The town's proper name, in Cherokee, was Dugiluyi, abbreviated to Dugilu. In English it was spelled variously as Tugaloo, Toogelah, Toogoola, etc. Its meaning in Cherokee is uncertain, but "seems to refer to a place at the forks of a stream" (Mooney, 1900).
Tugaloo was one of the Chickamauga Cherokee "Lower Towns", the principal one being Keowee. The terms "Lower Towns" and "Lower Cherokee" were given by the English colonists to refer to the Cherokee who lived on the Keowee River, Tugaloo River, and other headstreams of the Savannah River. The terms correspond in general with the Eastern Dialect of Cherokee, which was originally spoken by what the English called the Lower Cherokee in the region of the Lower Towns.
- Mooney, James. "Myths of the Cherokee" (1900, reprint 1995).