Toponym of the day

Fri Dec 15, 2006

I’m currently writing a TOEFL textbook for Transglobal Prep school for some extra cash. Ironically I’ll be using the money I make to buy more overpriced textbooks for next semester in Print Futures (It’s going to be an awesome semester, I’m especially looking forward to the tech writing and document design courses).

Anyway, I’ve been hashing away at this 500 page book due next week and came up with some insights. First of all, let me give you some of the unobvious pros and cons of freelancing:


  • You can write all day in your pajamas

  • You never have to shave any part of your body…ever

  • You can take as many showers as you want

  • There is no commute

  • You can sleep in


  • There’s no gossiping around the watercooler

  • You have to be so self disciplined that…

  • you’ll realize that you’re the worst boss you’ve ever had

  • If you like leaving the house now and again you’re out of luck

  • When you’re done for the day you can’t leave

One slightly interesting thing I discovered while researching the civil war, the American revolution and the tourist attractions of Illinois and Kentucky (don’t ask) was…toponymy. If you don’t know what that is, go to Wikipedia. Also on the Wiki, here is a real example (WARNING: offensive language) of an unusual place name.

I thought I’d start a toponym of the day, where I present the origins of a placename that I’ve come across in my research. Geeky, but what else can I do with all the useless facts that I’m learning?

So, without further ado, today’s placename is…


Winnipeg, in Canada, owes its name to the Algonquins. Winnipig was the Algonquin word meaning dirty water, a possible non tribute to the Red River, which flows near Winnipeg (Source: Turnip Smith).

I checked this out, and according to the official Winnipeg website, “the name WINNIPEG has its origin in the Indian Cree name given to the lake 64kms north, meaning “Win”, muddy, “nipee”, water”.

Either way, Winnipeg means dirty water. Sorry guys.

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