What is a Tautological Place?

Canyon de Chelly translates to Canyon of Canyon.
Canyon de Chelly translates to Canyon of Canyon.

A tautological place has a name which is made up of two names with the same meaning. The two names are usually from different origins where one word becomes the same as the other when translated into a common language. Tautological places are geographical features with names being derived from a different language (usually a language native to the geographical feature’s location).


There are many rivers whose names make them examples of tautological places. Some of these rivers are found in the United States, including the Canyon de Chelly (canyon de canyon) where “Chelly” is derived from the Navajo word “Tseyi” which translates to “canyon.” Another example in the United States is the Cuyahoga River (crooked river river) whose name is derived from the Mohawk word “Cuyahoga” which means “crooked river.” The Loxahatchee River (turtle river river) in Florida is another example, with the river’s name is made of two native names “Luxa” and “hatchee” which means “Turtle River.” In England, River Avon (river river) is an example of a tautological place since “Avon” is a Welsh word which means “river.” River Humber (river river) in England is another example with “Humber” being a Brythonic word which means “river.” The Futaleufu River (big river river) is an example from Argentina, with its name “Futaleufu” being derived from a Mapuche word which means “Big River.”


Numerous lakes around the world are examples of tautological places. One such lake is a caldera lake in Germany known as Laacher See. “Laacher See” is translated to mean “Lake of the Lake.” An example from France is Lac d’Oo which is derived from the Aragonese word “ibon” which translates to “mountain lake,” making Lac d’Oo also to mean “Lake of the Lake.” Laguna Lake in California is another example of a tautological place since Laguna is a Spanish word which means “lake.” Lake Chad in Africa gets its name from the Bornu term “tsade” which means “lake.” Lake Danao in the Philippines is another example when translated to Cebuano, the lake’s name would mean “Lake lake.” When translated to French, Minnesota’s Mille Lacs Lake would mean “thousand lakes lake.”

Mountains and Hills

Tautological places also include hills and mountains. An interesting example is Bredon Hill in England. In old Brythonic, the hill’s name is translated to mean “the hill hill hill.” Bergeberget is a hill in Norway whose name means “The hill hill” in Norwegian. An example in Wales is Brynhill, a name which is translated from Welsh language which means “Hill hill.” Fjallfjallen is a mountain in Norway which is a tautological place. “Fjallfjallen” is a Norwegian name which means “the mountain mountains.” In Iceland, the Hoffellsfjall is a mountain whose name means “the Monastery Mountain Mountain.” Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro is a tautological place. The mountain’s name is derived from Swahili words “kilima” and “njaro” meaning the “mount mountain of njaro.”


Tautological places prescribe to a formula known as a tautology. Tautology is defined as a formula which is constant regardless of any possible interpretation. The term is used in reference to redundancies of propositional logic as well as rhetorical tautologies.


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