The naming of waterfalls

Hudson, Brian J. (2012) The naming of waterfalls. Geographical Research, pp. 1-9.

View at publisher


As features of the landscape, waterfalls have been studied extensively by geographers, but the names given to these landforms have received relatively little scholarly attention. This paper examines the naming of waterfalls and addresses the question of classifying these hydronyms. The subject is considered in a global historical context, focusing on place names in the anglophone world. Until the 18th and 19th centuries, relatively few waterfalls were named.With the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, water power rose in economic importance, and at the same time, there was a growing scientific and aesthetic engagement with the landscape. These developments are suggested as reasons for the increased interest in waterfalls which were then being recorded in topographical literature and on maps, individual names being given to increasing numbers of falls. European exploration added to the knowledge of the world’s waterfalls, many of which were given names by their ‘discoverers’. This naming process accelerated with the growth of domestic and overseas tourism which exploited scenic resources such as waterfalls. Until now, research on the names of waterfalls has been fragmentary, and the classification of these hydronyms has been neglected. This paper demonstrates that waterfall names can be classified in accordance with a recognised toponymic typology. Using examples drawn from waterfall guidebooks, databases, maps, and other sources, the following discussion supports George Stewart’s claim that his toponymic classification is valid for place names of all kinds.

Impact and interest:

4 citations in Scopus
3 citations in Web of Science®
Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

ID Code: 56396
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Waterfalls , Place Names, Hydronyms, George R. Stewart, Typology
DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-5871.2012.00780.x
ISSN: 1745-5871 (online) 1745-5863 (print)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Civil Engineering & Built Environment
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 The author and Institute of Australian Geographers.
Deposited On: 14 Jan 2013 04:53
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2013 15:27

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page