Several trade products, especially food, have been named after their places of origin throughout the centuries. To mention just a few,

  • champagne, after Champagne, France.
  • calico, after Calicut, India
  • cashmere, after Kashmir, India/Pakistan
  • port, after Oporto, Portugal
  • muslin, after Mosul, Iraq
  • alsatian (a German shephard) after Alsace, France
  • china (tableware), after China
  • canary, Canary Islands
  • spa, after Spa, Belgium

Is there, in linguistics, a phrase or term for naming something after its place of origin?

Edit - Re Tim's answer, although most of them are trade products, the term I'm looking for also includes animals, behaviors, recipes, etc.

  • 2
    Ah, and let's not forget "frankfurter" and "hamburger"!
    – Hot Licks
    Commented May 17, 2015 at 14:20
  • The word for something named after a person in particular is 'eponymous'. However, I am aware this isn't as broad a definition as you are asking for.
    – Resquiens
    Commented May 17, 2015 at 14:29
  • 1
    So, do you want to include things named after a place even if that's not the origin of whatever that thing is?
    – mattdm
    Commented May 17, 2015 at 15:37
  • @mattdm humm, I'd better remove "lesbian".
    – Centaurus
    Commented May 17, 2015 at 17:01
  • 1
    I think "lesbian" could be included with a different phrasing of the question (not restricting to food/products) Commented May 18, 2015 at 0:13

3 Answers 3


I think the word you are looking for is toponym. I also think that a list of 'trade products' that includes lesbian needs work (unless your supermarkets are markedly different from ours).

  • 1
    Tim, please see edit.
    – Centaurus
    Commented May 17, 2015 at 14:46
  • @Resquiens: I couldn't resist looking into that one! Having discovered from Wikipedia that olive oil is the main source of income for the island, I searched Google Books for lesbian olive oil. The only written instance I found there obviously meant for female homosexuals, rather than from Lesbos. OED tells me there's such a thing as a lesbian rule (bendy, made of lead so it can measure round corners), but I never heard of that before. Commented May 17, 2015 at 15:09
  • 5
    Although it seems like this might be the right word, I don't think it is. Toponym just means any place name.
    – mattdm
    Commented May 17, 2015 at 15:41
  • @FumbleFingers: So lesbians use special olive oil? This is going to keep me awake tonight..... This is reminding me of playground jokes of 55 years ago: how do you make a Venetian blind? Poke him in the eye. How do you make a Swiss roll? Push him down the mountainside.
    – David Pugh
    Commented May 17, 2015 at 15:46
  • 1
    Toponym is correct, thanks to its extended meaning. It refers to either a place name or a word derived from a place name. Another interesting term is epotoponym which is a place name that constitutes the basis or origin of a common noun. For example, the region Champagne is an epotoponym.
    – ermanen
    Commented May 17, 2015 at 16:34

While this is the "English Language & Usage" part of stackexchange your answer mentions "in linguistics". There is also an internationally recognized legal term that protects these names to indicate authenticity, the French "Appellation d'origine contrôlée". Roquefort cheese, Cognac, Porto, Lambic beers, and others benefit from this protection. In many countries the abbreviation "AOC" is more widely used as and there are direct and loose translations in the English, Spanish and Italian languages. Wikipedia has more about this here.


Geographical Indication: is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.

The sign must identify the product as originating in a given place.


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