Let's continue with toponyms, specializing with those from heavenly places.
cockaigne – in peasant legand of middle ages: an imaginary country of abundent food and of idle luxury. fig: a place of overflowing abundance. [apparently from older words for cook and cake]
[The figurative sense is rare and not in the dictionaries, but see our quote.]
Cockaigne is the utopia of the poor and the hungry, "the medieval peasant's dream … where cooked birds fly into one's mouth and the streams flow with wine", ... "where the streets are said to be pav’d with half-peck Loaves, the Houses til’d with Pancakes, and where the Fowls fly about ready roasted, crying, Come eat me!" (Edward James, Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction; Benjamin Franklin, Information to Those Who Would Remove to America).
It's believed that the song Big Rock Candy Mountain traces to this legend, and to an old song about the similar place called Lubberland.
– Rosemary Edghill, Bell, Book, and Murder
Elysium – a paradise; a place or condition of ideal happiness (adj. elysian)
[Also Elysian Fields, which in Greek mythology was the abode of the blessed after death]
- Andrew Stephen, New Statesman, Nov. 17, 2003
1. often Paradise The Garden of Eden.
a. The abode of righteous souls after death; heaven.
b. An intermediate resting place for righteous souls awaiting the Resurrection.
3. A place of ideal beauty or loveliness.
4. A state of delight.
[Middle English paradis, from Old French, from Late Latin paradīsus, from Greek paradeisos, garden, enclosed park, paradise, from Avestan pairidaēza-, enclosure, park : pairi-, around + daēzō, wall.]
WORD HISTORY The history of paradise is an extreme example of amelioration, the process by which a word comes to refer to something better than what it used to refer to. The old Iranian language Avestan had a noun pairidaēza-, “a wall enclosing a garden or orchard,” which is composed of pairi–, “around,” and daēza– “wall.” The adverb and preposition pairi is related to the equivalent Greek form peri, as in perimeter. Daēza– comes from the Indo-European root *dheigh–, “to mold, form, shape.” Zoroastrian religion encouraged maintaining arbors, orchards, and gardens, and even the kings of austere Sparta were edified by seeing the Great King of Persia planting and maintaining his own trees in his own garden. Xenophon, a Greek mercenary soldier who spent some time in the Persian army and later wrote histories, recorded the pairidaēza- surrounding the orchard as paradeisos, using it not to refer to the wall itself but to the huge parks that Persian nobles loved to build and hunt in. This Greek word was used in the Septuagint translation of Genesis to refer to the Garden of Eden, whence Old English eventually borrowed it around 1200.
tempean – (of a place) of great and delightful natural beauty
[After Tempe, a charming valley in Thessaly, in Greece]
OED's only cite is "1864 in WEBSTER; hence in mod. Dicts." That is, OED shows no usage of the word outside of dictionaries. (It does give cites for Tempe as "a beautiful valley [or] any delightful rural spot".) But here is one, predating Webster by a couple of decades.
Unveileth its Tempean grace anew
To meet the sun …
– Charles Harpur (1813-1868), Regret (1842)(some editions say Tempèan)
Eden – a paradise of innocence and unspoiled, idyllic peace (adj. edenic)
Shakespeare gives a stunning usage-example: "this scepter'd isle, this earth of majesty, / This other Eden, demi-paradise, / This precious stone set in the silver sea, / This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England." Here are a couple more, though pale by comparison.
[All quotes modified for brevity and further, where deletions require, for clarity.]
– Charlotte Higgins, Guardian Unlimited, Nov 16, 2005
[Ogden Nash, on a couple who graduated from an apartment flat to home-ownership:]
The Murrays are vague about fuses, / And mechanical matters like that,
And each of them frequently muses / On the days when they lived in a flat.
Was the plumbing reluctant to plumb? / Was the climate suggestive of Canada?
Did the radio crackle and hum? / You simply called down to the janada!
The Murrays have found no replacement
For the genius who lived in the basement.
They longed for a hearth and a doorway,
In Arden, or maybe in Eden,
But the Eden is rather like Norway,
And the Arden like winter in Sweden.
Oh, I don't regret / Being wed to you,
But I wish I could wed / A janitor too.
You'll probably never have a chance to use today's toponym, but the name is out of this world. Literally. Insofar as I know, it is the only toponym named for a real (non-fictional) place which is not on earth.
tranquillityite – a certain mineral, a silicate of ferrous iron, titanium, zirconium, and yttrium. Named for Mare Tranquillitatis, the Sea of Tranquillity, on the moon.
The first astronauts on the moon landed in the Sea of Tranquillity, and they collected rock samples to bring back to earth. Analysis revealed that the rocks contained, in addition to familiar matter, three minerals not known on earth. One of these was named armalcolite, for astronauts Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins.
Another was named for the Sea of Tranquillity. It was at first called tranquilite but soon became known as tranquillityite. It may prove important to lunar colonization, for "Of all lunar minerals, tranquillityite is perhaps the most important carrier of the naturally radiogenic elements, uranium and thorium." (P. H. Cadogan, Moon; credit OED)
Bonus Word: The third new mineral, an iron-based mineral of the proxene class, was named pyroxferroite. The name proxene, coined in 1796, means fire-stranger (pyro- πυρο- fire + xenos ξένος stranger), as these rocks were thought to be formed without volcanic processes, without fire. The name seems especially apt for the lunar pyroxferroite, which is a stranger to earth.
P.S. Aput, please advise if my Greek is incorrect!This message has been edited. Last edited by: wordcrafter,
Shangri-La – 1. an imagined paradise on earth 2. a distant hideaway, secluded, peaceful and beautiful
[From the utopia in the novel Lost Horizon be James Hilton (1933), and its 1937 movie. La is Tibetan for 'mountain pass', and the movie was set in Tibet. There is a long history of legends of a paradise in the far east, going back to Marco Polo and the tales of Prester John.]
It is early 1942, shortly after Pearl Harbor, and Japan is rolling through the Pacific. The US launches the Doolittle bombing raid on Tokyo.
– Doris Kearns Goodwin, No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II
And when Roosevelt similarly announced that two battleships had gone "to Shangri-La", Berlin radio confessed that reported that the German authorities had been unable to find that place on the map. (So says one source; I've not been able to confirm.)
Two more-typical examples:
– Loren Pope, Colleges That Change Lives… [etc.]
Best seen in late spring when the rhododendrons are in full bloom, the lush greenery of Craggy Gardens feels like an Appalachian Shangri-la.
– Jamie Jensen, Road Trip USA: Cross-Country Adventures …[etc.]
Well, a number of chemical element names count here. There was a group of three (or perhaps more): uranium named for Uranus, the planet discovered by Herschel in 1781 and the element by Klaproth in 1789; cerium for Ceres, the planet discovered in 1801 and the element in 1803; and palladium for Pallas, planet discovered in 1802 and element in 1803. There was also a vestium, which later proved to be illusory or some other substance. And of course with the rush of small planets discovered after Ceres, Pallas, and Vesta, these were soon downgraded to the name of 'asteroids'. More recent names from planets are neptunium and plutonium.
Helium was named from its 1868 discovery in the Sun's atmosphere, and was originally known only from absorption lines. Another putative element, coronium, was also first identified in the Sun's corona; and was eventually found to be the same line as oxygen.
Named after stars and a constellation, we have denebium, aldebaranium, and cassiopeium. They were eventually ditched in favour of our present names like ytterbium.