Words derived from toponyms
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This is a list of words derived from toponyms, followed by the place name it is derived from.
- Alberta clipper — a weather phenomenon named after the Canadian province of Alberta where it originates
- Angora goat, Angora rabbit, Angora wool (obtained from the previous two), Angora cat — named after Angora, variant or former name of Ankara, their place of origin
- Armageddon — after "mount of Megiddo", where the battle is to be fought
- balkanization — after the Balkans, region in southeastern Europe similarly divided into small nations in the twentieth century
- Bedford cord, a heavy fabric with a ribbed weave similar to corduroy; named after either Bedford, England or possibly New Bedford, Massachusetts.
- Bedlam — meaning pandemonium, after popular name/pronunciation of St Mary of Bethlehem, London's first psychiatric hospital
- Bedlington terrier, a breed of dog, after Bedlington, UK
- bikini — two-piece bathing suit for women, after Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands where atomic bombs were tested in 1946; supposedly analogous to the "explosive" effect on the male libido.
- the Blarney and Blarney Stone — Blarney Castle
- Boeotian, an ancient Greek term for a fool, after the Boeotian people
- bohemian — term referring to artists, writers, and other people who wished to live an unconventional, vagabond, or "gypsy" lifestyle; from Bohemia, where "gypsies" were erroneously thought to originate. See also gypsy, below.
- Brazilianization — the idea that the prosperous white population (especially in the United States) will increasingly withdraw from a disjointed society; likening the result to "a Latin American oligarchy, the rich and well connected members of the overclass can flourish in a decadent America with Third World levels of inequality and crime." Coined by Michael Lind in his book The Next American Nation: The New Nationalism and the Fourth American Revolution
- Bronx cheer — a noise made by the mouth to signify derision; after The Bronx, a borough of New York City
- brummagem — goods of shoddy quality; from a local pronunciation of Birmingham, city in the United Kingdom
- bungalow — a low building or house, from a Gujarati word meaning "Bengalese", used elliptically to mean a house built in the style of Bengal
- Byzantine, used to describe any work, law, or organization that is excessively complex or difficult to understand, named after Byzantine Empire
- calico — a type of cloth named after Calicut (now Kolkata, India), where Europeans first obtained it. Calico cat and calico horse are derived from the appearance of their mottled coat suggesting calico cloth.
- canary — a small yellow bird, originating on and named after the Canary Islands, specifically the largest island, Gran Canaria, called in Latin Insula Canaria, "island of dogs", after the wild native dogs found there.
- Caucasian — name for the "white race", coined by anthropologist Johann Blumenbach after Caucasus Mountains, their supposed ancestral homeland.
- chautauqua — a form of local fair, after Chautauqua, New York, where the first one was held
- china — originally chinaware, as in "wares from China" [http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/china}]
- Chinese wall, artificial organizational barrier, derived from Great Wall of China
- coach — a type of carriage, ultimately from Hungarian kocsi (szekér) or "carriage of Kocs", where this vehicle was first made.
- Coventry (in the construction "Sent to Coventry"): shunned by friends and family, after the treatment of Royalist prisoners during the English Civil War
- denim — a coarse cotton fabric, from French serge de Nîmes, or "serge of Nîmes", where the cloth originated.
- Dixieland music — Dixie or "Dixie's Land", a nickname for the American South.
- dollar — a unit of currency, originally from the [[German language|German taler, an abbreviation of Joachimstaler ("gulden of Joachimstal"), a coin minted (1519) from silver mined near Joachimsthal, Bohemia
- donnybrook — colloquial term for a brawl or fracas, derived from Donnybrook Fair, an annual horse fair in the Dublin suburb notorious for fighting and drunkenness.
- doolally or dolally — an adjective meaning "mad" or "eccentric" (e.g. "to go dolally"), fultimately named after Deolali, a fort in the North West Frontier of colonial India (now Pakistan), referring to the apparent madness of men waiting to return to Britain after their tour of duty.
- duffel or duffle — heavy woollen cloth, hence duffel coat and duffel bag; after Duffel, a town in Belgium where it was first made
- Dunkirk spirit, after the evacuation of Dunkirk in World War II
- Fez, (also called tarboosh), a hat — Fez, a city in Morocco
- Finlandization, the influence a small country can have on a larger one, after Finland
- Gibraltar, used as a word for a fortress or stronghold, named after the peninsula
- Glasgow kiss, a slang term meaning headbutt — Glasgow, Scotland
- Greek, not understandable ("all Greek to me") — Greek language of Greece
- Gypsies, nomadic peoples in Europe and United States — Egypt
- Habanera — a musical style named after Havana, Cuba
- Havana, cigar — from capital of Cuba
- Honiton, a form of lace, after the town in Devon (England) where it is produced
- Holland, cotton or linen fabric — Holland
- iliad — a long narrative poem, or a series of woes, trials, etc; both derive from the Homeric epic Iliad, literally meaning "of Ilium" (or Troy).
- Indian, the aboriginal peoples of the New World - after India
- Jeans, denim trousers; Genoa.
- Jersey cattle (also tomato, milk, cream, jumper) — Jersey, one of the Channel Islands
- Labyrinth, maze, after a legendary structure on Crete
- Left Bank, style of life, fashion, or "look" — "Left Bank", bank of the Seine which is to the left, near Paris
- Lesbian, female homosexual — Lesbos, island in Greece
- Magenta, colour — named after Magenta, Italy
- Marathon, long race — Marathon, Greece, town
- Madras, lightweight cotton fabic — Madras, old name for Chennai, coastal city in southeastern India
- Manila envelopes, Manila fiber — Manila, city in Philippines
- Marseillaise, national anthem of France — Marseille, city in France
- Masada, a mass suicide when conditions are hopeless, after Masada, Israel
- Mausoleum, a large and impressive tomb — Mausoleum of Maussollos in Turkey
- Mecca, ultimate destination or activity center — Mecca, holy city in Saudi Arabia
- Mongoloid race — Mongolia, country in northern Asia
- Neanderthal man, known by his fossils — Neanderthal, Germany, valley where the fossils were found
- Olympics, worldwide games — Mount Olympus, tallest mountain in Greece
- Paisley (design), used in shawls — Paisley, Scotland
- Portland cement — named after the Isle of Portland, England
- the Rubicon, the point of no return — Rubicon (or Rubico), Latin name for a small river in northern Italy
- Rhode Island Red — Chicken named after Rhode Island
- Rugby football — Rugby School, in Rugby, Warwickshire, central England
- Siamese twins, conjoined twins — Siam, old name for Thailand
- Siberia, a remote undesirable location — Siberia, in eastern Russia
- Skid Row, originally Skid Road of Seattle, now the rundown area of a U.S. city
- Sodomy, forbidden sexual acts — Sodom, Biblical town on the plain of the Jordan River
- Solecism, incorrect or ungrammatical usage of language — Soli an ancient city in Cilicia, where a dialect of Greek regarded as substandard was spoken.
- Spa, place having water with health-giving properties — Spa, a municipality in Belgium
- Surrey, horse-drawn carriage — Surrey, southern England
- Timbuktu, metaphor for an exotic, distant land — Timbuktu, city on the Niger River in Mali, West Africa
- Trojan horse, malicious computer virus — Trojan Horse, of Troy, from the Iliad
- tuxedo, after Tuxedo Park, New York
- Xanadu, a symbol of opulence — Xanadu (or Shangdu), summer capital of Kublai Khan's empire
Food and drink (other than cheese and wine)
- Anjou Pear — Anjou
- Berliner (pastry), named after Berlin.
- Black Forest gateau, Black Forest Cake, Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte — Black Forest (Schwarzwald), Germany
- Bombay duck, a kind of fish — Bombay, old name for Mumbai, coastal city in western India
- Brussels sprout
- Buffalo wings, named for Buffalo, New York, where they originated.
- Cantaloupe (also called rockmelon), a variety of melon — Cantalupo, the Pope's summer residence
- Cantonese Chow/Lo Mein
- Coney Island hot dog - named after Coney Island, New York, but apparently invented in the Midwest of the USA.
- Cuban, sub sandwich in Florida — Cuba, country in the Caribbean
- Curaçao liqueur — Curaçao
- Danish, a sweet pastry — (in Denmark it is called wienerbrød, which means "bread from Vienna").
- Dijon, mustard named after the French city
- Frankfurter (or Wiener — from Vienna)
- Hamburger — Hamburg, Germany
- Hollandaise sauce — Holland
- Jaffa orange - Jaffa
- Jaffa Cakes
- Java, slang for coffee — from island in Indonesia
- Jerusalem artichoke - wrongly associated with Jerusalem
- Manhattan cocktail — Manhattan Club in New York City
- Martini — Martinez, California, where the precursor to the martini, the Martinez, was developed
- Mocha coffee, ice cream — Mocha, Yemen, place where the coffee is grown
- Peking Duck, a Chinese dish made of duck — Peking, old name for Beijing, China
- Salisbury Steak — Salisbury, England
- Sardine, types of small fish — Sardinia, island in the Mediterranean near Italy
- Seltzer (commercial name), Selters, Germany
- Shallot - Ashkelon
- Turkish Delight — Turkey
- Valencia orange — Valencia, Spain
- Welsh rarebit - A cheese and herb sauce drizzled over hot bread or toast; probably originating from Welsh peasants.
- Virginia peanut — Virginia
- Yorkshire puddings from Yorkshire
Note: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan is named after the local Saskatoon berry, rather than vice versa.
- American cheese, a common name for processed cheese.
- Asiago after Asiago, the plateau and town in northern Italy where it was first made
- Caerphilly after Caerphilly, a town in Wales
- Cheddar after Cheddar in Somerset, England where it was originally made
- Cheshire after Cheshire county in England
- Colby after Colby, Wisconsin where it was first made
- Derby after Derbyshire a county in central England
- Dubliner after Dublin, Ireland
- Edam after town of Edam in the Netherlands
- Emmental after Emmental, the name of a valley in Switzerland where it was originally made
- Gorgonzola after Gorgonzola, a village in northern Italy
- Gouda after the town Gouda in the Netherlands where originally made
- Gruyère after Gruyère, a district in Switzerland where first made
- Jarlsberg after the town Jarlsberg in Norway
- Lappi after Lapland region of Finland
- Limburger after Limburg, a former duchy of Lorraine
- Manchego after La Mancha Spain
- Monterey Jack, from Monterey, California (not Monterrey, Mexico)
- Munster after town Munster, Haut-Rhin in Alsace region of France
- Neufchâtel, from Neufchâtel-en-Bray, the part of Normandie where it originates
- Oaxaca Oaxaca De Juarez, a state and city in Mexico
- Parmesan, from Parma, Italy
- Roma(no) after Rome, Italy
- Roquefort after a village in southern France
- Stilton after Stilton, a village in England
- Swiss after Switzerland
- Tilsit after a town in East Prussia (now Sovetsk, Russia) where is was first produced
- Yunnan after Yunnan, a province in southwestern China
There are some corporations whose name is simply the same as their original location.
See: Chemical elements named after places
Derivations from literary or mythical places
- Eden, any paradisaical area, named after the religious Garden of Eden
- El Dorado, any area of great wealth, after the mythical city of gold
- hell, any horrible place, after the religious Hell
- Lilliputian, meaning very small in size — Lilliput, fictional island in the book Gulliver's Travels
- Shangri-La, a mythical utopia, a language usage — Shangri-La, fictional place in the novel Lost Horizon
- utopia, term for organized society — Utopia, fictional republic from the book of the same name
Published - January 2009
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