What’s in a name?

Words have a meaning.

Correction, words have meanings.

Are they absolute?

Based on many interesting conversations, a word’s meaning can change from person to person. Meanings have been known to change even within the same person as time marches on. The cool thing is that we have these handy reference tools called dictionaries (read: google searches) that allow us to see what the generally agreed upon definition of any word might be.

When it comes to proper nouns, however, pinning down their meaning can be a bit more challenging.

Such is the case for the name of this breathtaking lake that makes up a portion of the border between Peru and Bolivia.

20160817_130749-01Lago Titicaca

(pause for your reaction to this lake’s name)

Right then, regardless of what 3rd grade me thought, the meaning of this lake’s name is not a reference to anatomy and bodily waste. No, this name’s meaning has it’s roots in the native language, Aymara (one of the many indigenous languages in this region). Based on many possible meanings, scholars believe that the name is derived from grey and/or discolored (titi) and puma (q’aq’a). This is apt because of the existence of a rock formation on one of the lake’s islands that looks like the head of a puma. However, compared to the many stunning views and the fascinating history of this lake, this name seems like a bit of a misnomer to me.

20160817_145242-01There are islands once inhabited by Inca people and Tiwanku before them, now sheep.

20160817_161303-01Ruins of an ancient nunnery, several temples, and a fountain of youth.


Considering all of this, it makes me wonder if maybe the ancient world was more stunning than our world today. Or maybe, ancient people, as they gave names to the features around them weren’t concerned with how a guy in the 21st century might interpret and then second guess them. Who knows?

Learn more at Wiki – Lake Titicaca