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Newcomers Guide: It's Dairy-EN

Last Updated 2015

First Things First: It’s “Dairy-EN”

So there’s a great deal of cool information about the history of Darien, the sections of town, etc. available here on Wikipedia.

But what this article got wrong is the correct way to pronounce “Darien.” (You know you’re curious!)

The way to pronounce Darien is “dairy-EN,” emphasis on the second syllable.

Yes, your friends and family from other areas of the state/country may tease you about this, jutting their lower jaw out and saying “Dairy-EHHHN” in a very exaggerated way, as if we residents enjoy our own, special, affected way of pronouncing the name of our town.

Although there might be the teensiest bit of truth in that — for some of us, anyway — we will share an interesting piece of historical knowledge that offers a reasonable alternative to this.

If you are interested in the true origin of the name “Darien” (dating back to 1510 and the first city founded by Spanish conquistadors in Colombia and then involving Scottish colonization efforts in the late 1600s)  you should stop in to The Darien Toy Box and ask owner and history buff Bill Jensen.  He has done a lot of research on the topic and can provide full-color context for the whole story.  Also, he is a terrific guy worth meeting and his store offers a very cool, personalized and curated selection of toys.

According to the Darien Historical Society, the name “Darien” was suggested by a sailor who had traveled to Darién, Panama.  Darién was the Spanish adaptation of the word “Tarena,” meaning “river” according to the language of the indigenous people inhabiting Panama when it was first conquered by the Spanish in 1510. It seemed fitting to the residents of the former Middlesex Parish to name a coastal area like our town after water, and the name Darien was adopted.

  • Spanish pronunciation of Darién: “Dah-rien.”
  • Americanized adoption of pronunciation: “Dar-i-en.”

In both cases, the emphasis of the pronunciation is on the end of the word.

We welcome you to Dairy-en. Now let’s get you moved in to your new home.

Next: New Home Nuts & Bolts

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