California Place Names: The Origin and Etymology of Current Geographical Names
Absco, a Southern Pacific station, was coined in the 1920s from the name of the American Beet Sugar Company, which had a factory in Oxnard.
Pochea is an Indian village site in Riverside County, said to mean "where the rabbit went in."
Siskiyou was the Chinook word for 'bobtailed horse,' originally taken over from the Cree language. From Abadi Creek to Zzyzyx Spring, thousands of discoveries await the reader of California Place Names. This is the fourth edition, extensively revised and expanded, of a classic work of Californiana. The curious traveler or resident, as well as the serious student, will find a wealth of description and history in these names, as rich and various as the California landscape itself.
Like its predecessors, this edition concentrates on the origins of the names currently used for the cities, towns, settlements, mountains, and streams of California, with engrossing accounts of the history of their usage. It has been updated to incorporate the latest research on California place names published by regional historians and to include new names that have been added to the California map since 1969. Readers will appreciate the local pronunciation of place names with unusual spellings; anyone curious about how to say La Jolla or Weitchpec can find the information here, in phonetic transcriptions. Finally, the many California place names of American Indian origin—such as Yreka, Shasta, Napa, Sonoma, Tamalpais, Yosemite, Lompoc, Mugu, Coachella, or Poway—receive particular attention from editor William Bright. The dictionary includes a Glossary and a Bibliography.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - languagehat - LibraryThing
A superb feat of lexicography, and beautifully produced as well -- one of the few expensive books I haven't been able to resist buying at full price when I saw it in a bookstore (the excellent Chaucer's, in Santa Barbara). Incidentally, Gudde is pronounced "Goody." Read full review
Review: California Place Names: The Origin and Etymology of Current Geographical NamesUser Review - Colin - Goodreads
This is a wonderful compendium. It strikes just the right balance between archivalism and linguistics. The attention paid to folk etymologizing, pseudo-Spanish, and the particular changes this has wrought on the names of aboriginal California is delightful. Read full review