Placenames of the World: Origins and Meanings of the Names for 6,600 Countries, Cities, Territories, Natural Features and Historic Sites, 2d ed.
A placename is often much more than just a label. A name may bespeak the history of a nation, the culture of a people, or the hopes of an individual. Such connections are revealed in this very large reference work on placenames of the world, which offers an in-depth look at the origins of each. First published in 1997, this 2006 edition contains 6,000+ entries—natural features such as mountains, rivers and lakes and human entities such as cities and countries. Each entry includes the name of the feature; a brief description and its geographical location; and the origin of the name with relevant historical, biographical and topographical details. Appendices give the meanings of common elements of non–English placenames (e.g., Abu, as in Abu Dhabi, means “father of”); major placenames in European languages (e.g., Pays-Bas and Paesi Bassi are the French and Italian names, respectively, for what English speakers call the Netherlands); and transcribed Chinese-language equivalents for the names of the world’s countries and capitals.
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