My Name is Mud

You may have heard on the news that the village of Dull, Scotland and the town of Boring, Oregon have become sister communities. There is even a Dull and Boring Facebook page.

I have always been fascinated by names and place names are fun too. Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia may sound like some exotic Far Eastern city but in the local language, the name means “Muddy Rivermouth” which essentially is what it was when it was founded.

Paris is sometimes called “the City of Lights” but its name evolved from the Roman name “Lutetia Parisiorum”  which was used up to the 6th century.  The Parisii were a Gaulish clan that first inhabited the area and “lutetia” is of Celtic-Gaelic derivation and is believed to carry the meaning of “a dirty marsh”.  Therefore, Paris actually refers to the “dirty marsh of the Parisii”.  I guess a lot of cities started on some muddy river bank or another.

The BBC asked its viewers to submit other unusual place names that they were aware of.  And so, we now know we can be stuck in a Hole in Devon, UK; have Piles in Greece; be in an Accident, Maryland, USA; visit a Happy Bottom in Dorset, UK; or perhaps Lost in Scotland; visit Les Arses in Switzerland; get a good night’s rest or not in Little Snoring and its larger neighbour, Great Snoring in Norfolk, UK but should avoid breakfast at Rottenegg, Austria.

I personally have been to the village of Ugley in the UK which has the distinction of having an Ugley Village Hall but I cannot verify rumours of an Ugley Women’s Institute!  However, it seems there is a nearby town of Nasty and when a woman from one village married a man from the other, the local newspaper quipped; “Ugley woman marries Nasty man.”



But my personal favorite is Hope, British Columbia.  What’s so strange about an uplifting name like “Hope”, you may ask?  Well, the name is quite nice, I suppose, and the area around the town quite beautiful.  In fact, it has been the place where many movies have been filmed such as Rambo: First Blood and Shoot to Kill.

But what really sticks in my memory from my visit many years ago was this sign by the side of the road that was visible as you drove out of Hope and on towards the Rockies.  It said, “You are now beyond Hope”.


28 thoughts on “My Name is Mud”

  1. I lived in Dunbar, Now I am in Pembine. The last two towns I have lived in. Today a missionary was at church. He and his wife had an interesting display and I checked it very close as it was from Maramar(spelling) Malaysia. He has a Baptist church there. The last time he was in the states was about 5 years ago. I told him it is a small world.

  2. There is also a Fucking, Austria. They want to change their name because they’re sick of tourists making fun of them.

    I laughed my butt off when I moved to Oregon – Boring is about an hour away from me.

  3. I always though Kuala Lumpur was some exotic version of a Koala bear. You’ve ruined it for me! I’ve always loved the goofy names of Texas towns. Here are some:
    Frognot , Texas
    Bigfoot , Texas
    Hogeye , Texas
    Notrees , Texas
    Best, Texas
    Veribest, Texas
    Kickapoo, Texas
    Dime Box , Texas
    Old Dime Box, Texas
    Salty, Texas
    Telephone, Texas
    Telegraph, Texas
    Cut n Shoot, Texas
    Gun Barrell City, Texas
    Hoop And Holler, Texas
    Muleshoe, Texas
    Stampede, Texas

  4. Names have always fascinated me, too. Newfoundland and Labrador have great place names as well. Some of my favourites (in no particular order)
    Tickle Cove (and all the other tickles)
    Happy Valley-Goose Bay

    I had a friend who was from Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! Quebec. the only place name with two exclamation marks.

  5. Mark,
    Surely not! Yet I checked on google and indeed there is Hell on earth and it’s in Michigan. A lot of people have told me to “go to hell”. So now I know where it is. Hmmm. Is it a nice place?

  6. Joyce,
    I puzzled over where this place you mentioned might be. One possibility could be Malacca or Melaka. Otherwise it may be a very small place in East Malaysia. Sorry don’t know which it is. But it is a small world,isn’t it?

  7. geewits,
    Haha! Texans just have to have the biggest and best, don’t they? I enjoyed you list of towns. My favorites are Notree (talk about calling a spade a spade) and Kickapoo (cause I have been a lifelong fan of Lil’ Abner and the Kickapoo Joy Juice).

  8. Violetsky,
    Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! ? With two exclamation marks? Were the founding fathers trying to say that it was a funny or fun loving place or that coming out there was a bad joke? Hmmm. Any explanation for the name?

  9. geewits,
    Why would there be a monkey junction in USA? Monkeys are not native to USA. But monkeys are native to Japan and I once stayed briefly at a place called Wild Monkeys, Japan because there used to be wild monkeys there. If that wasn’t funny enough, I once went past a roadsign pointing the direction to “Wild Monkeys Psychiatric Hospital – Outpatients Wing”. Few things worse than mentally unstable wild monkeys!

  10. Maybe the people living at Wild Monkeys, Japan would like to visit Asylum, PA. My state also carries a few unforgettable town names such as:

    Bath Addition, PA
    Bird-in-Hand, PA
    Bumpville, PA
    Burning Well, PA
    Burning Cabins, PA
    Hazard, PA
    Panic, PA
    Rough and Ready, PA

    And yes we have a town called Intercourse. But we also have a town called Virginville.

    And if folks visit Hell, MI than they must come visit Paradise, PA. I visit from time-to-time and its quite nice. 🙂

  11. I have heard of a ha ha as a garden term meaning a trenched wall.
    some sources say this is an archaic French term for a dead end or obstructed path.

  12. About Intercourse, PA – Pennsylvania is indeed Quaker country but Intercourse is an Amish community – name was related to business dealings. I bet they had no idea how others would take it!

    I lived for years in Meansville, GA.

  13. There are a lot of small towns in Ireland named, albeit informally, One Horse!
    Can’t imagine why any town fathers would call their town Dull or Boring….Maybe a sly attempt to keep tourists and blow-ins away from a really vibrant and interesting place? Because they wanted to keep it all for themselves?

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