A Truly Grand Canyon

“This area of the map is a little plain. Let’s see… that area’s probably close to Nevada or Arizona. Hrm, a canyon would be nice. The Great Canyon? Too obvious a parallel.  The Great Rift? The Glorious Chasm. Hrm. Maybe something more dramatic. The Earthwound? That sounds better but just a little too… too something. The Scar? That works. Simple. Evocative. But I want to emphasise what it is. Scar Cliffs. That’s good. Oh, that sounds a little too much like the Sea Cliffs by the coast. I’ll just change Cliffs to… Chasm. There. Perfection.”

Names are hard. There are a lot of stupid place names in the real world because of curious translations or the culture shifting or just silliness on the part of the namer. I’m Albertan; there’s a town here named “Vulcan”, so I’m well versed of how silly names can accidentally become.

In a fantasy world this gets trickier as the worldbuilder has less time to name dozens if not hundreds of locations. Sometimes the names makes sense, other times they end up a little ridiculous and eminently mockable.