Feb 20, 2009

Paisley & Toponyms


This Scottish toponym (from the town of Paisley, in Renfrewshire) denotes a fabric design that was massively manufactured there in the 19th century, but the design itself is Middle Eastern in origin, having traveled to Europe in the colonial period and become so popular that import could not meet demand. -Visual Thesaurus

The print pictured in this post is from EBB Creations. Modern paisley prints have evolved from the traditional teardrop shape with swirls. Now, one can find just about anything inside the teardrop, including skulls.

A toponym is a noun depicting a name or place. Cheese provides a roundup of names that identify their place of origin. Parmesan (Parma, Italy), Romana (Rome), Gruyère (Switzerland), and Gouda (Netherlands) are culinary staples. Other names such as Lappi (Lapland), Stilton (England), Neufchâtel (Normandie), and Manchego (La Mancha, Spain) represent other regions.

Toponyms describe food, drinks, events, agreements and so on. Byzantine, named after the Byzantine Empire, is used to describe something that is difficult to understand or complex. Words like bikini, canary, and china all represent their birthplace or natural habitat, as with the canary. Caucasian, a name for the "white race", was coined by anthropologist Johann Blumenbach after the Caucasus Mountains, their supposed ancestral homeland. Gypsies, referring to the nomads in Europe and the United States was derived from Egypt.*

*Resource: Wikipedia


  1. I adore paisley. I remember it first as a child, and I have always been drawn to the shapes and colors found within.

    You chose a beautiful example of a toponym.

  2. I always learn something here! I have always loved paisley!

    Hope you are doing well :-)


  3. Paisley, a classic pattern that I love! Thanks for the info! Take care, DebraK

  4. Very informative, as always, KJ. I'm another paisley lover!


Thanks for stopping by!
♫ Karen