List of tautological place names

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A place name is tautological if two differently sounding parts of it are synonymous. This often occurs when a name from one language is imported into another and a standard descriptor is added on from the second language. Thus, for example, New Zealand's Mount Maunganui is tautological since "maunganui" is Māori for "great mountain". The following is a list of place names often used tautologically, plus the languages from which the non-English name elements have come.

Tautological place names are systematically generated in languages such as English and Russian, where the type of the feature is systematically added to a name regardless of whether it contains it already. For example, in Russian, the format "Ozero X-ozero" (i.e. "Lake X-lake") is used. In English, it is usual to do the same for foreign names, even if they already describe the feature, for example Lake Kemijärvi (Lake Kemi-lake), "Faroe Islands" (Literally Sheep-Island Islands, as øy is Modern Faroese for "Island"), or Saaremaa island (Island land island).

On rare occasions, such formations may occur by coincidence when a place is named after a person who shares their name with the feature. Examples include the Outerbridge Crossing named after Eugenius Harvey Outerbridge, the Hall Building of Concordia University named after Henry Foss Hall, and Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens in Santa Barbara named after Alice Keck Park.


Asterisks (*) indicate examples that are also commonly referred to without the inclusion of one of the tautological elements.


Lakes and other bodies of water[edit]

Mountains and hills[edit]

  • Barrhill, barr is an old Celtic word for a flat topped hill.
  • Bergeberget, Norway (The Hill Hill – Norwegian)
  • Bukit Timah Hill, The highest point in Singapore (Tin Hill Hill)
  • Brda Hills, Slovenia – "brda" means small hills in Slovene (thus, the area is sometimes referred to as "Goriška Brda" or "Gorizia Hills" to distinguish it from others)
  • Bredon Hill, England (Hill Hill Hill – Brythonic (bre)/Old English (don)/Modern English); compare Bredon and Breedon on the Hill (Hill Hill on the Hill – Brythonic/Saxon/Modern English)[17]
  • Brill, England (Hill Hill – Brythonic/Saxon) – also once known in documents as Brill-super-montem (Hill Hill on the Hill – Brythonic/Saxon/Latin).[18] There is also a street in Brill named Brae Hill.
  • Brincliffe Edge, Sheffield, UK (Burning Hill Hill Welsh/English)
  • Bryn Glas Hill, Wales (Blue Hill Hill – Welsh/English)
  • Brynhill, Wales (Hill Hill – Welsh/English)
  • Djebel Amour, Algeria: (Arabic & Tamazight)
  • Filefjell, Norway (The mountain mountain – Norwegian)
  • Fjällfjällen, Sweden (The mountain mountains – Swedish)
  • Garmendia: Garr- Mendi(a) (fossil & modern Basque)
  • The Rock of Gibraltar, (The Rock of The Rock of Tariq - "Gibraltar" From Arabic Jebel-Al-Tariq, which means "The Rock of Tariq")[3]
  • Hameldon Hill ("don" likely means "hill")
  • Hill Mountain, Pembrokeshire, Wales
  • Haukafellsfjall, Iceland – (Haukur's Mountain's Mountain)
  • Hoffellsfjall, Iceland – (Monastery Mountain Mountain)
  • Hueco Tanks, an area of low mountains in El Paso County, Texas.
  • Huntshaw Wood ("Huntshaw" means "Hun's wood" or "honey wood")
  • Kálfafellsfjöll, Iceland – (Calf Mountain Mountains)
  • Knockhill, a common placename in the Scottish Lowlands, deriving from Scottish Gaelic, cnoc meaning a "hill".
  • Kukkulamäki, in 24 distinct locations (Rautjärvi, Jyväskylä, Salo, ...) in Finland, is kukkula "hill" and mäki "hill".[12]
  • Montana Mountain, Yukon: Montaña Spanish 'mountain mountain'
  • Montcuq, Lot, France: Mont Kukk 'mount mount'
  • Monteagle Mountain, a commonly-used colloquial name for an area of the Cumberland Plateau near the town of Monteagle, Tennessee. (Eagle Mountain Mountain)
  • Morro Rock, a volcanic plug rising out of the ocean on the Central Coast of California, from Spanish "Morro" meaning "rock" (Rock Rock).
  • Mount Afadja, Ghana's highest peak, is often referred to as 'Mount Afadjato', which means 'Mount Afadja Mountain', 'To' being the Ewe word for 'Mountain'. Ewe is the main language spoken in the area surrounding the peak.
  • Mount Fujiyama, Japan (Mount Fuji Mountain – English/Japanese; Yama means mountain)
  • Mount Katahdin, Maine (Mount The Greatest Mountain – English/Penobscot)
  • Mount Kenya, Kenya (Mount White Mountain – "Kenya" is from Kamba "Ki nyaa" in Kikuyu "Kirinyaga", meaning 'white mountain')
  • Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania (Mount Mount Njaro – Swahili)
  • Mount Konocti, California, or K'no-K'tai (Mount Mountain of Many Women - Southeastern Pomo)
  • Mount Maunganui, New Zealand (Mount Mount Big – Māori)
  • Mount Ōyama, Japan (Mount Big Mountain – Japanese)
  • Mount Pisgah (several places in the United States, Australia, Canada, and Antarctica, all ultimately named after a biblical mountain), from Hebrew pisgah (פִּסְגָּה), "summit".
  • Mount Yamantau, Russia (Mount Evil Mountain – Bashkir) The tautology exists in Russian as well as English (гора Ямантау from гора Яман тау).
  • Muncibbeḍḍu (it: Mongibello) Sicilian name of the volcano Etna, in Sicily, Italy ("Mountain Mountain", from Latin mons and Arabic jabal (جبل)).
  • Pedro Colina Hill, Philippines – (Peter Hill Hill – Spanish/English/Spanish; "Colina" is Spanish for hill)
  • Pendle Hill, Lancashire, England. (Hill Hill Hill) – "Pen" -(Cumbric language) "Pendle" by epenthesis and elision from "Pen Hyll", the latter word being Old English for "hill".[3]
  • Pendleton, near Pendle Hill, Lancashire, England. (Hill Hill Town) or, possibly (Hill Hill Hill), taking the -ton as deriving from Old English dun as opposed to Old English tun.
  • Pendleton Hill, North Stonington, Connecticut. (Hill Hill Town Hill) or, possibly, (Hill Hill Hill Hill).
  • Penhill, North Yorkshire, England: Pen (Brittonic) and hyll (Old English), both meaning "hill"
  • Pen Hill, Somerset England: Pen (Brittonic) and hyll (Old English), both meaning "hill"
  • Pen Hill, Dorset, England: Pen (Brittonic) and hyll (Old English), both meaning "hill"
  • Pennard Hill, England ("Pennard means "High Hill", see East Pennard and West Pennard)
  • Pic de la Munia in Piau-Engaly, France: Pic Muño (Romance & Euskara)
  • Picacho Peak (Arizona, U.S.) (Peak Peak – Spanish)
  • Pinnelhill, Fife, Scotland. Pen (Pictish) and hyll (Old English; x2), both meaning "hill".[19]
  • Pinnacle Peak (Maricopa County, Arizona, U.S.) and Mount Pinnacle (southwestern Virginia, U.S.). Both English. Other locations have the same names.
  • Portsdown Hill (Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK) Port's Hill (dún; Anglosaxon) Hill.
  • Punkaharju Ridge (South Savo, Finland); harju in Finnish already means ridge.
  • Slieve Mish Mountains, Ireland (Mis's Mountain mountains)
  • Slieve Bloom Mountains, Ireland – (Bladh's Mountain Mountains)
  • Svínafellsfjall, Iceland – (Pig Mountain Mountain)
  • Summit Peak, New Zealand (Peak Peak – both English) – also the U.S. has five hills called Summit Peak.
  • Table Mesa (Arizona,[20] Colorado,[21] Kansas,[22] New Mexico,[23] USA) (Table Table – Spanish)
  • Toiyabe Range (Nevada, U.S.) Shoshoni toyapi "mountain"
  • Torpenhow, Cumbria, England, supposedly meaning "hill hill hill", exaggerated into an (unsubstantiated) "Torpenhow Hill = hill-hill-hill hill" for effect;[24] it may only be a single tautology, torpen expressing "the top or breast of a hill" (rather than "hill-hill"), with the tautological addition of Old Norse howe (haugr) "hill".[25]
  • Tuc de la Pale, Ariège, France: Tuk Pal 'mount mount'
  • Dãy núi Trường Sơn, Vietnam. Núi Trường Sơn: Long Mountain Mountain.
  • Vignemale, Pyrenees: Went Mal 'mount mount'
  • Yunling Mountains, China (Cloudy mountains mountains – Chinese)


Human structures[edit]

Streets and roads[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Victor Wadds, ed., The Cambridge Dictionary of English Place Names, 2004, s.n. river AVON
  2. ^ Maqqarī, Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad al-; al-Khaṭīb, Ibn (2 March 2018). "The History of the Mohammedan Dynasties in Spain: Extracted from the Nafhu-t-tíb Min Ghosni-l-Andalusi-r-rattíb Wa Táríkh Lisánu-d-Dín Ibni-l-Khattíb". Oriental translation fund of Great Britain and Ireland, sold – via Google Books.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Okrent, Arika (11 April 2013). "11 Totally Redundant Place Names". Mental Floss. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  4. ^ Ámundason, Hallgrímur J., "Hvaða rök eru fyrir því að Gunnólfsvíkurfjall á Langanesi heiti því nafni en beri ekki lengur nafnið Gunnólfsfell?", Vísindavefurinn
  5. ^ "Abhainn Eathar/Owenaher River".
  6. ^ "Owenakilla River".
  7. ^ "Bunowen River".
  8. ^ "Abhainn Fhia/Owenea River".
  9. ^ "Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs". DAERA. 2017-06-27. Retrieved 2024-01-01.
  10. ^ Blake, Les (1977), Place names of Victoria, Adelaide: Rigby, p. 294, ISBN 0-7270-0250-3, cited in Bird (2006)
  11. ^ Reed, A.W. (1975). Place names of New Zealand. Wellington: A.H. & A.W. Reed. pp. 442ff
  12. ^ a b "Karttapaikka - Maanmittauslaitos".
  13. ^ Lancion, Jr., Conrado M.; cartography by de Guzman, Rey (1995). "The Provinces; Lanao del Sur". Fast Facts about Philippine Provinces (The 2000 Millennium ed.). Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines: Tahanan Books. pp. 94–95. ISBN 971-630-037-9. Retrieved December 25, 2015.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  14. ^ Government of Ontario, "About Ontario: History",, March 7, 2019
  15. ^ Reed, A.W. (1975). Place names of New Zealand. Wellington: A.H. & A.W. Reed. pp. 365-6
  16. ^ Headley, Gwyn; Meulenkamp, Wim (1999). Follies, Grottoes & Garden Buildings. Aurum. p. 108. ISBN 9781854106254. Retrieved 29 August 2022.
  17. ^ McDonald, Fred; Julia Cresswell (1993). The Guinness Book of British Place Names. London: Guinness Publishing. ISBN 0-85112-576-X.
  18. ^ Shippey, Tom (2005) [1982]. The Road to Middle-Earth (Third ed.). HarperCollins. p. 124. ISBN 978-0-2611-0275-0.
  19. ^ Simon, Taylor; Markus, Gilbert (2006). The Place-names of Fife (Illustrated ed.). Shaun Tyas. ISBN 9781900289771.
  20. ^ "Arizona Public Lands Recreation Map". Public Lands Interpretive Association.
  21. ^ "Table Mesa -".
  22. ^ "Table Mesa -".
  23. ^ "Table Mesa".
  24. ^ Francis, Darryl (2003). "The Debunking of Torpenhow Hill". Word Ways. 36 (1): 6–8.
  25. ^ David Mills, 2011, A Dictionary of British Place-Names
  26. ^ "holm — Den Danske Ordbog".
  27. ^ Hywel Wyn Jones, The Place-Names of Wales, 1998
  28. ^ Wainwright, FT (2014). "Archaeology and Place-Names and History". Taylor and Francis. Retrieved 25 August 2022.
  29. ^ James, Alan. "Brittonic Language in the Old North: A Guide to the Place-Name Evidence" (PDF).
  30. ^ Nielsen, Oluf (1877). "Kjøbenhavn i Middelalderen" (in Danish). G.E.C. Gad. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
  31. ^ Bronner, Ethan (July 25, 2008). "Museum Offers Gray Gaza a View of Its Dazzling Past". New York Times. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  32. ^ "ePodunk". Archived from the original on 2012-10-06. Retrieved 2014-12-18.
  33. ^ Merriam-Webster (1998). Merriam-Webster's Spanish-English Dictionary. Springfield, MA: Merriam Webster. ISBN 0-87779-165-1.
  34. ^ Gannon, Megan (23 June 2017). "10 Fascinating Facts About the La Brea Tar Pits". Mental Floss. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  35. ^ Reed, A.W. (1975). Place names of New Zealand. Wellington: A.H. & A.W. Reed. p. 396