Unlocking the Mystery: Why Chicagoans Say ‘Jewels’ Instead of ‘Jewel

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Have you ever wondered why Chicagoans insist on saying “Jewels” instead of “Jewel” when referring to the popular grocery store chain? It’s a linguistic quirk that has puzzled many, and the answer lies in the city’s unique dialect and cultural history.

Although the correct name of the store is “Jewel” — derived from the Jewel Tea Company founded in 1899 — locals often add an extra “s” to the name. This linguistic phenomenon extends beyond Jewel and is commonly observed with other grocery chains like Kroger, Aldi, and Meijer.

Marketplace attributes this linguistic habit to the tradition of naming businesses after their founders. Over time, shoppers have developed a tendency to associate businesses with individual owners, leading them to use the possessive form, even when grammatically incorrect.

Interestingly, Jewel seems to embrace this unique pronunciation. In a 2022 social media post, the grocery chain acknowledged the “Jewels” moniker, affirming its status as a cultural icon in the hearts of Chicagoans. Additionally, Jewel-Osco has occasionally incorporated the “s” into its promotional materials, further solidifying its acceptance within the local lexicon.

So, next time you hear someone say “Jewels” instead of “Jewel,” remember that it’s not just about the name of a grocery store; it’s a reflection of Chicago’s rich linguistic heritage and the enduring bond between its residents and their beloved businesses.

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