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The 25 Oddest-Named Places in the World

When you’re planning your next vacation, don’t go to another tourist trap, consider adventuring somewhere unique. Why not skip Paris, Venice, Capetown, and the Bahamas and go for Dull, Scotland instead?  

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There are strange place names all around the world. Just for fun—and for educational research, of course—we’ve compiled this delightfully distasteful list. Geographers and hobbyist map lovers, get ready to enjoy the 25 oddest named places in the world. These unusual city and town names just go to show, you can’t judge a town by its name alone.  

1. Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, Wales

Image by Angela May

This village in Wales has one of the longest place names in the world. It’s often shortened to Llanfairpwllgwyngyll or Llanfair PG for simplicity. It translates to St. Mary’s Church in the Hollow of the White Hazel Near to the Rapid Whirlpool of Llantysilio of the Red Cave, which does seem to be a bit specific.

2. Dull, Scotland

Image by Gannet77

This village in Scotland’s name is thought to have come from the Gaelic word for meadow, but it could also be connected to the Gaelic word ‘dul’ meaning snare. They’ve even formed a “Sister Cities” partnership, calling themselves the Dull and Boring pair with Boring, Oregon. This historic town actually enjoys the irony of its name and travelers from all around pose in front of its dull sign. 

3. Batman, Turkey

Image by Yusufgunuz/500 px

Batman, Turkey was named after the nearby Batman River, a name believed to be derived from the ancient Assyrian name “Bāt-mānu” for the region. It gets attention because of its shared name with a fictional superhero—not sure which one, though.

4. Intercourse, Pennsylvania, USA

Image by Bruce Yuanyue

This small town in Pennsylvania has a rather suggestive name, which has led to its popularity among tourists.

5. Accident, Maryland, USA

Accident is a small town in Maryland. As to whether or not the town is, in fact, an accident, that’s hard to say. The name is said to originate from a surveyor’s error, and it certainly lends a ho-hum vibe to the place.

6. The Shire of Bland, Australia

Image by Bland Shire Council

Bland, Australia was named after William Bland, a prominent colonial surgeon and politician in New South Wales during the 19th century. If only the history of Bland wasn’t so . . . bland. 

7. Fucking, Austria

Image by Photography by Mangiwau

Fucking, Austria is named after a nearby river called “Fucking,” which is derived from the Bavarian word “Fuking,” meaning “place of Focko’s people,” with “Focko” being a personal name. This small village in Austria has gained international attention due to its unfortunate name. Signs are frequently stolen by visitors as souvenirs, and they actually officially changed the name to Fugging, Austria in 2020. What a shame.

8. Hell, Norway

Image by Glasshouse Images

Adapted from the Old Norse word hellir, which means “overhang” or “cliff cave,” tourists often visit just to get a picture with the “Welcome to Hell” sign. A common homonym in modern Norwegian for hell means “luck.” Turns out hell isn’t so bad.

9. Zzyzx, California, USA

Image by Stamberger1973

Zzyzx, California got its unusual name from con-artist Curtis Howe Springer, a self-proclaimed medical doctor and radio evangelist who established a spa in the area in the 1940s. He coined the name Zzyzx as a marketing gimmick to make sure it appeared as the last name in health resort listings and would be alphabetically the last place in the United States.

10. Dildo, Canada

Dildo is a small town in Canada known for its unusual name, which has led to its fair share of jokes and media attention. It’s uncertain the origin of the town’s name, but many say that it was named after the wooden oar pegs of boats, which were called dildos.

11. Useless Loop, Australia 

Image by Jennifer Martin

Useless Loop, Australia was named because it was originally believed to be a “useless loop” of land when it was first surveyed. Later, it became home to a solar salt production facility, making it, ironically, quite useful.

12. Middelfart, Denmark

Image by Marco Bottigelli

Middelfart, Denmark is named after its geographical location between two fjords: the Little Belt to the east and the Snævringen Strait to the west. “Fart” refers to a narrow waterway or passage in Danish. Though the name might evoke some unintended humor in English, it is an entirely serious word to the Danes.

13. Satan’s Kingdom, Massachusetts, USA

Image by Itub

The origin of Satan’s Kingdom’s name is unclear, but it certainly sounds ominous. Local rumors suggest it could have come from a forest fire in the days of fire-and-brimstone sermons.

14. Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!, Quebec, Canada

Image by Posnov

Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! is a village in Quebec that’s known for its hard to pronounce yet charming name. It’s believed to be derived from an old French word used to describe an unexpected dead-end or obstacle.

15. Loser, Austria

Loser is a mountain in the Styria region of Austria. The name in English might not inspire much confidence, but it’s a popular and winning ski destination.

16. Chicken, Alaska, USA

Image by Matt Hoover Photo

Legend has it that the town of Chicken in Alaska was named after ptarmigan, a type of bird, but early settlers couldn’t agree on the spelling, so “Chicken” was chosen as a compromise.

17. Shitterton, England

Image by Jameslox

Dating back centuries, “shitter” is derived from the Old English word “scitte,” which means a stream or watercourse. Essentially, it means a settlement near a stream or watercourse, and its resemblance to the word “shitter” is completely unplanned. The name has faced numerous thefts of its road signs due to its humorous connotation.

18. Why, Arizona

Image by Eric Mischke

Disappointingly logical in its name-origin story, Why, Arizona got its moniker from the Y-shaped intersection of two highways in the area, which prompted travelers to question why the roads converged at that point. But why didn’t they try harder to come up with a better name?

19. Purgatory, Colorado, USA

Image by Kellie Enge

Purgatory is a ski resort and village in Colorado. The name raises eyebrows, particularly among the religious set, due to the word’s association with a place where souls get stuck after death while they undergo purification to atone for their sins on Earth.

20. Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, USA 

This city in New Mexico was originally named Hot Springs, but it changed its name to Truth or Consequences in 1950 to get radio show host Ralph Edwards to broadcast from their town.

21. Disappointment Islands, French Polynesia

Matteo Colombo

Known for their stunning coral reefs and traditional Polynesian culture, the Disappointment Islands got their name from British explorer John Byron, who mistakenly believed they were part of the nearby island of Tahiti, and he was supremely disappointed to discover his error. It’s also a disappointment that he didn’t come up with a better name.

22. Hell for Certain, Kentucky, USA

Image by Patrick Jennings

In case you were confused, this is Hell for Certain. This remote area in Kentucky likely got its name from its rugged and challenging terrain.

23. Booger Hole, West Virginia, USA

Image by Matthew T. Carroll

The name may sound like a deep dive into a nasal cavity, but it’s actually a reference to the Appalachian folklore about “boogers” or mythical creatures.

24. Wank, Germany

Image by Markus Spiske

Wank is a mountain in the Bavarian Alps in Germany’s Loisach Valley. Climbing the Wank Mountain can be quite an experience, both because of the view and because of the name.

25. Condom, France

Condom comes from the Celtic word “condatomagos,” which means market or field for gathering or meeting. Strangely, there is no connection to the modern English word for contraceptives, except in your mind.

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