Long, Longer, Longest

Pursuant to last week’s musings on place names, a reader offered this by email:

The longest city name is Bangkok.

“Huh?” you might be asking yourself. In my case, that would be short for “For goodness sake, Edmonton is longer than that,” to draw an example not entirely at random. But the answer is that Bangkok is, effectively, the city’s nickname. Here’s the whole thing, from the Guinness Book of Records.


As an aside, this appears to be one of those Dick/Richard, Bill/William, Peggy/Margaret, Sally/Sarah, Polly/Mary nicknames, where the short version doesn’t actually appear in the long, unlike Doug/Douglas. But let’s not get started on nicknames. Well, maybe just a pause to note that this phenomenon is not limited to English. Pepe is the nickname for José, and Paco for Francisco.

If you’d like to explore some other long place names, check this out. And for Canadian places, we can of course turn to Macleans, although Wiki has other ideas, offering Pekwachnamaykoskwaskwaypinwanik Lake in Manitoba (apparently Cree for “where the wild trout are caught with fishing hooks”).

All going to show that there are, if not exactly an endless supply of ways to categorize place names, then at least likely more ways than we strictly need. But need, schmeed, when we’re having fun, right?

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12 Responses to Long, Longer, Longest

  1. Tom Watson says:


    Do I have to know how to pronounce it if I go there?

  2. Jim Taylor says:

    My recollection of Bangkok is that, along with possibly the world’s longest name, the women had the shortest skirts. Not that I was watching, of course….

    Jim T

  3. John Whitman says:

    Isabel – just imagine what it would be like to edit a document written in the English translation of Cree, or maybe worse, Thai.

  4. Mary Gibson says:

    Is there a place where the wild trout are NOT caught with fishing hooks?

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Mary – I know, right? But maybe this was the short name for “where wild trout are so plentiful you can catch them with hooks, not just with nets.” But a career spent trying to figure out what people meant to say has biased me to assuming they meant something.

  5. Barry Jewell says:

    re: “what people meant to say has biased me to assuming they meant something”

    Sure – and with some it just means that their mouth is open

  6. barbara carlson says:

    To Krug-sit residents, a short city name must seem like just toddler vocalization and their city name — the same!

    So how did “Bangkok” become its nickname?

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Barbara – That’s funny: toddler vocalizations. Or the short, sharp way a three-year-old speaks: “I want. You do. Give me.” As for the nickname, it seems that it might have been the colloquial name or an anglicization thereof. In Thai, the short form of the ceremonial name is Krung Thep Maha Nakhon or just Krung Thep.

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