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The word Ozark can refer to the large region of north and central Arkansas,

as well as the mountains and a town. Scholars have identified at least six

possible origins for the word with advocates for each. The uncertainty is

owing to the fact that Ozark has been in use for over three centuries. There

is wide agreement that the ‘o’ sound is from the French word aux, meaning

“to the,” which is pronounced “oh,” and “oze” when followed by a vowel.

Some say that ‘ark’ is from the French word for bow, either a hunting bow or

the bow of a river. But most agree that this refers to the name Arkansas,

either the Indigenous people, or the state itself, so that the word is an

abbreviation of aux Arkansas. Whatever the origin, Ozark is a significant

word for our state, and historian Blake Blevins is doing much to describe and

celebrate its importance.

Daniel Boice, University of Arkansas at Monticello