An amusing little quiz at The Volokh Conspiracy:

In English, the names of most European countries are at least related to their names in the native tongue, e.g., France/France, Ireland/Eire, Russia/Rossiya. Which European countries have English names that have virtually nothing to do with their local names?

See the link for his definition of Europe (basically, it excludes the Caucasus, which is reasonable) and, of course, for his answers, which are also the ones that I came up with (give or take a little hairsplitting, and what’s the fun of such a quiz without hairsplitting?). Thanks to Stephen Laniel for the link.


  1. It’s a shame that countries federated or united under a single kingdom don’t get considered. If they were then the whole “Srbija-Crna Gora” thing goes away.
    And then I’d be able to contribute undoubtedly the best example in English:
    Welsh: Cymru – Our nation
    English: Wales – Nasty foreigners

  2. I can’t believe I forgot Greece.
    Also, I’d say that while the Netherlands are officially referred to in English as such, the colloquial term “Holland” is at least as common. The Netherlands are also unusual in that people of that nationality are referred to by *another* completely different name. Which brings up the whole debate over whether it’s offensive to call people from the US “Americans.”

  3. Not to mention the entirely different debate over whether it’s offensive to call people from Russia “Russians” if they aren’t ethnic Russians. And if so, what do you call Russians, Tatars, Nenets, and Ingush as an umbrella term? What a complicated world we live in.

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