pronunciation of Pall Mall (cigarettes)


Senior Member

I was very surprised to hear on a TV game show last night that Pall Mall, the street in London, is actually pronounced /ˌpæl ˈmæl/ rather than /pawl mawl]. I see that even shopping mall is pronounced [shopping mæl] in BrE sometimes. Is that true??

Also, how do you pronounce (in BrE) Pall Mall when referring to the cigarettes of this name?

Thank you,

Baffled me
Last edited:
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    It's /mæl/ for Pall Mall and the neighbouring street The Mall. Presumably Pall Mall cigarettes would always be given this same pronunciation. For me, the common noun is /mɔ:l/, as in 'pedestrian mall', and when reading AmE 'shopping mall', but I can imagine someone saying /mæl/ for that too.


    Senior Member
    That makes more sense, not to use this /mæl/ pronunciation in shopping mall. I am still wondering about the Pall Mall cigarettes though. I never heard anyone say /ˌpæl ˈmæl/. Not that that means anything, of course, given that the speakers have all been Romanian ;-)


    Senior Member
    English - US and Canada
    It has been a long time since I heard anyone say the name of Pall Mall cigarettes, but I think the name was pronounced to rhyme with "fall".


    Senior Member
    English English
    The street: /ˈpæl ˈmæl/. The ciggies: /ˈpæl ˈmæl/. The common noun: /ˈʃɒpɪŋ ˈsentə/ [or /ˈmæl/ if I've got a gun to my head].


    Senior Member
    USA English
    It has been a long time since I heard anyone say the name of Pall Mall cigarettes, but I think the name was pronounced to rhyme with "fall".

    It was, indeed. :thumbsup:

    I believe you can find some videos of the old ('50s-'60s) commercials on the Internet. The slogan was "Outstanding - and they are mild."


    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    The OP's question was for BrE speakers. Posts 2 and 5 support the BrE version of the cat/pal vowels. The brand was originally named after the London street so that would also support the short a.
    From wiki
    The Pall Mall brand was introduced in 1899 by the Butler & Butler Company (UK) in an attempt to cater to the upper class with the first "premium" cigarette. It is named after Pall Mall, a well-known street in London.


    Senior Member
    English UK
    Are Paul and pall have same pronounciation?

    Thank you.
    If you're asking about the "pall" in Pall Mall, the answer is given in the previous posts in this thread, jacdac.

    But perhaps you're asking about a different "pall", unrelated to this thread?


    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Indeed, Samuel Pepys wrote of the game as Pelemele (Diary 2nd April 1661) and the road as Pell Mell (Diary 1st May 1669). (The game is a mallet and ball game played, obviously, at Pall Mall in the 17th century!)
    So I into St. James’s Park, where I saw the Duke of York playing at Pelemele, the first time that ever I saw the sport.
    Diary entries from April 1661 (The Diary of Samuel Pepys)
    she then expected to meet Sheres, which we did in the Pell Mell, and, against my will, I was forced to take him into the coach
    Diary entries from May 1669 (The Diary of Samuel Pepys)


    Senior Member
    English - England
    I take it pall rhymes with fall which in turn rhymes with paul.
    No. As has been said, it depends on the meaning.
    The pronunciation of the proper noun "Pall" in BE is usually different from pall the verb and common noun,
    The pronunciation of the vowel sound of the proper noun Mall copies whatever the speaker uses in Pall,
    The common noun mall (a shopping centre) may differ depending on the speaker's form of English.

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    To complete the set, there's also:
    pell-mell, meaning helter-skelter, all in a rush, hastily and carelessly.
    Pall Mall pronounced /pel mel/, retaining the etymology (see #15, first quote) or /pɔ:l mɔ:l/ as an upper-class affectation, long after everyone else had called it /pæl ˈmæl/
    pall as a noun (= coffin drape)
    pall as a verb (= fade in impact)​
    ...these last two pronounced /pɔ:l/ to rhyme with Paul.