#1 By: Maggie Koerth-Baker, December 16th, 2013 14:12
#2 By: digitalArtform, December 16th, 2013 14:19
California from 'Cali', as in 'caliente, calor' -hot in Spanish, calories, etc. and 'fornia' as in fornicate. -- California: Land of Hot Sex
#3 By: Jardine, December 16th, 2013 14:26
I think it's definitely time for a Heritage Minute
#4 By: incarnedine_v, December 16th, 2013 14:27
The reason for this is regrettably all too common. When the first explorers traveled into the chilly hinterland they filled in the blank spaces on their maps by grabbing the nearest native, pointing at some distant landmark, speaking very clearly in a loud voice, and writing down whatever the bemused man told them. Thus were immortalized in generations of atlases such geographical oddities as "It's Just A Mountain", "I Don't Know", "What?" and, of course, "Your Finger You Fool".
#5 By: sisyphus, December 16th, 2013 14:28
"Land of the Dormant Ones". Sounds about right.
#6 By: Cynthia Bonville, December 16th, 2013 14:40
From Spreading Wings of the Eagle in the Land To Which the Sea Flows, living in Deep Pool of the Beautiful Land. Whole lot better then Where Whores Roam and Hole in the Ground.
#7 By: zakbos, December 16th, 2013 14:57
North America, or Turtle Island?
#8 By: Christopher Waldrop, December 16th, 2013 15:03
I can't for the life of me figure out why I'm from Ash Tree Town in The Land of the River. I can't remember the last time I saw an ash tree in my neighborhood. Cedar, sycamore, black walnut, oak, and of course magnolia are all found around here.
"Town where people plant pear trees then cut them down when they realize how gangly they get" would seem to be a more appropriate name for where I live.
#9 By: Jonas Eggeater, December 16th, 2013 15:14
This is neat, but also a little bit silly. State names like "New York," "New Hampshire," and "New Jersey," which directly reference locations in the Old World, are still "translated." I can't figure out where they got a definition of "York" which reads "Yew-tree Estate," and not the location or the House of York. Likewise, "Hampshire" seems to mean "Enclosed Farmshire," though I don't know why. Are they just describing these locations?
#10 By: Tribune1984, December 16th, 2013 15:26
Yeah - British Columbia is translated as "Dove Land of the Tattooed" i have no idea
#11 By: GlyphGryph, December 16th, 2013 15:33
"Brittos" (in the original Greek), or Brittish, literally means "tattooed people".
The word Britain supposedly comes from the ethnic name Brittos, meaning, according to the Greek geographers, "tattooed people". A similar etymology is from "people of forms", with the root ancestral to the Welsh "pryd" (form, appearance, image, resemblance). The Goidelic cognate is Cruthin, which refers to an area of Ireland in the present-day counties of Down, Londonderry, and Antrim. They are both said to derive from Qritani or *Qretani, meaning "painted people" or "tattooed people".
#12 By: Maggie Koerth-Baker, December 16th, 2013 15:35
Why wouldn't they be? Those words come from the old world, but they still have literal translations. See the "British" example above.
#13 By: just_ok, December 16th, 2013 15:45
That's fake. There's no Tim Hortons.
#14 By: C P, December 16th, 2013 15:58
Except Toronto doesn't mean "meeting place". It's most likely from tkaronto, "place where trees stand in the water" which refers to Lake Simcoe. The trail that was extended from there took the name, and it stopped at Lake Ontario, where it eventually became the name of the settlement there. If the trail had kept going around the lake, Toronto would probably be somewhere else.
#15 By: Jonas Eggeater, December 16th, 2013 16:00
I suppose you're right, though I would argue that New Hampshire was literally named after the location Hampshire, and not after the meaning behind the words from which the name of the location is made up. So I would think that a "literal translation" of New Hampshire would be "new Hampshire." Still, good point; I wasn't thinking about it that way.
#16 By: Chris Gladish, December 16th, 2013 16:18
So, I'm in the City of the South Wind People, in the Land of the People With Dugout Canoes. A bit long for an envelope.
Anecdotal local story for you, but probably not true. I've always heard that the Wakarusa River got that name when settler/explorers asked local natives, while pointing to the river, "What's this?", thinking to learn the name of it, and said local natives replied with "wakarusa", meaning "about crotch deep".
Yeah, it's probably not true, but hey, there ya go.
Also, to my relatives in Terre Haute, IN, I've always told them their high school mascot should be "The Highlanders".
#17 By: Mellivora Capensis, December 16th, 2013 16:32
I think we all know what it means when people have a "South Wind".
#18 By: Mellivora Capensis, December 16th, 2013 16:34
Seriously, what did they get the California from? It was never a real word.
#19 By: Cary, December 16th, 2013 17:39
I think that they just put the names in Google Translate and then translated them back and forth until the translation didn't change anymore...
#20 By: chenille, December 16th, 2013 17:47
I guess the idea is that the state was probably named for the fictitious Calafia, and she was probably named after the caliphs. In Arabic khalifa literally means successor.
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