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 if that 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, actually island land island land, since island comes from an old English word for island land).

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Lakes and other bodies of water

Mountains and hills


Human structures

  • Calatañazor Castle, Spain (Eagles Castle Castle – from Arabic Qal'at an-Nusur, 'Castle of the Eagles')
  • Calatayud Castle, Spain (Jewish Castle Castle – from Arabic Qal'at Yahud, 'Jewish Castle')
  • Calatrava la Vieja Castle and Calatrava la Nueva Castle, Spain (The Old Rabah's Castle Castle and The New Rabah's Castle Castle – from Arabic Qal'at Rabah, Rabah being the first Muslim owner of the first ("old") castle in the 8th century)
  • Carmarthen, Wales (Welsh : Caerfyddin) – (Fort fort by the sea – "Caer"/"Car" = Welsh for fort (from Latin castra), "marthen"/"m(f)yrddin" is Welsh name derived from Latin Moridunum, which itself derived from Brythonic "môr" (sea) and "din"/"dun" (fort))[7]
  • Cartagena, Spain – (New New City – from Latin Carthago Nova, 'New Carthage'; but Carthago itself is from Phoenician Template:Lang, 'New City')
  • Châteaudun, France (Castle Stronghold – French and Gaulish)
  • Cividale, a town in Friuli, Italy – the name comes from Latin "civitas", meaning "city" or "town"
  • El Camino Way in Palo Alto, California (The way way – Spanish)[5]
  • El Pont de Suert, Catalonia, Spain – literally 'the bridge of bridge'; "Pont" is the Catalan word for 'bridge' derived from Latin pons, pontis 'bridge' and "Suert" is the Basque word for 'bridge'
  • El Puente de Alcántara, Toledo, Spain, (The Bridge of the Bridge – Puente from Spanish, Alcántara from Arabic al-qanṭaraht 'the bridge')
  • Forumtorget in Uppsala, Sweden. Forum being the Latin word for square and torget also meaning square. Thus, Square-square.
  • Moorestown Township, New Jersey
  • Napton-on-the-Hill, Warwickshire – Napton means "settlement on the hill"
  • Paese, a small town in Veneto, Italy, whose name means "small town"
  • Rökstenen, a runestone in Sweden
  • Selo, a village near Ajdovščina, Slovenia – the word "selo" means "village" in old Slovene
  • Selo, a village near Sežana, Slovenia – "selo" means "village" in old Slovene
  • Sela na Krasu, a village on the Kras Plateau in western Slovenia – literally meaning "villages on the Kras"
  • Staðarstaður, Iceland (Staður means "a pastor's farm" and is a common suffix to the names of such farms—this means "Pastor's farm which is a pastor's farm")
  • Street Road is a highway that passes through several towns slightly north of Philadelphia, PA – Two nearly synonymous English words
  • Trendle Ring earthwork in Somerset, England (Circle Circle)


See also


  1. Victor Wadds, ed., The Cambridge Dictionary of English Place Names, 2004, s.n. River AVON
  2. Piesarskas, Bronius; Bronius Svecevičus (1995). Lithuanian Dictionary. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-12857-9. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Kansalaisen karttapaikka.
  4. McDonald, Fred; Julia Cresswell (1993). The Guinness Book of British Place Names. London: Guinness Publishing. ISBN 0-85112-576-X. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Merriam-Webster (1998). Merriam-Webster's Spanish-English Dictionary. Springfield, MA: Merriam Webster. ISBN 0-87779-165-1. 
  6. The Debunking of Torpenhow Hill
  7. Hywel Wyn Jones, The Place-Names of Wales, 1998