Just sayin’


I first saw and heard this word when I was a kid vacationing in the mountains near Estes Park, Colo. I’ve loved it ever since. It’s fun to see and fun to say. I don’t know why. It just is.

It’s a bush (shrub?) that grows in the mountains. Glossy green leaves with red berries. Also called bearberry. If I’ve seen it, I didn’t know it at the time. You can look up all the botanical details if you’re interested.

I’ve seen it spelled kinnikinnick, kinnickinnick, kinnikinnic, kinnikinic, etc. Don’t know if those were typos or what, but the first is the correct spelling (I think).

The pronunciation varies a bit, too. The first, below, is the closest I found to how I’ve always pronounced it. Or, if you’re into this sort of thing, there’s this: /ˌkɪ.nɪ.kɪˈnɪk/,[1] /ˌkɪ.nɪ.kəˈnɪk/,[1][2] /ˈkɪ.nɪ.kəˌnɪk/[2] (Thank goodness, once again, for internet sound and computer speakers.)

It would be interesting, I think, to hear it pronounced by someone seeing it for the first time.

Anyway, it’s always been one of my favorite words.

That’s all. I’ve been watching old episodes of “Alone” and heard it last night for the first time in many years.

This one is the closest to my own pronunciation, although it’s still a tad too heavy on the first syllable (Coloradan by way of Oklahoma).

13 thoughts on “Just sayin’

    1. Dictionary.com says it’s “a mixture of bark, dried leaves, and sometimes tobacco, formerly smoked by the Indians and pioneers in the Ohio valley.” Different sources attribute the word to different tribes, different locales.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *