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Toponymy - The Study of Unusual Place Names

Toponymy - The Study of Unusual Place NamesPuke in Albania - Funny place names

The study of unusual place names is called Toponymy.  Have you ever lived in a place with a strange name?  What happens is that everyone who lives there becomes oblivious of the name's amusing connotation.

Another common occurrence is that people in the area refer to the place with a strange pronunciation.  For example, I stayed for a while in charming village in Cornwall called Mousehole.  Did the people who live nearby pronounce it Mouse Hole?  No, they refer to it as 'Mousle', the aitch is silent.

Here are Will and Guy's favourite examples of toponymy, we hope that at least one makes you smile:

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Top 10 Funny Place Names

Will and Guy's Top Ten Selection of Funny Place Names May Make You Laugh.....or at least smile.

  1. Puke is a real place in Albania.
  2. Beersville, is a town in Pennsylvania, USA.
  3. Ugley can be found in Essex, England.
  4. Boring, is in Oregon, USA.
  5. Slack Bottom is near Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire, England.
  6. Wetwang in East Yorkshire, England.
  7. Fleatown, is an itchy place in Ohio.
  8. Middle Wallop is a small town in Hampshire, England.
  9. Woolloomooloo is a township in Australia.
  10. Piles in Spain. 
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Puke in Albania - Funny place namesHell in Michigan, USA

The tourist trap in this town 15 miles north west of Ann Arbor advertises:
"A MARRIAGE THAT BEGINS IN HELL HAS NO PLACE TO GO BUT UP!"

More Unusual Place Names Located in the USA

  • Paradox, strange as it may seem, is in New York.
  • Crapo, unfortunately for them, it is in Maryland.
  • Boogertown, is happily in North Carolina.Toponyms - Funny Place Names in the USA - Volcano
  • Hellhole, is depressingly to be found in Idaho.
  • Purgatory, is sadly in Maine.
  • Volcano, an explosive place in Hawaii.
  • Needmore, is in the greedy state of Arkansas.
  • Hardup, is in the poor [you must be joking] state of Utah.
  • Rudeville, surprisingly perhaps is in New Jersey.
  • Boring, can be found in Oregon [I wonder if it is?].
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  • Hooker, can be found in California [And other places too].
  • Intercourse, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
  • Virgin, is a place in Utah.
  • Dulls Corner, is in Maryland [Do they wear pointy hats there?].
  • Bowlegs, is amusingly in Oklahoma.
  • Normal, in Illinois (easy to miss).
  • Two Guns, famously in Arizona.
  • Toad Suck, is found in Arkansas.
  • A Monkey's Eyebrow, is based in Arizona.
  • Gnaw Bone located in Brown County Indiana. 

Footnote:
This last item was kindly sent in by Joy.  Please send us your unusual place name.

Boring in Oregon, USA - Paired with Dull, in Perthshire, ScotlandDull and Boring - Twinning Funny Place Names

Would you believe such a funny story?  Will and Guy are fascinated with the fact that these two places are linking their townships.

Boring, in Oregon, was named so after William H Boring a former Union soldier and resident in the area. Dull, on the other hand, is a small Scottish village and was possibly named after the Gaelic word for meadow or perhaps snare - the true derivation remains unknown.

In order to improve tourism the two places have arranged to pair up. They each could benefit by the sale of road signs, souvenirs and memorabilia.

Footnote:
Will and Guy believe there are dozens more possiblilites for 'Twinning' towns in the manner of Dull and Boring.  Those on holiday are particularly likely to see unusual place names that could combine humorously with their home town.

Play a Game of Twinning Towns, For Example

Romeo in Michigan, USA with Joliet in Illinois, USA [Juliet].

Or, worse: Harrisburg PA, USA, with Chernobyl, Ukraine!

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More Funny Place Names - Toponyms in the UK

  • Pratts Bottom in KentToponymy - Great Snoring Norfolk
  • Great Snoring in Norfolk
  • Little Snoring in Norfolk [which would you prefer to live in?]
  • Giggleswick in Yorkshire
  • Great Cockup in Cumbria
  • World's End can be found in Berkshire and again near Birmingham [Lovely pub/restaurant in the place near Denmead, Hampshire]
  • Blubberhouses in Yorkshire [Visited there once says Will]
  • Crank in Merseyside [Probably more than one]
  • Hole in the Wall near Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire [Visited a pub named that in Caernarfon, North Wales, once or twice say Guy and Will]
  • Lilliput near Bournemouth, Dorset [Full of little people?]
  • Mumps in the Greater Manchester area [Sounds painful]
  • Mumbles in the Gower near Swansea
  • Piddlehinton in Dorset [There are several names like this based around The River Piddle - true]
  • There is also a Wyre Piddle in Worcestershire.
  • And a Lickey End near Bromsgrove Worcestershire.
  • Lower Dicker and also, Upper Dicker both in East Sussex
  • There is the tiny 'Slack Bottom' near Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire
  • Pity Me in Durham [OK]

A Special Mention of Ugley, Essex UK

There is village called Ugley in Essex, furthermore they have an Ugley Women's Institute. **   We have also heard reports of an Ugley Landfill site!

** Yes there is, they're in the Essex Federation of Women's Institute!  I used to live nearby.

The village also has a newspaper, Ugley Village Magazine  Indeed, the Ugley Friendship Club meets there.  Thanks to Hannu Ylioja for the extra information on this toponym.

Update, A.N. reports there is an Ugley Landfill Site.  He points out the derivation of the word / village is from the Saxon description of Ugga's Meadow.

Footnote:
One for the men: 'Idle' Working Mens Club near Bradford, Yorkshire.

No Place, County Durham, England

It took us a while to find 'No Place', people reported it existed then Stephen Scullion of Gateshead pointed the way to this hamlet near Stanley.  The nearest towns are Consett, Chester-le Street and Durham itself.  The name 'No Place' seems rather modern, that is 20th century.  As usual, there are several theories for the origin of No Place, but our favourite is that none of the local parishes wished to own this collection of houses.

Here is a Sister of Toponymy - Aptonym (A name aptly suited to its owner)

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  • Henry Head, an English neurologist.
  • Igor Judge, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales.
  • Chuck Long, former NFL quarterback for the Detroit Lions and the Los Angeles Rams.
  • Chris Moneymaker, amateur winner of 2003 World Series of Poker, which earned him $2.5 million USD.
  • Marc Rich, billionaire financier.
  • See more on nominative determinism

In Newark Nottinghamshire, there is a country road called: BIBLE THUMPERS LANE!

Kindly sent by Joy.

Funny Place Names - Food for Thought

  • Eaton Bishop near Hereford.
  • Ramsbottom, Yorkshire.
  • Catbrain near Bristol.
  • Maggots End in Hertfordshire. [Ugh]
  • Burnt Corn, can be seen in Alabama.Puke in Albania - Funny place names
  • Beer in Devon. [Possible retirement place for Will?]
  • To round it off: Puke in Albania.

Toponymy in France

France's funniest village names

The weekend of July 6th -7th 2013 saw the annual convention of the unique 'Association des Communes de France aux Noms Burlesque et Chantants', (French villages and communes with funny names). Here's a selection of some of the towns and villages who are proud members.

Their first official meeting was held in Minjocèbos ("eat an onion" in Occitan , a hamlet of Saint-Lys ) in 2003. The location of this year's annual get together was Vinsobres or "sober wine" in the Drôme department of south east France.

Bouzillé -a quaint village in the Maine et Loire department of western France has the same sound as "bousiller" the French verb which means "to cock up" or "screw up".

Corps-Nud – meaning Naked Body, often inspires visitors to this Brittany village to strip off to have their photo taken right next to the sign.

Monteton - The Village of "My Nipple" is in the Lot et Garonne department of south western France.

Saint Barbant - If there ever was a patron saint of boredom he or she would probably have come from the village of Saint Barbant (Saint Boring) in the Haute-Vienne department of central western France

Trécon - The village of "Very stupid" or "Big idiot" (Tres con, as it is written normally) is a charming little place in the Marne department of north west France, but perhaps not one to have your picture taken next to the sign.

Arnac La Poste - "Fraudulent post office", or "Post office scam", whichever ever way you prefer. The key is 'arnac' which is pronounced the same as the French word 'arnaque' which means "scam" or "con". The village stands half way between Paris and Toulouse in Limousin.

Coubisou - The beautifully village of Coubisou is situated in the Aveyron region of southern France and literally means "neck kiss", whether that's because it's what the locals demand when you turn up is unsure.

 

Footnote:
Please send us any good examples of funny place names (Toponyms) from your part of the world.
For example Stephen sent in: 'Pity Me', Durham, England.

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