Adirondack Mountains - Naming, Spelling, and Pronunciation

Naming, Spelling, and Pronunciation

The mountains were given the name "Adirondacks" in 1838 by Ebenezer Emmons; the name is sometimes spelled "Adirondaks", without a "c". Some of the place names in the vicinity of Lake Placid have peculiar phonetic spellings attributed to Melvil Dewey, who was a principal influence in developing that town and the Lake Placid Club. The Adirondak Loj (pronounced "lodge"), a popular hostel and trailhead run by the Adirondack Mountain Club in the high peaks region, is one example. The word carries stress on the third syllable: /ædɨˈrɒndæks/.

The name "Adirondacks" is an Anglicized version of the Mohawk ratirontaks, meaning "they eat trees", a derogatory name which the Mohawk historically applied to neighboring Algonquian-speaking tribes; when food was scarce, the Algonquians would eat the buds and bark of trees. By 1634, the word was being used by the Mohawks, when speaking among the Dutch, to refer to French and English. The Dutch transliterated the word Aderondackx at that time.

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