From time to time we will all pass a place or perhaps encounter a road with a name so wonderfully silly that we just have to stop and have our picture take next to it – we really are all guilty of this innocent pleasure from time to time.
True, what’s rude and frankly hilarious in one language and culture could not be moribund in another, but this doesn’t mean that simple and rather dull logic should prevent us from celebrating our world heritage in all its delightfully childish glory!
10 Wetwang UK
A small and quite painfully picturesque hamlet found in the UK, the 670-ish residents of Wetwang (sometimes called Wetwangers) are fiercely proud of both their village and its often smirked-over name. The village has existed for centuries and was around way before the latter syllable of the name was first used as a description for a certain extremity of the male, though feel free not to let this brief history lesson in any way dilute the inescapably amusing modern connotation.
Say what you want about your own town and cast your own aspersions on those of others, but if there was ever a true Hell on Earth, it is to be found in Michigan. Quite literally in fact, with the historic town of Hell, which can be found just a stones-throw away from Ann Arbour. There are countless theories of how the name first came to be with most stating that poorly translated foreign language is the answer. On the other hand, others claim the town’s founder was ridiculously uninterested in the name, telling the residents saying they could name it Hell as far as he was concerned.
Seriously? Yes, very seriously indeed and the charming town of Tittybong can be found in Australia, albeit somewhat in the middle of nowhere – in traditional Australian style. Sadly, there aren’t a great many residents to proudly boast the name of their town to the rest of the world, with few over 10,000 people in total populating this quaint little slice of the Outback.
The kind of place you stumble across without meaning to, or maybe somewhere you better have decent insurance before visiting? Or perhaps even a town that should never have come to be, were it not for the drunken backseat romp of two larger towns? Feel free to ponder on it to your heart’s content, but the Maryland town of Accident plays host to few more than 350 residents, who according to certain sources are rather proud to be known as ‘Accidentals’.
6 Butt Hole Road
Having grown up just yards from this particular street in all its glory I can personally verify its authenticity. A childhood favorite and of truly legendary status across the schools of South Yorkshire, Butt Hole Road was a street to be found in Conisbrough in the north of England. Visitors from all four corners of the world used to slam on the brakes for a picture by the once proud roadside, though sadly in typical ‘British’ style, the street has been reborn as Archers Way to prevent embarrassment.
Give me a break….
Over to Denmark now and the centrally located town of Middelfart never fails to create quite the giggle, with road-trippers often going well and truly out of their way to pose with the sign – often for the benefit of the kids of course. Not that the Middelfart region isn’t worth a visit in its own right, with some charming historical attractions and an equally charming 14,000 or so residents.
4 Sandy Balls
Back in England now and to an example that has retained its name unless the ‘embarrassment’ of Conisbrough, the hugely popular and historical holiday center of Sandy Balls can be found in Hampshire, owing its name to the time of Henry VIII.
Perhaps the history of the name is the reason for its continuation…not that I remain bitter about the South Yorkshire example of course.
Twatt is the name of a small, remote village found in Scotland, more specifically the Shetland Islands. The actual name itself derives from a historical Norse term which translates as ‘small parcel of land’; which it has to be said is a thousand times more charming than its current meaning when used in slang English terms.
Indeed, the settlement of Twatt is listed as the fourth rudest name to be found anywhere in Britain – the remaining three you will have find elsewhere as they are rather to near the bone to list here.
And for your information, there is also another Twatt in Orkney…
The entries are indeed coming thick and fast from the UK, with our number-2 being the considerably less rude though entirely more bizarre Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate – which is the smallest street in the city of York and is perhaps one of the most charming too.
Not that its merit matters here of course as all we are interested in is the ridiculous name, which according to an official translation provided on the road itself states that the handle originates from “Whitnourwhatnourgate” which in turn translates as “What a street”.
Others contest this however and adamantly state the correct translation is closer to “Neither one thing nor the other”.
1 Taumata whakatangihanga koauau o Tamatea turi pukaka piki maunga horo nuku pokai whenua ki tana tahu
If you have even made an attempt to read our final entry correctly than Kudos to you, as for all those who suspected that the charming town of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch in Wales carried an impressive and frankly terrifying mouthful of a name, tremble at the might of Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokai
This modest hill of 305 meters with a less-than-modest moniker can be found in Southern New Zealand and takes the title of longest name using the English alphabet today.
Needless to say, the name is usually abbreviated to Taumata, even by those living in the locality.
For those looking for meaning, the term is said to translate as “The summit where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the climber of mountains, the land-swallower who travelled about, played his nose flute to his loved one.”
Unimpressed? Well, there is always the alternative 105 letter name for the same place of Taumata-whakatangihanga-koauau-o-Tamatea-haumai-tawhiti-ure-haea-turi-pukaka-piki-maunga-horo-nuku-pokai-whenua-ki-tana-tahu, which in this instances translates as “The hill of the flute playing by Tamatea — who was blown hither from afar, had a slit penis, grazed his knees climbing mountains, fell on the earth, and encircled the land — to his beloved”.
Just rolls of the tongue beautifully, doesn’t it?