Growing up in eastern Iowa, I grew up pronouncing it as "Ant", like the insect. However, after living in Minnesota for eight years of my life, the tables turned. I can say they feel very strongly that it's pronounced "Awnt", rhyming with the words "font", or "taunt". So, when I moved to South Dakota, I was curious, "How does the Mount Rushmore State pronounce Aunt, anyway?"

I decided to do an unscientific poll around the station this week and the results were about 50/50. Does that mean South Dakotans are split on the debate? According to numerous studies, it seems they are. In this one study, much of South Dakota, along with North Dakota and Minnesota are fairly split on how to pronounce the word. Whereas the rest of the country is more defined.

In the New England states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Maine seem to be firmly in the "Awnt" camp. The rest of the United States, for the most part, pronounces it "ant".

If you look up the pronunciation on dictionary.com, they seem to be playing both sides, as both pronunciations are included. Google, however, is team "ant".

So is the debate settled? Not even close. The truth is, it's one of those either-or words that you can pronounce both ways, although people rarely do. I, myself, will be team "ant" for life.

Check out these interesting maps to see where the country sits on other words, like caramel, or carmel? Or the age-old debate of soda, pop, or coke? And how do you pronounce pecan? Is it "pee-CAN", or "pee-KAHN"?

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