How do you pronounce Marylebone?

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It’s a question that the Marylebone London team get tweeted regularly, so here is our take on how to pronounce ‘Marylebone’!

First, a quick bit of history: the name Marylebone comes from a church that was dedicated to St Mary – named St Mary-by-the-Tyburn, the Tyburn being a stream that once ran from Hampstead down through Marylebone, through St James’ Park and joined the River Thames.

In the thirteenth century when the language of the aristocracy was French, St-Mary-by-the-Tyburn would have been St-Mary-a-le-Bourne (‘bourne’ being the French for a small stream) and from this we arrive at the word ‘Marylebone’ as we know it today.

Based on this etymology and a progression of phonetics, the correct way of pronouncing ‘Marylebone’ is widely considered to be ‘Marry-leh-bon’ – although in reality this is rarely heard.

Also heard is a variation of the above with the ending ‘bone’, as opposed to ‘bon’. Most commonly today people are heard pronouncing Marylebone as ‘Marly-bone’.

In summary:

The correct way of pronouncing ‘Marylebone’ is technically ‘Marry-le-bon’.

Also often heard are:

Marley-bone (Mar-lee-bone)
Mar-le-bon
Marry-le-bone

How do you pronounce it? Tweet us at @MaryleboneLon!


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About Author

Alex is the founder of digital agency 93digital, the publisher of Marylebone Online.

  • D I

    “when the language of the aristocracy was French, St-Mary-by-the-Tyburn would have been St-Mary-a-le-Bourne:

    In French you never say ‘a le’ it’s ‘au’ (unless of course Old French had a different rule).