name |nām|

a word or set of words by which a person, animal, place, or thing is known, addressed, or referred to: my name is Parsons, John Parsons | Köln is the German name for Cologne.

New Oxford American Dictionary

Names are everywhere, but why are they what they are? Have they always been that way? Why are some so funny? Let’s find out.

  • Surprise
    Surprise! After many months off I’ve written a new post, and I intend to keep writing, although at a slightly slower and more sustainable pace than last winter. I started researching Surprise, Arizona, only to discover that it may have been named after Surprise, Nebraska. Then while mapping Surprise, Nebraska, I found that there’s also a Surprise, New York! I’ll deal with each surprise separately. Surprise, Arizona Surprise was founded in 1938 by, depending on who youContinue reading “Surprise”
  • Eclectic
    Now that the Olympics are over, we’ll be going back to some more random names, starting with Eclectic, Alabama. Eclectic is a small town of just over 1000 people in Elmore County, Alabama. The post office was opened there in 1879 and the town was incorporated in 1907. So, how did it get its name? According to Wikipedia, there are two theories. The first is that it was named by a local who had taken an “eclectic”Continue reading “Eclectic”
  • Olympic Summary
    Yesterday I posted the last post, (at least for another four years), in my series on the Fascinating Names of Winter Olympic Host Cities. It was a fun, although sometimes frustrating, exercise, and along the way I learned a bunch, and came across a lot of fascinating names to write about. Did you know that James Bond, in some form, has appeared in Chamonix, St. Moritz, and Cortina d’Ampezzo? With the way he gets around I wouldn’tContinue reading “Olympic Summary”
  • Chamonix
    Chamonix, France, hosted the very first Winter Olympic Games ever. This small town in a valley beside Mont Blanc, and a bunch of other mountains, (and I mean a bunch – the valley is surrounded), was “discovered” by modern tourists in 1741 when a pair of Englishmen showed up there and published their account of the incredible glaciers they found. However, they were far from the first people to visit the valley. They weren’t even the firstContinue reading “Chamonix”
  • St. Moritz
    St. Moritz, Switzerland, hosted both the 1928 and 1948 Winter Olympic Games. The first record we have of the town is around the years 1137-39 as ad sanctum Mauricium. St. Moritz is named for Saint Maurice, (Moritz is a form of Maurice), patron saint of, among other things, armies, armorers, clothmakers, dyers, and he is invoked against menstrual cramps. The city was originally known for its therapeutic springs, in fact, one part of the town is calledContinue reading “St. Moritz”

There are even more names to explore.