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How certain neighborhoods in DC got their names

Did you know Brightwood got its name thanks to a suggestion from a local tavern owner because the post office kept confusing it with a city in Maryland?

WASHINGTON — A chart detailing Washington, D.C.'s hidden etymologies is generating buzz online.

The infographic takes a look at the history and origins behind some of the neighborhood names in the nation's capital.

The information provided by @etymologynerd, a college student studying linguistics, was gathered through online research, books, and city records.

From the chart, we learn the Brightwood neighborhood was originally called Brighton, before a local tavern owner suggested the name change because the post office kept confusing it with a city in Maryland. 

Takoma is believed to be a Native American word meaning "near heaven," while Douglass is named after abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who lived in a farmhouse a mile away. 

Trinidad takes its name after the Caribbean island, Ivy City is named after a poet who was obsessed with the plant, and Foggy Bottom is so named because its geography makes it more susceptible to accumulate fog and smoke. 

And NoMa means, well, north of Massachusetts Street.

These are just a few neighborhoods and their origins highlighted in the chart.

See the full chart below:


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