Oct. 14: Funny place names

to·pon·y·my (tə-pŏn'ə-mē) n.

  1. The place names of a region or language.
  2. The study of such place names.

This morning I ran across some unusual place names in the news and started thinking. I tend to do that sometimes.

When you’ve lived in an area for a while, it’s easy to forget that people in other parts of the country find some of our place names hard to pronounce. Clackamas always trips people up. You can tell someone’s not from here by the way they pronounce Willamette (emphasis on the am, please). Aloha, one of the communities on the west side, is not a-low-HA, but a-LOW-a. Champoeg (sham-POO-ee) is, among other things, an Oregon state park. Oh, and if you say or-ee-GONE, you’ll get chased out of the state with torches and pitchfork-waving folk.

What are some of the weird names where you’re from, the ones you’ve become so accustomed to that they’re not weird anymore?


  1. Puyallup (puh-all-up)
    Sequim (squim)

    Just to name two tongue twisters in Washington.

  2. I love this one: Huerfano (a county in Colorado) It's pronounced "WHERE-fuh-no" It means orphan in Spanish.

  3. Not place names, but store names that crack me up:
    King Soopers (grocery store--WTF does that mean, anyway?)
    Hobby Lobby (craft store--how lame is that?)
    Bloodbath & Beyond (gun shop on The Simpsons)
    Happy Bowl (bento place)
    From Here to Maternity
    Fantastic Sam's (hair salon)
    Let It Bead (bead shop)
    Best Little Hairhouse in Gresham (hair salon)


Hey, please don’t leave an anonymous comment.
Select “Name/URL” below and you can use whatever name you want. No registration required.
Thanks! –Jen


Related Posts with Thumbnails