--'and here we have a *lovely* painting of a-gus-TASH; notice the artist's brilliant colors and insouciant style'.
The other two make me think of trudging across a patch of stickers 'ahhh the STACKIES'.
nodding
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
Composter Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Herbs Daylilies Sempervivums
Frogs and Toads Container Gardener Cat Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! The WITWIT Badge Winter Sowing
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kylaluaz
Jun 9, 2015 8:14 PM CST
grannysgarden said:Which one did you prefer Paul? Thanks Leon from Indiana, Jay and Debra from Texas and Catmint from Maryland. Thanks Zuzu from N. California and Paul from Utah. So far, though Paul has not yet voted, the second pronunciation is the preferred one. Anyone from the east coast care to chime in here? It would be interesting also to hear from other places.

Catmint, Zuzu is correct, mat rhymes with cat in this instance.


*waves* East Coast here. Post up there. Green Grin!
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Bulbs Seed Starter
Gardens in Buckets Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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grannysgarden
Jun 9, 2015 8:20 PM CST
Yep, missed that! Thanks, Kyla.
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
Charter ATP Member Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Echinacea Vegetable Grower Hybridizer
Tomato Heads Garden Photography Birds Cut Flowers Foliage Fan Plays in the sandbox
Image
Paul2032
Jun 9, 2015 8:25 PM CST
I grew up in a gardening family saying Kle-MAT-tis but now say KLEM-uh-tis........How do you pronounce Peony?
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic Butterflies Forum moderator Native Plants and Wildflowers Bee Lover Echinacea
Region: Maryland Garden Photography Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 The WITWIT Badge
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Catmint20906
Jun 9, 2015 8:25 PM CST
kylaluaz said:
Now I can't get the word out of my mouth because every time I try to say it I think I'm about to say it wrong.
Rolling on the floor laughing


I agree That's the way I feel, too, Kyla--for both Clematis and Agastache. nodding
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso

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