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The start of Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate

Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate is one of the smallest streets in York, if not the smallest. It is between Colliergate and Fossgate and intersects The Pavement and The Stonebow in York city centre. It is currently a length of raised pavement between St Crux church hall and a small road junction.

End of Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate

The origin of the name is unclear. "Gate" derives from the Norse word "gata" meaning street.[1] A plaque erected in the street states that it derives from a phrase Whitnourwhatnourgate meaning "What a street!", but most modern sources translate the phrase as "Neither one thing nor the other".[2][3] The city's whipping post and stocks were here in the middle ages, which may have influenced the change to the modern spelling and has certainly provided an alternative folk etymology.[4]

1½ Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate

Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma is the title of a novel by York author Martyn Clayton.[5]


  1. ^ "Many of the street names (as with Friargate in the city of Derby) end in ‘…gate’; this is a corruption of the Viking ‘gatta’ or ‘street’."[1]
  2. ^ "Inside York". Retrieved 2010-05-06. 
  3. ^ "Britannia Tours". Retrieved 2010-05-06. 
  4. ^ "Sunderland Street Name project (introductory text refers to Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate as "named after a whipping post and pillory").". Retrieved 2010-05-06. 
  5. ^ Clayton, Martyn (2011). Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma. Lulu. ISBN 978-1-4461-3426-9. 

Coordinates: 53°57′33″N 1°04′47″W / 53.959130°N 1.079590°W / 53.959130; -1.079590