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May 09, 2014

A Street Named Desire

Text by Neha Gupta

Ever chuckled at those street names and wondered what in God’s name were they thinking? Well, now you know…

Whip Ma Whop Ma Gate, York, England
They say it could have originated from its first title: Whitnourwhatnourgate, which means, ‘what a street,’ or is derived from the Viking ‘Neither one thing nor the other’ street. Others speculate that whipping posts and stocks in this area during the middle ages may have influenced this tag.

Dumb Woman’s Lane, Sussex, England
Before anyone gets offended, let’s agree that homonyms exist. This English street is named after a mute woman who was known to concoct herbal potions for the ill.

Wong Way, Riverside, California, USA 
No, there’s nothing racist about it. It is named after a certain beloved George Wong believed to be the last local of the then Chinatown here.

Flaming Lips Alley, Oklahoma City, USA
Don’t let your mind race just yet. When the city inaugurated a street in their entertainment district, they fondly dedicated it to this rock band from the 80s.

Bastard Ward, Rideau Lakes, Canada
They don’t mean to be rude. The local tale goes on to say that when a meeting was called to name the township, the chairman failed to show up, keeping the assembled waiting idly for well over an hour. In exasperation, one of them spat, “The bastard is not coming!” And the name was thus conceived.

Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!, Qubec, Canada
What a jolly name, indeed. Without speculating much we can say that the first half was named after a virtuous man. But the second half has been altered with humour. Haha is an archaic French word for an unexpected obstacle.

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