I love naming things. I have a name for my car and a name for my house. I love learning about the weird names for newly discovered species (and the not-so-new ones, too). Something or someone named well just feels satisfying to me on some deep, psychological level.

But things that are named strangely, or inappropriately bring me just as much joy, like obviously human names on pets like George, Howard, or Beatrice.

So I can't imagine the pressure a person might feel in naming a town. Then again, most towns get their names just from a person's name or they're named after other places or geographical features in the area. I'm not sure I'd want to name a town. My town name would probably end up on this list.


What makes a town sound like it belongs in Montana? I'm not sure there's a right answer. You just know it when you hear it. And to me, these don't sound like they would belong in Montana.

Forsyth, Montana

Is it Norwegian? A character from the Marvel Universe?  Kind of sounds like a farming implement, which would fit in Montana, I suppose. 

St. Ignatius, Montana

Maybe more appropriate in Austria? I once went to a town in Austria called St. Johann.   

Valier, Montana

Even if notable author Ivan Doig graduated from high school here, it still doesn't sound like a town in Montana.

Great Falls, Montana

As one of my friends put it, “it’s a little deceptive.”  

Pablo, Montana

It may not sound like a Montana town, especially when it's mispronounced, but according to Wikipedia, it's named for Michel Pablo, whose "efforts (helped) to save American bison," that pretty Montanan in spirit.

Nashua, Montana

This one also falls into the category of Montana towns that share a name with other places, but it almost sounds too fancy for Montana.

Lima, Montana

Maybe South America, but not Montana.

Anaconda, Montana

Okay, I could go for a town named after a snake species that's native to the region but Anaconda?

Kevin, Montana

Kevin. Does Kevin sound like a reasonable town name for anywhere? 

Ismay, Montana

This is the town that took on the name "Joe Montana", and neither one sounds like a Montana town name to me.

Related: Montana Towns That Sound Like They Belong in Montana

Opheim, Montana

This town actually has a strong Norweigan-American heritage so it makes sense that it doesn't sound like a Montana town.

Outlook, Montana

It may have made sense at the time, but thanks to modern sensibilities, this town name just sounds weird.

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