List of tautological place names

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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 maunga is Māori for 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), or Saaremaa island (Island land island).


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)
  • 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/Old English/Modern English); compare Bredon and Breedon on the Hill (Hill Hill on the Hill – Brythonic/Saxon/Modern English)[10]
  • Brill, England (Hill Hill – Brythonic/Saxon) – also once known in documents as Brill-super-montem (Hill Hill on the Hill – Brythonic/Saxon/Latin)
  • 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)
  • Eizmendi: Haitz Mendi 'mount mount' (Euskara)
  • Filefjell, Norway (The mountain mountain – Norwegian)
  • Fjällfjällen, Sweden (The mountain mountains – Swedish)
  • Garmendia: Garr- Mendi(a) (fossil & modern Basque)
  • Gibraltar, commonly "The Rock of Gibraltar" From Arabic Jebel-Al-Tariq, which means "The Rock of Tariq"
  • 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.
  • 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".[9]
  • Mongibellu, Sicilian name of the volcano Etna, in Sicily, Italy (Mountain Mountain, from Italian monte and Arabic jabal).
  • Montcuq, Lot, France: Mont Kukk 'mount mount'
  • Mount Afadja, Ghana's highest peak, is often referred to as 'Mount Afadjato', which means 'Mount Afadja Mountain', 'To' being the Ewe language word for 'Mountain'. Ewe is the main language spoken in the area surrounding the peak.
  • Mount Katahdin, Maine (Mount The Greatest Mountain – English/Penobscot)
  • Mount Kenya, Kenya (Mount White Mountain – "Kenya" is from Kikuyu "Kirinyaga", 'white mountain')
  • Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania (Mount Mount Njaro – Swahili)
  • Mount Maunganui, New Zealand (Mount Mount Big – Māori)
  • Mount Ōyama, Japan (Mount Big Mountain – Japanese)
  • Ochil Hills, Scotland (Hill hills)
  • 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".
  • 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"
  • Pic de la Munia in Piau-Engaly, France: Pic Muño (Romance & Euskara)
  • Picacho Peak (Arizona, U.S.) (Peak Peak – Spanish)
  • 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.
  • 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, U.S.) (Table Table – Spanish)
  • Torpenhow, Cumbria, England, supposedly meaning "hill hill hill", exaggerated into an (unsubstantiated) "Torpenhow Hill = hill-hill-hill hill" for effect;[11] 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".[12]
  • Tuc de la Pale, Ariège, France: Tuk Pal 'mount mount'
  • Vignemale, Pyrenees: Went Mal 'mount mount'


Human structures[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Victor Wadds, ed., The Cambridge Dictionary of English Place Names, 2004, s.n. River AVON
  2. ^
  3. ^ Piesarskas, Bronius; Bronius Svecevičus (1995). Lithuanian Dictionary. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-12857-9. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Blake, Les (1977), Place names of Victoria, Adelaide: Rigby, p. 294, ISBN 0-7270-0250-3 , cited in Bird (2006)
  9. ^ a b Kansalaisen karttapaikka.
  10. ^ McDonald, Fred; Julia Cresswell (1993). The Guinness Book of British Place Names. London: Guinness Publishing. ISBN 0-85112-576-X. 
  11. ^ Francis, Darryl (2003). "The Debunking of Torpenhow Hill". Word Ways. 36 (1): 6–8. 
  12. ^ David Mills, 2011, A Dictionary of British Place-Names
  13. ^ Hywel Wyn Jones, The Place-Names of Wales, 1998
  14. ^ Merriam-Webster (1998). Merriam-Webster's Spanish-English Dictionary. Springfield, MA: Merriam Webster. ISBN 0-87779-165-1. 
  15. ^ Bronner, Ethan (July 25, 2008). "Museum Offers Gray Gaza a View of Its Dazzling Past". New York Times. Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  16. ^