A Collection of Word Oddities and Trivia, Page 20

Last revision: May 27, 2019


This list consists of widely-used words which are derived from names of places, but not obviously so. Charles Turner and James Landau contributed to this page.

AIREDALEAiredale, valley of the Aire River, England
AKITAAkita, Japan
ANGORAAngora, now called Ankara, Turkey
ARMAGEDDONperhaps from Megiddo, Palestine
ASCOTAscot Heath, a racetrack near Ascot, England
BALACLAVABalaclava, Crimea
BAYONETBayonne, France
BEDLAMfor Bedlam, the popular name for the Hospital of St. Mary of Bethlehem
in London, an insane asylum
BIBLEByblos, ancient Phoenician city from which papyrus was exported
BIKINIBikini Atoll of the Marshall Islands
BOLOGNABologna, Italy
CALICOCalicut, a city in the state of Kerala in India
CANARYCanary Islands
CANTALOUPECantalupo, Italy
CASHMERECashmere, region of India
CHAMPAGNEChampagne, France
CHANTILLY LACEChantilly, France
CHARLESTONCharleston, S. C.
CHEDDAR CHEESECheddar, Somersetshire, England
CHIHUAHUAChihuahua, a state in Mexico
COACHKocs, Hungary
CONESTOGAConestoga, Pennsylvania
COPPER(see note below)
CORDOVANCórdoba, Spain
DAIQUIRIDaiquirí, Cuba
DALMATIANDalmatia, a region in the western Balkan Peninsula
DENIMNīmes, France
DOLLARJoachimsthal (now Jáchymov), Bohemia, where a coin minted was called a thaler
DUFFEL BAGDuffel, Belgium
DUMDUMDum Dum, near Calcutta, India
DUNGAREE(see note below)
EBOLA VIRUSEbola River, Zaire
FEZFez, Morocco
FIG NEWTONNewton, Massachusetts
FRANKFURTERFrankfurt am Main, Germany
HAMBURGERHamburg, Germany
INDIGOultimately for India
JALAPENOJalapa, Mexico
JEANSGenoa, Italy
JURASSICJura mountain range
LANDAULandau, Bavaria, Germany
LESBIANLesbos, island in Greece
LIMBURGER (CHEESE)Limburg, Belgium
LIMERICKLimerick, Ireland
LIMOUSINELimousin, France
LYME DISEASELyme, Connecticut
MADRASMadras, India
MAGENTAMagenta, Italy
MANX CATIsle of Man
MARATHONMarathon, Greece
MAYONNAISEMahón, seaport of Minorca, perhaps
MEANDERultimately, Maiandros (now Menderes) River in Turkey
MILLINERMilan, Italy
MOCHAMocha, Yemen
PAISLEYPaisley, Scotland
PEACHPersia (ultimately)
PHEASANTPhasis River in the country of Georgia
PILSNERPilsen, Czech Republic
ROTTWEILERRottweil, Germany
QUONSET HUTQuonset Point, Rhode Island
RUGBYRugby School, Rugby, England
SATINZaytun, seaport in China during the Middle Ages, probably
SCALLIONAshkelon, Palestine
SERENDIPITYSerendip, an od name for Sri Lanka
SHERRYXeres (Now Jerez), Spain
SODOMYSodom, Palestine
SOLECISMSoloi, city in ancient Cilicia where a substandard form of Attic was spoken
SPASpa, Belgium
SOLFERINOSolferino, Italy
STRONTIUMStrontian, village in Scotland
TANGERINETangier, Morocco
TARANTULATaranto, Italy
TURQUOISETurkey (actually, “Turkish”)
TUXEDOTuxedo Park, New York
VAUDEVILLEvalley of Vire, town in France
WIENERVienna, Austria
YTTRIUMYtterby, Sweden (the elements Erbium, Terbium, and Ytterbium are also named for this village)

Copper. According to MWCD11, the word comes from Cyprus. However, the Wikipedi article about Cyprus says that one theory of the origin of the name of the country is from the word copper.

Dungaree. Several dictionaries say this word comes from Dungri, a district of Mumbai, although most dictionaries seem not to give this.

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