What words/phrases have you heard growing up that mean a small or remote town?

I'm not a native speaker, so I haven't heard much. I've only seen the word 'whistle-stop' in a dictionary once, where it was marked as North American. Is there a British/Canadian/Australian etc. analogy for this?

  • 1
    There are rare words like townlet, villaget, boroughlet, townling, townette.
    – 0..
    Jan 22 '18 at 19:09
  • 1
    Of possibly related interest: common name for small villages
    – choster
    Jan 22 '18 at 20:46
  • A whistle stop implies a small town on a railway line, although the railway connotation of it is gradually dying as rail lines become less important. Back in the early days of rail travel, trains stopped at most small towns along their route. You certainly hear it in Canadian English (and presumably US English too) - it's not supper common but it's fairly well understood. Jan 22 '18 at 20:50

I would suggest 'hamlet' or 'village'as being appropriate.

The Wikipedia entry for 'Settlement Hierarchy' gives the relative sizes of various settlements and their designations.

It lists 'hamlet' as :

a hamlet has a tiny population (<100) and very few (if any) services, and few buildings.

and 'village' as :

a village is a human settlement or community that is larger than a hamlet but, smaller than a town. A village generally does not have many services, most likely a church or only a small shop or post office. The population of a village varies however, the average population can range from hundreds to thousands.

[Note :This settlement hierarchy is adapted from the work of Konstantinos Apostolos Doxiadis for the actual current world situation as of 2010.]

Wikipedia - Settlement Hierarchy

The words 'town' 'village' and 'hamlet' are commonly used to describe settlements throughout the world.

Landscapes of Settlement: Prehistory to the Present

  • 1
    I think hamlet is getting a bit dated these days (especially when nearly everyone has moved from small population centres to bigger and more wealthy cities). I'd just go with [small] village. Incidentally, I don't think I've ever heard hamlet used of a village in Africa, no matter how tiny. In my mind it's primarily associated with the more rural past of centuries ago. Jan 22 '18 at 18:19
  • @FumbleFingers We still use the word in our neck of the woods - south west England, but then we are quite countrified out here.
    – Nigel J
    Jan 22 '18 at 19:24
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    This answer (village / hamlet) hardly increases the credibility of a site aimed at linguists. I'd expect a 14-year-old to know these. Jan 22 '18 at 23:59
  • @EdwinAshworth I was interested to find the Wikipedia Settlement Hierarchy which was something new to me, as was the word 'ecumenopolis'.
    – Nigel J
    Jan 23 '18 at 0:06

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