5 May 2016

10 Origins of World Cities

Last year on the HH blog, we talked a bit about how Britain literally means “home of the tattooed people”.

As with a lot of particularly ancient place names like this, that’s just one of a few competing theories of course, nevertheless it’s still the most likely of the bunch suggested so far. 

But as we said back then, it’s easy to forget that when it comes to etymology—or rather, toponymy, which is the branch of linguistics dedicated to place name origins—the names of countries and continents, rivers and seas, towns and cities (and all the other proper nouns in the language for that matter) behave just like “ordinary” words. Put another way, there’s a reason why everywhere is called what it’s called. 

And it’s 10 of those stories and meanings that we’re looking at in this week’s 500 Words video.

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