Sally M (sallymn) wrote in 1word1day,
Sally M

Sunday Word: Toponym, toponymy

toponym [top-uh-nim]

1 placename (back-formation from toponymy)
2 name derived from the name of a place

toponymy [tuh-pon-uh-mee]

the place-names of a region or language or especially the etymological study of them


The 85 character toponym translates literally to 'the summit where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the slider, climber of mountains, the land-swallower who travelled about, played his nose flute to his loved one.' (The Longest Place Name In The World, Atlas Obscura, May 2016)

This toponym, which translates as 'Dog Feces Pit', is attached to a remote corner of Kaohsiung’s Neimen District. No one lives there, although there’s a cluster of households about 1.5km away. Between Goushihkeng's hillocks and creeks, farmers grow bananas and bamboo. (Steven Crook, Highways & Byways: Northern Kaohsiung: more than just a 'dog feces pit', Taipei Times, October 2021)

Yet there is a small, scattered number of toponyms that delight us by their unvarnished expression of downheartedness, defeat and despond. (Frank Jacobs, The Joy of Sad Place Names, Big Think, October 2015)

From Curly Dick Road to Dark Corner, Duckmaloi to Gulargambone, central and western NSW is a treasure trove of toponymy, or the study of place name meanings. (Melanie Pearce, Curious Central West: Place name origins unravelled from Curly Dick Road to Dark Corner, ABC Central West, December 2017)


Toponym, 'place name,' 1939 from Greek topos 'place' (see topos) + -onym 'name' (from PIE root no-men- 'name'). Toponymy, 'study of place names' is from 1876. (Online Etymology Dictionary)

Tags: greek, noun, t, wordsmith: sallymn

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