Milwaukee. As far as major U.S. metropolitan markets go, Milwaukee is among the longer and more interesting city names in America. The nine letters (well, eight letters with one of them appearing twice) in Milwaukee join forces to create a word that some non-locals have difficulty spelling and that screenwriters seem to constantly use because it sounds funnier to say than, like, Kansas City or Houston. For absolutely no reason whatsoever, we thought today was a perfect day to deconstruct the city’s name and rank the individual letters in the word Milwaukee from worst to best.

9th Place — L
The letter L is perfectly fine, but lots of people here don’t even use it when they say “MAHWAUKEE” instead of Milwaukee.

8th Place — the first E
E appears twice and the second one does most of the heavy lifting in terms of pronunciation.

7th Place — U
Easily the worst vowel. You ever get stuck with a bunch of U tiles as a Scrabble game is winding down? We wouldn’t wish that shit on our worst enemy.

6th Place — I
The letter I is sometimes the second-to-worst vowel, depending if Y is being considered to be a vowel at that particular point in time. There’s both an I and a WE in Milwaukee. There’s also stuff like MILK, EMAIL, WAKE, MAKI, and on a more grim note, LEUKEMIA in the word Milwaukee.

5th Place — A
It’s the best grade you can get and the first letter in the alphabet, but we’re just going come right out and say it: A is overrated. The middle letter in the word Milwaukee deserves the middle spot on this list.

4th Place — W
Whether it—as its name would suggest—is a doubled version of U, something that appears to be two Vs smashed together, or an upside-down M, the letter W is simply an unoriginal, wannabe letter. Still, its presence is transformative in that it begins the word’s shift towards something that could only wind up as “Milwaukee.” That alone earns W a spot in the top four.

3rd Place — the second E
Sure, E appears earlier in the city’s name, but the second E leaves a lasting impression and helps Milwaukee go out on a high note. There’s no proof to support this, but we think the second E is the one you see in “MKE” and we’re willing to die on that hill.

2nd Place — K
K is a terrible letter when you’re in the batter’s box or when there are three of them grouped together. But K is among the strongest consonants and it adds a jagged edge to the otherwise soft, vowel-laden collection of letters in Milwaukee.

1st Place — M
M starts the word. M was on Hank Aaron’s cap for 14 seasons. M is also just a top-tier letter of the alphabet. It brings a warm, inviting sound to the lips. On its own, M (much like Milwaukee itself) offers ample possibility and growth potential to begin an almost endless number of words. You might disagree, but for our money, M is the best letter in the word Milwaukee and that’s that.

About The Author

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Co-Founder and Editor

Before co-founding Milwaukee Record, Tyler Maas wrote for virtually every Milwaukee publication (except Wassup! Magazine). He lives in Bay View and enjoys both stuff and things.