Fun Facts: Place Names
"How can you be in two places at once when you're not anywhere at all?"
Bangkok, the name of the capital city of Thailand, means "wild
The official name for Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, is Krung Thep Maha
Nakhon, which is an abbreviation of its ceremonial name, "Krung Thep Mahanakon
Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani
Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya
Webster Lake, in Webster, Massachusetts, in the United States, is
also known as Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg.
The name is an Indian word for a neutral place for fishing near a boundary.
The oldest river in the Western Hemisphere is called, curiously
enough, the New River. It is located in West Virginia.
The longest place name in the world is the name of a hill in New Zealand,
which means "the place where Tamateakokai-whenua—the man with the big knees who slid,
climbed, and swallowed mountains, known as land eater—played his flute to his loved one."
The Canary Islands got their name not from canaries but
from the wild dogs that the Romans found when they landed there.
They called the island Insulae Canariae, which means "Island
of the Dogs."
What we now call Iran has, in the past, been called Persia, Parthia,
or Media, depending on the ethnic group ruling it.
The word "spa" comes from the Belgian town of Spa, in the Ardennes, whose
mineral springs and baths were popular among the wealthy starting in the
The names of Minnesota and Winnipeg have the same meaning. Minnesota
means "murky water" in Sioux, and Winnipeg means "murky water" in Cree.
"Idaho", the name of one of the states in the United States of America,
doesn't mean anything in any language.
Eight states in the United States are named after Indian tribes:
Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Utah.
In the nineteenth century, there was a place in France whose name
had no vowels: the hamlet of Ws, near Paris.
There is a pond called Sought For Pond, in Westford, Massachusetts.
There are townships in Ontario named after Protestant reformers
Luther and Melanchthon. They were named by a Catholic surveyer, who
wanted to encourage Protestant settlement into these swampy, nearly
The American capital of Washington, D.C. is the only major world capital named after a non-legendary founder of the nation.
The words canteloupe, cashmere, champagne, cherry, coach, cologne,
copper, and currants are derived from place names. There are many other
words derived from place names that
start with the other 25 letters of the alphabet as well.
There are seven two-letter place names in Kentucky, including Ed,
Uz, Oz, Ep, and Or.
Some other unusual place names in the United States are
Toad Suck, Arkansas,
Sleeping Giant, Connecticut,
Coffee Pot Rapids, Idaho,
Young America, Indiana,
Monkey's Eyebrow, Kentucky,
River Styx, Ohio,
Looneyville, West Virginia,
and Dull Center, Wyoming.
The longest place name in the United Kingdom is
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, a village
of around 3,000 people in Wales on the island of Anglesey.