Ever been to the Madagascan town Gogogogo, or the German city Worms? If collecting weird place names is your thing, then check out these beauties put together in one map by Vivid Doors.
The Belgian town of Silly has nothing to do with foolishness but is so named after the river Sille. Similarly, Nice in France isn’t a comment on the temperament of its people but derived from the Greek word Nikaia, which means ‘city of victory’.
While we might not know the origins of Gogogogo in Madagascar, the Malagasy language has produced some excellent place names including Antsohimbondrona and Tsiroanomandidy. Oddly, while Banana in Queensland, Australia does produce vast quantities of the eponymous fruit, the town is named after a fabled ox.
According to the Oxford Dictionary of British Place Names, far from being home to the UK’s broken-hearted, the town Pity Me in County Durham was given ‘a whimsical name bestowed in the 19th century on a place considered desolate, exposed, or difficult to cultivate’.
The towns of Hollywood in Worcestershire and Beer in Devon have pastoral origins. The first for its abundance of holly bushes, while theories suggest Beer got its name from either the Saxon word ‘bearu’ meaning ‘wood’, the Norse word ‘byr’ meaning ‘farmstead’, or the Anglo-Saxon word ‘bere’ meaning ‘barley’.
The small town of Dinosaur in Colorado changed its name from Artesia to make the most of its proximity to the Dinosaur National Monument. The world-famous national park is home to the fossilised remains of giants from millions of years ago and some incredibly well preserved petroglyphs (carved into rock by our early ancestors).
The neighbourhood Tenderloin in downtown San Francisco has nothing to do with cattle herding. Like Tenderloin in downtown Manhattan, it’s believed the name references the soft underbelly of the city. Eek in Alaska takes its name from the Eskimo word for ‘two eyes’.