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Place Names Quizzes, Trivia and Puzzles
Place Names Quizzes, Trivia

Place Names Trivia

Place Names Trivia Quizzes

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Quizzes here relate to the etymology of place names - their origins and meanings. Quizzes about identifying the names of places can be found in the Geography category of the same name.
19 Place Names quizzes and 202 Place Names trivia questions.
Australian Place Names What Do They Mean
  Australian Place Names- What Do They Mean?   top quiz  
Photo Quiz
 10 Qns
You don't need to be an expert on Australian geography to play my quiz. The pictures should give lots of hints.
Easier, 10 Qns, ozzz2002, Sep 04 17
ozzz2002 gold member
Sep 04 17
480 plays
  Words from the Names of Cities and Towns   best quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Some of the most interesting words in the English language are derived from the names of world cities, towns or village. See if you can't recognize some of these fascinating terms!
Average, 10 Qns, thejazzkickazz, May 20 19
thejazzkickazz gold member
May 20 19
7278 plays
  British Place Name Derivations    
Classification Quiz
 12 Qns
Given twelve names of British places, can you correctly sort them into categories based on how their names originated?
Average, 12 Qns, rossian, Nov 11 22
rossian editor
Nov 11 22
422 plays
The Truth  About Australian Place Names
  The Truth About Australian Place Names   top quiz  
Photo Quiz
 10 Qns
In this Adventure in Authoring quiz I was required to write a quiz on "Truth". Now Australians like me love to spin a yarn. We don't let the facts get in the way of a good story. So how many of the following Australian place name stories are true?
Average, 10 Qns, 1nn1, Jul 09 17
1nn1 gold member
Jul 09 17
277 plays
Multicultural Alaska
  Multicultural Alaska    
Photo Quiz
 10 Qns
Alaska is a huge land, plenty of room for diverse place names from many cultures.
Average, 10 Qns, wjames, Nov 15 16
wjames gold member
261 plays
  Geographical Eponyms   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 15 Qns
Eponyms are common nouns derived from proper names. Common nouns deriving from geographical names describing where certain things were found, produced or sold, are sometimes called geographical eponyms. Try out some of the easier cases.
Average, 15 Qns, flem-ish, Dec 14 19
Dec 14 19
3664 plays
  O Capital! My Capital!   top quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Names of capital cities are well known, but have you ever wondered where the name came from? Me too.
Average, 10 Qns, 480154st, Feb 11 18
480154st gold member
Feb 11 18
564 plays
  Etymological World Capitals    
Match Quiz
 10 Qns
Match these ten world capitals to the word or phrase that gave each city its name.
Average, 10 Qns, Joepetz, Mar 19 20
Joepetz gold member
Mar 19 20
454 plays
  General (and Admiral) Geography    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
The geographic features are named for military leaders: generals, admirals and some people of lower grades.
Average, 10 Qns, wjames, Mar 03 23
wjames gold member
Mar 03 23
387 plays
  Origin of USA State Names    
Multiple Choice
 15 Qns
The names of the US states are as diversified as the country: some are from Native American languages, some are Spanish or French. Many refer to historic persons, others to rivers, some even to the colour of the soil. Check your knowledge.
Tough, 15 Qns, flem-ish, Dec 10 22
Dec 10 22
2029 plays
trivia question Quick Question
Bourne, burn, born is very common. Examples: Eastbourne, Fishbourne, Bournemouth, Blackburn, etc. What do those endings mean?

From Quiz "More British Placenames"

  Onomastics: Hidden Meanings Of Placenames    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Not only ordinary words but also names of countries, cities, etc. often have a surprising origin. See which of these you can identify.
Average, 10 Qns, flem-ish, Oct 27 19
Oct 27 19
2254 plays
  Placenames in Britain    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
With just a little bit of basic background knowledge, the place names on a map of Britain become suddenly so transparent. This quiz invites you to decode some of the more common 'etymologies'.
Tough, 10 Qns, flem-ish, Feb 11 17
991 plays
  English County Names    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Do you know where the names of English counties came from? This quiz tests your knowledge of language and history rather than the geography of England.
Tough, 10 Qns, riotgrrl, Jul 15 08
1147 plays
  English Place Names Quiz Challenge    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
There are numerous elements which form part of English place names. This quiz is on the meaning of some of them.
Difficult, 10 Qns, tnrees, Jun 16 09
787 plays
  More British Placenames    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Part of British history can be found back in the many Latin, Welsh, Old Norse and Gaelic placenames that complete the Anglo-Saxon picture a map of Britain offers. Finding out what a placename means is often easier than you might think. Just have a try.
Tough, 10 Qns, flem-ish, Aug 12 13
644 plays
  Origins of British Place Names 2    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
My first quiz on this subject got some great feedback, so here's the second in what may become a longer series! Same as before, I'll give the county and meaning, you choose the city/town/village. Good Luck!
Difficult, 10 Qns, woboogie, Jul 15 08
521 plays
  Origins of British Place Names 1    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
I'll give you the county and the location's original meaning, you choose the modern name from the list. All information is taken from the 'Oxford Dictionary of Place Names'. Good Luck!
Tough, 10 Qns, woboogie, Jul 15 08
607 plays
  Understanding English Placenames    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Why not try an educated guess at the meaning of some English placenames. Test your sixth sense for language..and history!
Difficult, 10 Qns, flem-ish, Jul 15 08
481 plays
  Origins Of American Placenames    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
In a "young country" like the U.S.A., the names of towns and regions are often etymologically very transparent, yet there are quite a few "surprises". Just check some here.
Difficult, 10 Qns, flem-ish, Jul 15 08
633 plays

Place Names Trivia Questions

1. According to legend, in 1191 Duke Berchtold V of Zähringen vowed to name his new town after the first animal he killed while out hunting. That animal was a bear (bar in the local language), so the town became which European capital city?

From Quiz
O Capital! My Capital!

Answer: Bern, Switzerland

Bern has a bear pit which was built in the 16th century, although it is unoccupied these days. There are bears in a large open air enclosure near the bear pit though as well as in the Bern zoo. Bern is also home to several impressive fountains, one of which is "The Kindlifresserbrunnen", which translates as "Child Eater Fountain" and depicts an ogre eating a child with a bag containing several more at his side.

2. Which country in South America is named for a Caracas native that led the overthrow of many Spanish colonies?

From Quiz General (and Admiral) Geography

Answer: Bolivia

Simón Bolívar was born in Caracas in 1783. In the early 1800s, revolts against Spanish rule raged across South America, many led or inspired by Bolivar. A Republic was declared in Bolivia 1825 after armies led by Bolívar and Antonio José de Sucre joined forces. Bolivar became the first President of Bolivia and Sucre was the second.

3. In English place names what is the usual meaning of the suffix "-by"?

From Quiz English Place Names

Answer: Farmstead or village.

It usually comes from the old Norse and often follows a personal name. There are exceptions such as Sutterby in Lincolnshire which comes from shoe makers and both Hunmanby (Yorkshire) and Hunsonby (Cumbria) which were inhabited by dog keepers or Ferrensby (Yorkshire) inhabited by people from the Faroe islands. It is usually found in danelaw - the north east of England which was occupied by the Vikings. Ingleby, for example, means village of the English and comes from an area particularly heavily settled by Vikings. Sometimes it is shortened from the old English -byrig or fortified place.

4. Nottinghamshire. From the Old English (Anglo-Saxon) 'Homestead of the family or followers of a man called Snot'. What city, famous in literature and legend, is this?

From Quiz Origins of British Place Names 1

Answer: Nottingham

The original 9th century name 'Snotingeham' lost the initial 'S' in the 12th century due to Norman influence. Can you imagine being the Sheriff of Snottingham?

5. In the 1920s in the United States everyone was dancing. One of the most popular dances of that era was the charleston, which was named after a city in which southern U.S. state?

From Quiz Words from the Names of Cities and Towns

Answer: South Carolina

The charleston is a funny looking dance, really. During the dance participants bend their knees inward and thrust out their legs in a most tortuous manner. Perhaps the phrase 'roaring 20s' came from the screams of pain involved in doing dances like the charleston? While there are some other towns or cities in the southeastern US, they are not the source of the dance's name.

6. What may Spitalfields in Greater London have got its name from?

From Quiz Understanding English Placenames

Answer: fields belonging to a hospital

In 1394 the place was still called Seintmariespitel. This plot of land belonged to the Priory of St Mary Spital (founded in 1197). Spitals were the lowest category of hospitals, and were meant for beggars and for the poor in general.

7. Checkpoint Charlie at the junction of Friedrich and Kochstrasse in Berlin got its name from ________________________

From Quiz Onomastics: Hidden Meanings Of Placenames

Answer: the letter C in the Nato phonetic Code

No Ray Charles involved...and no pubkeeper either. Charlie only became "the commies" in Vietnam. Checkpoint Alpha was at Helmstedt-Marienborn ; Checkpoint Bravo was at Dreilindne-Drewitz. In contrast to ALpha and Bravo Charlie was open around the clock.

8. Where does the name 'Kent' originate?

From Quiz English County Names

Answer: From the Celtic Cantii people

The Romans named the county Kention for the Cantii tribe. Canterbury means 'the city of the people of Kent'.

9. From which European island did a certain type of fish get its name?

From Quiz Geographical Eponyms

Answer: Sardinia

When name-giving happens the other way round, fishes being named after a particular place, it's usually in the first place a marketing technique: Dover sole, Galway oysters...

10. After which French King was Louisiana named?

From Quiz Origin of USA State Names

Answer: Louis XIV, the Sun King

Louis XIV born 1638, became King at five. Famous for his 'I am the State'-attitude. Plenty of love affairs. Madame de Montespan and others. Died in 1715. Louis XVI. Married to Marie-Antoinette of Austria. Guillotined in 1793. Louis XVIII, his brother, was put on the throne after the demise of Napoleon. Died in Paris in 1824. Louis IX, died of the plague during a crusade. Declared a saint.

11. In Welsh placenames (LLandudno; Llandovery; Llangollen; Llanthony) the word 'Llan-' often pops up. What does it mean?

From Quiz More British Placenames

Answer: church

Although Llananthony seems to mean St. Anthony's Church the origin is Llandewi Nant Hodni, which means St. David's Church in the valley of the Honddu River. Llangollen = St. Collens Church. Llandudno is St.Tudno's church. Llandovery = church by the stream.

12. The Mamas and the Papas told us we can't trust this day, but Tajiks certainly do as the capital of Tajikistan is Dushanbe. What does Dushanbe mean in Tajik language?

From Quiz O Capital! My Capital!

Answer: Monday

The original unnamed village had a popular market which was held on Mondays. This led to it being referred to as Dushanbe Bazar (Monday Market). Whilst under Soviet rule, the town grew at a huge pace and was renamed Stalinabad, but in 1961 it reverted to Dushanbe.

13. The name "Gibraltar" is the Spanish derivation of a name based on that of an invading general in the 8th century. What is the ethnicity of this name and of the general?

From Quiz General (and Admiral) Geography

Answer: Arab

"Gibraltar" is a Spanish approximation of "Jabal Tariq" meaning "Mountain of Tariq", named for Tariq ibn Ziyad who invaded what is current-day Spain in 711. The "Mountain of Tariq" is now known as the Rock of Gibraltar. There are no surviving contemporaneous accounts of Tariq ibn Ziyad; the earliest date from the 12th century. Most say he was a slave who was freed by the Emir of North Africa and given a generalship and mission to invade the Iberian Peninsula.

14. In English place names what is the meaning of the suffix "-caster"?

From Quiz English Place Names

Answer: City, Roman town or old fortification

It also takes the form chester or cester. The name comes from the Latin castrum or camp via the old English. Often they were old Roman settlements and sometimes the name includes the Roman name. For instance Dorchester comes from an abbreviated form of Durnovaria. Manchester was originally Mamucium, perhaps meaning place on the breast shaped hills!

15. Bedfordshire. 'Farmstead in or by a marsh owned by the Moreteyn family.' What is the modern name of this town?

From Quiz Origins of British Place Names 2

Answer: Marston Moretaine

Though probably an easier 'giveaway', I included Marston Moretaine (also spelled 'Morteyn' on some road signs) because this town is where my great grandfather was born in 1860 and my family lived there for many generations. It was recorded as 'Merestone' in the 'Domesday Book' and 'Marston Morteyn' by 1383. Located in Wiltshire, Marston Meysey comes from the manorial affix 'of the Meysi family' c. 1259. Northamptomshire's Marston Trussell, is also from a 13th century manorial affix of the Trussel family. Marston Magna, Somerset, is from 1248. 'Great Merstone'. from the Latin affix 'magna' meaning 'great'.

16. Kent. A combination of an ancient Celtic name and Old English, "Stronghold or fortified town of the people of Kent." Can you name this city?

From Quiz Origins of British Place Names 1

Answer: Canterbury

From AD 805-10, Canterbury was 'Cantuarabyrg'. The common suffix -bury comes from the Old English 'burh' meaning town or settlement.

17. Many foods are named for cities around the world. One example is this type of meat that is named for a city in Italy.

From Quiz Words from the Names of Cities and Towns

Answer: Bologna

Bologna is a wonderful city in eastern Italy known in part for being the birthplace of the lovely pork sausage called bologna (which for some odd reason is now pronounced 'baloney' in the United States). Strangely enough, the term baloney is synonymous with 'hogwash' (or 'nonsense'). There is nothing nonsensical about the city of Bologna, I can assure you.

18. Where did the Ermine Street get its name from?

From Quiz Understanding English Placenames

Answer: street through the lands of the Earningas

Would have been a rather big estate for just one Lord. The Ermine Street ran from near Pevensey to York. London and York were on that road. There was also an Ermine Street that ran from Gloucester to Silchester.

19. Some U.S.A. Names have their origins in French. An example is Teton Mountains and Grand Teton. What did Teton originally mean?

From Quiz Origins Of American Placenames

Answer: teat

Roof in French would be 'toit' ; the word for head is 'tete'. And though most mountains are "rocky", not all mountain chains have been called the Rocky Mountains.

20. Where does the 'Hamp' in Hampshire come from?

From Quiz English County Names

Answer: From the Norman town of 'Hamptun'

The town later became known as Southampton, but the original county name stuck.

21. From which European island did a certain metal get its name?

From Quiz Geographical Eponyms

Answer: Cyprus

Copper ... Cyprus is also the island with which Aphrodite has a special link. After being born from the foam of the sea she stepped ashore on Cyprus.

22. A popular ending for placenames in Britain is 'bury' which means 'borough' from Anglosaxon 'burh' or fortified place. Examples: Glastonbury, Shaftesbury and Salisbury, which is actually a mispronunciation of what earlier name?

From Quiz Placenames in Britain

Answer: Sarisbury

As all who visited Old Sarum will know, the original city had a different location.The Romans called the city Sorviodunum. The Anglo-Saxons renamed it Searu-burgh, in which burgh translates the Latin dunum, a fortification. In the Domesday Book it is recorded as Sarisberie. Normans had some problems with the pronunciation of an R and made an L of it, more or less in the same way as when some Asians turn 'rice' into 'lice' or French 'riz' into 'du lit'.

23. Blackpool is a coastal town in northern England, but which capital city is also named Black Pool in the country's native tongue?

From Quiz O Capital! My Capital!

Answer: Dublin, Ireland

In classical Irish, Dubh means black, and lind means pool, so the city that was formed on a tidal pool where the River Poddle joins the River Liffey was called Dubhlind. This evolved over time to Dublinn and eventually Dublin. It is of course the city where, according to the traditional folk song, Molly Malone wheeled her cart selling cockles and mussels.

24. Which Western Hemisphere country contains the State of Guerrero, named for a general in that country's war of independence?

From Quiz General (and Admiral) Geography

Answer: Mexico

Acapulco is the largest and most well known city in the Mexican State of Guerrero. Vicente Guerrero was a successful general in the Mexican War of Independence (1810-1821). Guerrero served as the second President of Mexico, but only for eight months in 1829 as different factions in the new country vied for power.

25. In English place names what is the meaning of the element "dean"?

From Quiz English Place Names

Answer: Either valley or pasture - particularly a swine pasture.

Dean comes from one of two old English words - either denu meaning valley or denn meaning pasture. The meaning "pasture" is most frequently found in Kent and Sussex. There are numerous other elements meaning valley such as comb, dale or slade. Many place names include personal names. They were mostly men but Buckden (Huntingdonshire) was named after a lady called Bucge.

26. Gloucestershire. "Gravelly cottage(s)". A short, simple meaning, but for which place?

From Quiz Origins of British Place Names 2

Answer: Sezincote

Recorded in the 'Domesday Book' as 'Ch(i)esnecote', Seznicote is from the Old English 'cisen' plus 'cot'. Also found in Gloucestershire, Sharpness is recorded in the 'Domesday Book' as 'Nesse' and in 1368 'Schobbenasse', 'Headland of a man called Scobba'. From the Old English personal name 'Scobba' plus 'naess', meaning headland. Seething, Norfolk, recorded in the 'Domesday Book' as 'Sithinges' comes from the Old English personal name plus 'ingas' and probably means '(Settlement of) the followers or family of a man named Sith(a)'. Buckinghamshire's Shalstone or 'Celdestone' in the 'Domesday Book', possibly means 'farmstead at the shallow place or stream.' From Old English 'sceald' plus 'tun'.

27. Yorkshire. Which northern city bears an ancient Celtic name meaning 'estate of a man named Eburos' or 'yew-tree estate'.

From Quiz Origins of British Place Names 1

Answer: York

An ancient city, the Romans called York 'Eboracum'. Later, Anglo-Saxons called it 'Eoforwic' and the Vikings 'Jorvik'. York is a beautiful city, long established as an important political and religious center.

28. What is the modern name of the town that was described as Salopescira or Sciropescira in the Domesday Book?

From Quiz Understanding English Placenames

Answer: Shrewsbury

Shropshire has the same etymology as Shrewsbury, but it is not a town. Though the name Salop is etymologically correct for Shropshire it bears an unpleasant resemblance to French salope (a slut). Salisbury derives from Sarisberie. The Normans found it easier to pronounce the name of "Sarum" with an -l- rather than with an -r- and so Salisbury was born.

29. What did the Spanish Atlantic islands "the Canaries" get their name from?

From Quiz Onomastics: Hidden Meanings Of Placenames

Answer: from Latin canis: the Dogs' Islands

The canaries are here indeed, but those songbirds got their name from the name of the islands and not the other way round. No Roman governor involved either but the Latin author Plinius signals the presence of wild dogs here , which seems to have led to the Latin name Canariae Insulae being given to these "Dogs' Islands".

30. Catskill in the State of New York is supposed to have Dutch origins. What did the name originally mean?

From Quiz Origins Of American Placenames

Answer: stream where cats come

"Kaatsen" or "fives" is a popular sport in the Low Countries, but it would be hard to practise it on a hill. The word "kill" refers to water and may mean a stream, a creek. In some Flemish dialects it is still used to refer to a "pool of water" as left behind by the sea at ebbtide.

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