pecan clusters in Texas

What does pecan mean?

Pecan Research

What does pecan mean? 

 The word pecan originated in the 16th century, around 1712 from the North American language known as Algonquian. This word was used to illustrate a “nut that needs a stone to crack it.”  Iterations of the word pecan grew between Native Tribes as well as when the Spanish and French explored North America. They borrowed from the Algonquian language and spelled it “pacane or pacana.” 

 Pecan is also pronounced in different ways depending on what part of the country you are in. When breaking down the etymology, here are the various ways the word has been pronounced. 


 “PEE-kahn” - The emphasis is on the first syllable with a long “ee” sound. The second half uses a soft “con” sound. 

  • “pee-KAHN” - The first half is a softer double-e and has more stress on the second syllable.
  • “PEE-can” - the emphasis is on the first syllable with the second part pronounced the same way you would say “can.” For instance, “a can of “PEE-cans.” 
  • “pick-AHN” - the first syllable has a short -e- and is pronounced like the word “pick.” The second syllable begins with the vowel and sounds like “on.” 
  • “puh-KAHN’ - the first part is a soft “uh” as opposed to a distinct “e/ee” sound. There is more emphasis on the second syllable. 

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