Talk:List of redundant place names

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Arakawa River[edit]

Pasquale, you reverted my edit saying "every Japanese river name ends in -kawa 'river'; if you then tack on 'River', it's automatically tautological, but there's no point listing them all". This is true in some cases, such as Sumida-gawa (Sumida River) or Tama-gawa (Tama River), but the kawa in Arakawa is an integral part of the name. Saying 'Ara River' for Arakawa River is no more acceptable than saying "Wood City" for Woodville.

Compare Sumida Ward, named after the Sumida River, with Arakawa Ward, named after the Arakawa River. 'Kawa/gawa' can be and is removed from Sumida, but not from Arakawa.

Unless you can explain to me why this does not belong on the list, while something like Jiayuguan Pass or Mount Lushan is acceptable, I think I will restore my edit. LeeWilson (talk) 15:06, 5 September 2010 (UTC)


Doesn't Mount Fujiyama mean "Mount Fuji Mountain" in Japanese? If so, it should be added. 18:53, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

It does - which is why it's usually referred to as "Mount Fuji". Feel free to add it... Grutness...wha? 23:11, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
It's called "Fujisan" in Japanese, not "Fujiyama". And it's Mt Fuji in English.

Some indication is warranted of what these places and geographic features are called in their native languages. The Chinese do not say "Heilongjiang River" for instance, it's just "Heilongjiang". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:01, 15 October 2007 (UTC)

Dunstanburgh Castle[edit]

Dunstanburgh Castle could be translated as 'Castle Stone Castle Castle', assuming that 'Dun' is from Gaelic. But Dun (e.g. in the name Dunstan) could be translated as 'Dark' from Old English. Which loses a Castle, and so is slightly less satisfying. Is there any evidence to support one of these translations? 11:55, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

Only that "Dark stone castle" (Dun stan burgh) seems a boringly sensible name for a castle, hence is probably correct. PaulxSA (talk) 03:42, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

I'd always assumed "Dunstanburgh" meant "Dunstan's castle", in which case it's not truly tautological, since neither the dun or the stan there refer to their original meanings. Whichever is the case, the "-burgh Castle" combination is still a tautology. FWIW, the name Dunstan (according to The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names) means "hill stone". Grutness...wha? 22:37, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Gobi Desert[edit]

If, as PaulxSA says, "Gobi" truly means 'very large and dry' in Mongolian, then "Gobi Desert" is not a tautology and should be removed. Pasquale (talk) 20:27, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

According to the Gobi Desert article, "gobi" means 'gravel-covered plain' in Mongolian. If not synonymous it's at least close to 'desert', but I'll leave changing anything to someone who actually knows Mongolian. Orcoteuthis (talk) 14:39, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Just for the record, I didn't say Gobi meant v.large/dry; the original line read "Gobi Desert (desert desert, Gobi means "v.large/dry" in Mongolian.) I changed the former to reflect the latter: Personally, I have no [blank]ing clue what Gobi means in Mongolian. -- PaulxSA (talk) 15:50, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Street Rd[edit]

Street Road, also known as Route 926, is located in Chester County, where I live. Check it on Google Earth. Does this count as tautological? If so, could someone add it to the appropriate category? i kinda suck at formatting and all, and i don't have much free time. Billytrousers (talk) 04:29, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

A little more information, please: Chester County of what state? What country? -- If you mean Pennsylvania, USA, I think it was named after some relative of former Mayor Street of Philadelphia. Thnidu (talk) 19:54, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

Lake Windermere[edit]

I don't know why this one has been removed — when I was on holiday in Kendal (Cumbria), the nearby body of water was always referred to (even by the locals) as "Lake Windermere" ("mere" being in this context an archaic English word meaning "lake"), never simply as "Windermere". (talk) 02:35, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Agreed. I've restored the mention. A little Google searching (and not counting the same name used elsewhere) finds a good many references to it as "Lake Windermere" (as well as some to "Windermere", which I'm not listing here):

Thnidu (talk) 20:17, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

In my experience locals use "Lake Windermere" to disambiguate the lake from the town of Windermere on its shore, which was (re)named after its railway station (see Windermere,_Cumbria) (talk) 12:55, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

In which case, "Lake Windermere" doesn't contain any redundant information - is it is truly tautological ? Rjccumbria (talk) 15:47, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
It is, indeed. Tautological does not necessarily mean wrong. It is as tautological as Lake Placid lake, which you can find as photo caption in the wikipedia page for Lake Placid, New York.--Gorpik (talk) 17:06, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for that explanation/example - I would agree it is just as tautological as Lake Windermere, but that is where my agreement would end. Lake Placid lake is obviously an ugly phrase, but if I were seeking a second opinion as to whether it was OK to go into 'Lake Placid' (or 'Windermere') in my workclothes, I would think it sensible to make an explicit distinction between body of water and inhabited location. I can't see it being a sensible objection that 'Windermere' cannot be a inhabited location because 'mere' means a lake, and would regard in a similar light anybody pointing out that 'Lake Windermere' is tautological because a '-mere' can only be a lake; clearly it can also (by transference) be an inhabited location. What about 'Chollerford bridge' or 'Manchester Roman fort' - is the former an inherent contradiction, and the latter 'tautological' in the normally understood meaning of the term ?
I note that the Wikipedia article on Tautology (grammar) seems to be under the same misapprehension as my English teacher (or myself if I have misremembered his advice): its lede starts as follows

In grammar, a tautology (from Greek tauto, "the same" and logos, "word/idea") is an unnecessary repetition of meaning, using multiple words to effectively say the same thing (often originally from different languages). It is considered a fault of style and was defined by A Dictionary of Modern English Usage (Fowler) as "saying the same thing twice", when it is not apparently necessary to repeat the entire meaning of a phrase. "Close proximity" is an example of a tautology. If a part of the meaning is repeated in such a way that it appears as unintentional, or clumsy, then it may be described as tautological. On the other hand, a repetition of meaning that improves the style of a piece of speech or writing is not necessarily tautological.

 ; to it 'tautological' may not necessarily mean 'wrong' but it does require some redundancy of information. I had assumed it was at least intended that there should be some consistency between this article and that. Rjccumbria (talk) 22:49, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

More suggestions[edit]

  • Townsville, Queensland, or any of numerous other Townsvilles. Sometimes the triple-hit of "City of Townsville" is used.
  • Mount Midori, like Mount Fuji, is often incorrectly identified as "Mount Midoriyama" - notably on the "Ninja Warrior" show that airs in the US. (I'm sure the name is used correctly in the Japanese airings of the show.)
  • Jersey City is listed on the WP page as "City of Jersey City". This may be an error on the page, however. I posted a question on the talk page regarding that.

Lurlock (talk) 20:34, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

    • Probably not an error. This is a common construction where the first part describes the legal status of the community which happens to use city or town or village in its name. So you end up with contradictory ones as well like "City of Lathrup Village". Rmhermen (talk) 13:57, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
  • No to Townsville - as explained here in the past, it was named after the city's founder Robert Towns. Grutness...wha? 23:35, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
  • I would dispute Loughrigg Tarn as it has a non-tautological meaning: "the lake on the hill with a lake on it", i.e. of many hills, only one has a lake, and I want to refer to that lake. (Q.v. Green Street Green, in Kent.) (talk) 12:57, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Can we change the name of this article to "List of places whose names are tautological place names list"? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:47, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
  • Why not include Rio Grande, since many Americans erroneously refer to it as Rio Grand(e) River. Having grown up in New Mexico, I specifically remember four different ways people referred to the river (1) Rio Grande (gron-day); (2) Rio Grand(e) (grand); (3) Rio Grande River (gron-day); (4) Rio Grand(e) River (grand). And I won't even go further into the misspellings of Grande vs Grand and Rio vs Río... Technically only, Río Grande (gron-day) is correct, meaning "big river"... — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mike5816 (talkcontribs) 18:33, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
  • I saw a sign in Orlando, Florida that read "Park Lake Park." It appears that the city subdivision is named Park Lake, and this is its official park. Even more interesting, there was a body of water within. "That must be the Park Lake Park Lake!" I found myself saying. And of course there was a parking lot adjacent to the lake ... . I wonder if this sort of thing happens often? WHPratt (talk) 21:49, 21 July 2015 (UTC)

Sources, please[edit]

Very few of the etymologies, or back-translations, or whatever you wish to call them, cite any sources. Some are inadequate as descriptions (e.g. Cuyahoga is from "a Native American language" - but which one?), and some appear to be incorrect (e.g. both Charnock (1859) and Smythe Palmer (1882) suggest that Faroe Islands comes from faar "sheep", not a word meaning island). In any case, most look like the dreaded original research. Original research can be particularly troublesome on "vernacular" pages of this sort, since it tends to invite unverified, and sometimes incorrect, local knowledge. I have found, when editing other pages, that it is best to supply reliable sources for what you've got, and be wary of accepting new additions that offer none. Cnilep (talk) 23:32, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

Those are good points, however I don't believe this is original research at all. In many cases, just clicking on the links will provide further information and, in some cases, the appropriate sources. As for Faroe Islands, it's the -oe part of Faroe that means 'island' (see History of the Faroe Islands#Pre-Norse history). Pasquale (talk) 17:28, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm wary of using Wikipedia pages as sources for Wikipedia pages. It's turtles all the way down, if you get my meaning. The page in question says, "the name Faeroe is thought to mean Sheep Islands," but doesn't say thought by whom. (talk) 23:32, 7 October 2009 (UTC)
There is absolutely no question that the -oe part means 'islands', as it stands for the word for 'islands' in all the Scandinavian languages. That's the part that makes the name tautological. Whether the first part of the name actually does mean 'sheep' is irrelevant to the tautology. I have tried to clarify that in the article. Pasquale (talk) 14:47, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

I am happy to concede that the editors of this page are more knowledgeable than I regarding, among other things, North Germanic languages. Nonetheless, Wikipedia policy is that reliable sources should be provided for any statements that are challenged or likely to be challenged. I think a few comprehensive dictionaries would go a long way in sourcing most of the material on this page. I'll try to find some appropriate sources for languages that I speak or study. I hope others might do the same. Cnilep (talk) 15:27, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

Chinese geographical placenames[edit]

Names of Chinese geographical features are often imported in full and have "mountain", "river", etc. tacked on to them. For instance, "Changjiang River" (=Long River river), "Huanghe River" (=Yellow River river), "Mount Huangshan" (=Mount Yellow Mountain). Is there anywhere in the article where this could be added (with appropriate sources) as a generalization, rather than having to list a whole bunch of individual examples of the same phenomenon? rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 14:29, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

Removing three unsourced additions[edit]

I have removed three items that were added without citing a source. Each is problematic.

  • Wookey Hole Caves. Per the linked page, Wookey is a corruption of Ogof; though the name is derived from a Celtic word for hole, it is not actually a Celtic word for cave.
    • Isn't that then tautological as 'hole hole caves'? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:23, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Schoolcraft College. Per the content I removed, Schoolcraft is the name of the founder; the name does not mean school-craft-school.

Cnilep (talk) 22:39, 6 July 2010 (UTC)


Should we include Napton-on-the-Hill? "The toponym Napton is derived from the Old English cnaepp meaning 'hilltop' and tun meaning 'settlement' in the Old English language". Unfortunately, our article lacks a source for this - but it is clearly correct. 18:25, 21 February 2012 (UTC)


Apparently the Japanese city of Kyoto comes from the words "Kyo" and "To", which both mean "Capital" in neighbouring regional dialects. So "capital city capital city". However, I don't have a source, and there are already too many unsourced entries. So I'll leave it here, perhaps someone can dig up a suitable source for the etymology. - PaulxSA (talk) 01:37, 20 October 2012 (UTC)


I read somewhere that "Scotia" is Latin for land. (talk) 10:36, 18 December 2013 (UTC)

Not really. Scotia was just the land of the Scoti, which is the name the Romans gave to the Gaels.--Gorpik (talk) 11:52, 18 December 2013 (UTC)

Criteria for inclusion[edit]

This list has grown over the years, but very few of the entries are sourced (and several of those which are are not reliably sourced), which makes it seem like this list is full of original research. There needs to be a solid list of criteria for inclusion, which should include having the tautology itself discussed in a reliable source. ansh666 20:55, 29 March 2014 (UTC)


There are a number of rivers in Britain with names derived from the Brythonic Isca or the Gaelic uisge, one sense of which is river - the Exe (Devon), Axe (Dorset, Somerset), Usk (Wales), Esk (Cumberland, Yorkshire, Dumfriesshire, Midlothian and Angus).

With regards to Lake Windermere, mentioned above, I am one of those who considers the use of lake with any of the larger bodies of water in the Lake District other than Bass(enthwaite) Lake (aka Broadwater and Bassenwater) to be a solecism, but the usage does occur.

You also can find people referring to Glen Strathfarrar.

There are quite a few Gaelic/Norse tautologies to be found in the Scottish Highlands and Islands (e.g. Gleann Lingeadail and Gleann Lacasdail in Lewis). Lavateraguy (talk) 20:18, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

Ara river/ Arakawa river[edit]

I know this has come up before on this talk page, but I can't help feeling there's something odd about the presence of Arakawa river.

First of all, it's not a tautology in Japanese. It's Arakawa in Japanese, not Arakawa-kawa. Secondly, the Japan Water Agency refers to it in English as the Ara River. OsFish (talk) 08:43, 6 August 2015 (UTC)

I went ahead and removed it. As far as I can see, the other entries in foreign languages are all tautologies in those languages themselves.OsFish (talk) 04:18, 7 August 2015 (UTC)


I don't know where the line lies here, but Nullarbor Plain takes its name from the Latin for "no trees', which is of course the feature (or lack of feature, depending on your POV) that make it a plain. Include? Elguaponz (talk) 01:41, 15 June 2016 (UTC)

No. It should be the same word. Planum or planitia would have qualified, but not this. Besides, some plains have scattered trees.--Gorpik (talk) 15:20, 15 June 2016 (UTC)


The discussion of Russian in the intro makes no sense - "For example, in Russian, the format "Ozero X-ozero" (i.e. "Lake X-lake") is used." That format is NOT used in Russian. No example from Russian is given anywhere below. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:36, 23 August 2016 (UTC)


The characteristic property of items on this list is closer to the notion of pleonasm than that of tautology. The appropriate title is "List of pleonasmic place names". (talk) 23:12, 26 March 2017 (UTC)