Garand Pronunciation

The typical American pronunciation of Garand is something like “GUH-rand”. In an ongoing futile but worthwhile effort to pronounce names correctly, I have long used a different pronunciation. Well, my friend Michael Carrick from Arms Heritage Magazine sent me this clipping from American Rifleman 74 years ago that is pretty definitive, being correspondence from John C. Garand himself:

Garand Pronunciation
Originally published September 1943, in American Rifleman

Thanks, Michael!


  1. I recall hearing how “Garand rhymes with parent, sort of” as an easy way of explaining how his name should be said. I had no idea he’d sent a short note to American Rifleman during WWII! Fascinating.

  2. I say “Garand” like “gerund” but with a hard G sound…Gay-rend… In Texas, best believe that it is pronounced GUH-Rand. No one can disabuse folks that it is pronounced any other way.

    But then, the state took the Spanish word for “cowboy” *vaquero* and transmogrified it into “buckaroo”… ‘Nuff said!

  3. It’s been said the the founder of Kodak invented the name specifically so it wouldn’t likely be mis-pronounced or associated with anything else. (If only such wisdom had spread.)

    When Linux first came out, I noticed that the computer “community” doggedly insisted on a pronunciation different than what the OS’s inventer himself called it.

    Hopefully Garand was not anything like entertainer Stephen Colbert, who decided to change his family name’s pronunciation in mid-life.

  4. All my life I’ve heard it, and pronounced it, GAR-and, as in the fish named “Gar” and the conjunctive word “and”.

    I learned this from several uncles who served in the Army and Marines in WW2 and Korea, so I wasn’t about to contradict them.




  5. I am wondering and for some time actually, why someone who is of nominally American heritage should worry about proper pronunciation of foreign names? This (so called Western) world is one of Anglo-Saxon cultural domination, isn’t it?

    Then of course I do so much recognize the effort, such as Ian’s to suit to other cultures and respect their names. It surely does a grace to his name and his reputation; in my eyes anyway. It is an exception, among many who do not and would not care less.

    • Oh, did I miss the point with “Garrrrand”? 🙂

      How I read it? French, as simple as that: g-a-r-r-a-a-n. Much like n-a-g-a-a-n.

    • “Cultural domination” sounds like an idea that would give my old anthropology professor a fit. Cultural interchange is not a one-way street. While foreign cultures move more towards English or American culture, English and American cultures become more international. It seems quite normal to me for a person of a certain intelligence and interest in a world-spanning subject to care about pronouncing related names correctly.

      Ian’s also a nice guy. In some parts of this country, that still means you try to be polite. Pronouncing someone’s name correctly is part of that. I’m mildly horrified every time I think of how I mangled a Brazilian acquaintance’s name. I knew nothing about Portuguese when I met him and he was too nice, or too used to dealing with English-speakers, or possibly too jaded to correct me.

      • My actual family name is shared with a rather well-known British archeologist and anthropologist, although my branch of the family tree changed the spelling slightly at the end when they came to the Colonies.

        It’s a West Country name, old Saxon in fact, and nobody ever pronounces it correctly.

        I often find it amusing.



      • This is potentially a contentious subject, depending on particular person’s sensitivity respective to their tendency to ‘count themselves’ in or not into certain identifiable group. Cultural domination is a fact as it stands and it is supported by my up-to-so-far experience (one would have to be blind if they do not see it). Its application gets often to bizarre forms; I can tell you quite a bit about it as I can observe in my country of origin, out of many others.

        Luckily, we seem to agree that respect to other national heritages and origin ought to be given and that is good thing. It is a testimony of cultured man; I have no slightest of doubts about it.

    • “should worry about proper pronunciation of foreign names?”
      I would say: because of respect to person using it.
      Broken pronunciation (if intentional) might be sign of disdain.
      Happily, Russian designer names pronunciation don’t make big troubles.

    • “world is one of Anglo-Saxon cultural domination, isn’t it”
      I don’t understand that Saxon bit, but anyway assuming that it is true:
      Why there are BMW automobiles called BMW (
      Bayerische Motoren Werke) but not BEW (Bavarian Engines Works) and FIAT automobiles called FIAT (Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino but not IAFT (Italian Automobiles Factory, Turin) and so on?

    • “We” norteamericanos do indeed tend to Anglicize names. Nonetheless, it is always “good manners” to try to pronounce things as the person would like. Any number of examples abound, but for example the Hispanic last-name “Perez” has an accent on the first “e” so that it is “PEH-rez” not as English speakers say, “pay-REHZ.” On the other hand, a French name like W.E.B. DuBois, which in France would bee “Doo-Bwah” was Anglicized to “Doo-Boyz” and that is actually how he preferred his name to be read.

      I still marvel at how utterly different pronunciations of words can be both regionally, within the United States, and in comparison with the various locales of the UK!

  6. I have a name that is unfamiliar to lots of people (“Matisse”) so it is not uncommon when I order food at a fast-food place and they want my name to call out when ready that I tell them “Larry”

  7. Now you have me intrigued Eon. Caractacus? Cadwallader? Ed???? Obviously not Eon, and I can’t think of any archeo/anthropologists but once knew one by the name of Rahtz.

  8. Were Mr. Garand to somehow magically appear in basic training ca. 1957 or so, eight weeks later, he would be pronouncing his own name as Sgt. Lucero wanted. Neither Private Garand’s mother nor anyone else have a say in the matter. Not your mother nor (especially ) appeals to your own congressman would affect Sgt Lucero’s judgment on this matter.
    Get used to it, troop.
    Unless, of course one wished to spend their eight weeks of basic training cleaning latrines, you WOULD pronounce it “GAH-RAND!” with a marked Hispanic accent but decidedly retaining the exclamation point.l
    Welcome to lovable haphazard English.

  9. Sort of like how Camp Lejeune is pronounced, but opposite. Most Marines pronounce it lah-june, close to the French pronunciation of leh-june (with a soft j). General Lejeune and his family pronounced it leh-jern, which is the Creole/Cajun pronunciation.

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