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Questions tagged [toponyms]

Toponyms are names of places.

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Etymology of Mecca

Most dictionaries just list it as "from Arabic", with the better ones providing the script مكة or a transcription showing that it's actually pronounced Makkah in classical and modern ...
lly's user avatar
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7 votes
3 answers
768 views

Can someone explain the geographical name "Switch"?

It generally used as a town name such as "Lyons Switch, OK" or "Bridges Switch, CO". I've seen it used many times over the years and never gave it much thought but recently became ...
Sam U's user avatar
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10 votes
4 answers
2k views

Why do the words "Africa" and "Asia" not appear in the OED?

I was surprised the other day, looking for the etymology of "Africa" (to refute my friend's fantasy that the word means "not cold"), that there is no entry for "Africa" ...
Korky's user avatar
  • 109
5 votes
1 answer
11k views

What's the meaning of "this side of Albania"?

In this diary excerpt, Alan Rickman wrote: "Emma [Watson]’s diction is this side of Albania at times." I understand the general meaning of the idiom (What is the meaning of the phrase "...
Libavi's user avatar
  • 153
1 vote
0 answers
118 views

Did the English place name "Frome" used to be pronounced as it is spelled?

The English town Frome is famously pronounced as "froom". The following is two stanzas from the dedication of G.K. Chesterton's poem Ballad of the White Horse, from 1911. Up through an ...
Se F's user avatar
  • 11
7 votes
2 answers
566 views

What is a How (placename)?

In a 1907 translation of Icelandic mythology I came across a reference to a place called "Svarin's How". This reminded me of Aslan's How in the Narnia books, a specific place name for a sort ...
jla's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
154 views

What is the etymology of the name of the River Cherwell in England? [closed]

The River Cherwell is the second largest tributary of the Thames after the River Kennet. What is the etymology of its name? I could not find any etymology after checking several websites.
Galactic's user avatar
  • 133
6 votes
2 answers
329 views

How did English come to use a variation of the Polish spelling for Czechoslovakia?

In English, and a few languages influenced by English (e.g. Malay, Samoan, Yoruba), the name of the former European country is spelled "Czechoslovakia". That isn't how it is spelled in other ...
Ray Butterworth's user avatar
-2 votes
1 answer
69 views

When and why did English change Affrick and Asie to Africa and Asia? [closed]

English names for continents all end in Latin suffix -a / -ia, except Europe. Africa, America, Antarctica, Asia, Australia Since English language used to take much of its vocabulary from French during ...
Martin L's user avatar
  • 325
0 votes
1 answer
189 views

For places like "St Louis", "Mt Pleasant", and "Ft Myers", what type of words are "St", "Mt", and "Ft"? [closed]

I've noticed, while working on code to handle addresses, that many parts of street names have common abbreviations, such as "St" for "Saint", "Mt" for "Mount" ...
Chris G's user avatar
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0 answers
371 views

Word order of locations

Is there a rule in the English language that governs the order of location specificity? Once my English lecturer stated that in English locations are written from the smallest level up to the highest. ...
paul's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
101 views

Are there English toponyms that are pluralia tantum? [closed]

There are toponyms that are pluralia tantum in a few languages. What come off top of my mind are Mediterranean cities in classical languages, such as Athenae and Pompeii. A modern example I can come ...
Pteromys's user avatar
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21 votes
2 answers
3k views

Countries ending with -Y vs. -IA: What is the pattern?

I wonder why some country names in English are suffixed with -y (Lombardy, Italy, Hungary, Saxony, Sicily) and some with -ia (Bulgaria, Austria, Bavaria, Sardinia). I understand the etymology: "-...
Martin L's user avatar
  • 325
7 votes
3 answers
1k views

What is the first mention/use of the word "America" in print in an English written/translated source

I am aware of the fundamental history of the etymology of the word "America" in regards to the land it represents: how Leif Eriksson first-named the Brave New World Vinland, and afterward ...
Tom O' Bedlam's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
767 views

How is the name of the town Hingham, Massachusetts, pronounced?

In the UK, place names ending in "ham" are typically pronounced with a final /əm/. For example, Birmingham, Buckingham, Clapham, Sandringham and Tottenham. (I haven't been able to find any ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
150 views

Why do 120 or so geographical region names end in a and ia?

The web contains lengthy lists one with about 120 names of major geographical regions that end in a and ia. Is there any merit to the idea that this might go back to the Hebrew words raqa and raqia? (...
Bob Enyart's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
3k views

What are the proper names of movie theatre quarters (rooms)

How to correctly call lobby of a movie theatre where people are waiting? How to correctly call the room where people watch the movie?
Alexander Zhak's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
1k views

Adding -s to French city names

This seems to be fairly common pattern. The modern English names of several French or French-related cities seem to add s for no obvious reason. Marseille > Marseilles Lyon > Lyons Tanger > ...
lly's user avatar
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12 votes
3 answers
1k views

“Shaw” → “Shavian” – why “v”?

The spelling for the adjective derived from the name Shaw is Shavian and not Shawian. Similarly you can find Arrow → Arrovian and Harrow → Harrovian. This strikes me as odd. First of all, I accept ...
Wrzlprmft's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
187 views

River's Name as an Adjective

Is there any rule that describes the cases when one can use a river's name as an adjective and when it should be with the -ian suffix? There is the so-called Danubian corridor, but it's the Danube ...
user avatar
1 vote
3 answers
5k views

What is the purpose of changing "Nürnberg" to "Nuremberg" in English language?

For the longest time ever I assumed these are two different places and was very confused about never knowing where Nuremberg is. Recently I found out that Nuremberg is the English form for Nürnberg. ...
Nomenator's user avatar
  • 121
2 votes
2 answers
986 views

What is the term used for a place name that represents something other than the place itself? [duplicate]

There is a special term for when a place name is representative of something other than the actual place itself but I can't remember what it is. For example: 'Brussels' may be used to refer to the ...
superato's user avatar
  • 358
0 votes
1 answer
1k views

Is there a name for a building that produces potions?

A few friends and I are developing a game that involves producing potions, however we're finding it hard to think of the name for a building suited to producing potions specifically. Some names we ...
3lliot's user avatar
  • 103
0 votes
0 answers
36 views

Why is it common to say "The Ukraine"? [duplicate]

As far as I am aware no other countried are used an article before them, but people usually refer to Ukraine as "The Ukraine". Why?
SuperCiocia's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
3k views

Capitalization of multi-word geographical feature (river basin)

I understand the stylistic rules for capitalizing the word "river" in a place name, but I can't seem to find any consistent guidelines on whether to capitalize the word "basin" when it follows an ...
Maria McDonald's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
90 views

"The Garvaghy/Ormeau/Falls/Crumlin Road": The in NI road "names"

In the UK, we often hear of roads in Northern Ireland being called "The X Road" in the news. This isn't common usage in Great Britain. I can think of five reasons why this may be common usage, but ...
Dan Sheppard's user avatar
16 votes
4 answers
7k views

Origin of "-le-" article in English placenames such as Newton-le-Willows, Bolton-le-Sands, Houghton-le-Spring?

Newton-le-Willows is a town in Merseyside. Bolton-le-Sands is a village in Lancashire. Houghton-le-Spring is a town in Tyne and Wear. There are probably other placenames with -le- in the middle. ...
gerrit's user avatar
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9 votes
2 answers
4k views

Was the -s in Athens originally the plural -s?

In Greek and Latin, some cities, like Athens and Thebes, are pluralia tantum, that is, they are always plural. In English, on the other hand, both names are singular, at least in modern English. It ...
Cerberus - Reinstate Monica's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
310 views

Usage of English variants of foreign place names (Regensburg - Ratisbon)

Many place names have different form/spelling in English and in the original language of the country, in which they lie, e.g. Lyons x Lyon, The Hague x Den Haag, Munich x München. Most of them are ...
fox's user avatar
  • 63
1 vote
2 answers
2k views

Word for the name part of a country name

EDIT: I am obviously not being clear. I am not looking for a word for the common or familiar name. I am looking at how to describe the portion of the formal name that does not describe the system of ...
Unrelated's user avatar
  • 4,933
0 votes
2 answers
435 views

Winston-Salem metropolitan area, or Winston-Salem Metropolitan Area? [closed]

Or Winston-Salem Metropolitan area? Which one of the three are the correct form? Also if I add state names in metropolitan areas, should I add it after the city name or should I add it after (M)...
Dylan Czenski's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
971 views

Is there a name for a place where chains are made?

I know that a factory that makes ropes is a ropery, but neither 'chainery' nor 'chainworks' seem to actually be real (or at least popular) terms for a place that produces chains. I hunted around a bit ...
Augusta's user avatar
  • 225
2 votes
2 answers
458 views

Pedestrianised or Pedestrian Zone?

I've recently encountered the term "Pedestrianised Zone" (as part of the name of a pedestrian zone, as in "X Street Pedestrianised Zone") and thought there's something weird/grammatically wrong about ...
howardck's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
135 views

What is the proper spoken form to describe a town referring only to the urbanized area and not the whole municipality?

In American English, where “town” is the actual legal name of a place, as I understand, the name is “Town of”, followed by its proper name. In my native Italian, the equivalent “Comune di” it means ...
SophieV's user avatar
  • 23
0 votes
1 answer
145 views

Placement of dependent clauses in a sentence in scientific writing

I would like to present the following two variations of the same sentence: Thus, alternative treatments have been developed, such as radiation or demineralization, which overcome these ...
Pete 's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
6k views

Is it grammatically correct to use "at" twice in a sentence, referring to a time and a place? [closed]

For instance, over email I often write something along the lines of the following: I'll arrive at 221B Baker Street at 11:45 PM. Is this grammatically correct? Can any improvements be made from a ...
splicer's user avatar
  • 334
7 votes
3 answers
6k views

Why is "Thailand" spelled with an 'h'?

As we all know, "Thailand" is not pronounced with a /θ/ — so why is it spelled that way? Is the 'h' vestigial? Does it represent some subtle phoneme in the Thai language, and if so, what is that ...
200_success's user avatar
  • 6,998
1 vote
0 answers
41 views

Use of definite article with toponyms [duplicate]

Why do we now say 'Ukraine' and no longer 'the Ukraine'?
B. Scholl's user avatar
  • 111
1 vote
1 answer
435 views

Is anything/all that replaces the name of a place supposed to be capitalized?

In my case, I want to know whether both words or either word of "The Badlands" should be capitalized. "The Badlands" is specifically what people use now instead of the real name for a place. -We live ...
snowleopard's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
690 views

Etymology of "Wincolmlee"

In my travels around northern England I have found myself in Wincolmlee in the fair city of Kingston-upon-Hull, and also near Wincomblee in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. These places are both on the riverside ...
Brian Hooper's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
331 views

Nature words ending in -land

What do you call nature words ending in -land? For example, moorland, wetland, marshland, woodland...You get the picture. Is there a name for such things? And is there one for a place that is ...
Charlotte's user avatar
34 votes
15 answers
44k views

What is "a room a company provides for eating food" called?

Companies provide a room which has tables and chairs. In some companies, the room may have other things such as refrigerators and microwaves. I have been calling this place pantry, but I noticed that ...
Arman Fatahi's user avatar
4 votes
5 answers
11k views

Why did Servia become Serbia?

Reading contemporary histories of the First World War, I noticed that at the start the nation in the Balkans is referred to as Servia, but in numbers published after the back half of 1916, it has ...
Brian Hooper's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
1k views

In place names, do the words qualifying the place act as an adjective?

If you have a place name such as “The Sierra Nevada Mountains”, does Sierra Nevada act as an adjective? My guess is yes, since they qualify the noun mountains, e.g.: “Which mountains? The Sierra ...
Claudiu's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
751 views

When did 'street', 'road', etc. start being capitalised?

Old newspapers and books seem to very rarely capitalise (and often hyphenate) phrases like "High street", "Herbert-road", and "Trusting lane". These days, we capitalise "Street", "Road", and "Lane". ...
Sam Wilson's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
4k views

Proper ways to refer to New York City [closed]

Excluding the myriad nicknames of the city, I've seen it called both "New York City" and "New York" in contexts where it was not ambiguous that the city, and not the state, was being referred to. I ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 181
2 votes
1 answer
14k views

Why do we use the article "the" with the Matterhorn (a mountain)?

The rule is that we don't use an article before the name of an individual mountain, only with the name of a mountain range. So why do we say "the Matterhorn" (a mountain in the Pennine Alps)?
Hanna Chernenko's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
13k views

United Kingdom's three-name-cities; is there a generic way to write them?

There are city names in the United Kingdom like "Stratford-upon-Avon" or "Newcastle upon Tyne". Then, I wonder: is there any general rule on how they should be written? Case: In general, I see the ...
fedorqui's user avatar
  • 1,255
1 vote
1 answer
2k views

Meaning of "up" and "off" in "I live up north off some_region"

I am only familiar with sentences like I live in New York I live on the north side of New York I guess I live up north off some_region. means the place I live in is a little bit ...
user1849133's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
48k views

"The Netherlands are" vs "The Netherlands is" [duplicate]

When speaking about The Netherlands as a country, should it be considered as a plural or singular word? Examples: The Netherlands is a country. The Netherlands are famous for cheese and windmills. ...
Lee White's user avatar
  • 151