West African nation, literally "lion mountains," from Spanish sierra "mountain range" (see sierra) + leon "lion" (see lion). Attested from mid-15c. in Portuguese explorers' accounts, and a very early explanation of the name derives it from the "roaring" of thunder in the mountains. Related: Sierra Leonean.
from Southern Sierra Miwok /yohhe'meti/ "they are killers." "[E]vidently a name given to the Indians of the valley by those outside it." [Bright]
U.S. state (organized as a territory 1861, admitted 1864), named for the Sierra Nevada mountain range on its western boundary, which are literally the "snowy mountains," from fem. of Spanish nevado "snowy" (see neve).
city in north-central France, Roman Senones, the capital of the Gaulish people of the same name.
capital of Afghanistan, named for its river, which carries a name of unknown origin.
Russian capital, named for the Moskva River, the name of which is of unknown origin. Moscow mule vodka cocktail is attested from 1950.
southern Vietnamese city, capital of former South Vietnam, named for its river, which bears a name of uncertain origin.
so named 1868, from Japanese to "east" + kyo "capital;" its earlier name was Edo, literally "estuary."
from 330 C.E. to 1930 the name of what is now Istanbul and formerly was Byzantium, the city on the European side of the Bosphorus that served as the former capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, from Greek Konstantinou polis "Constantine's city," named for Roman emperor Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus (see Constantine), who transferred the Roman capital there.
Canadian capital, founded 1827 as Bytown, named for English officer John By, who oversaw construction of the canal there; renamed 1854, when it became capital, for the Ottawa River, which took its name from the Algonquian people who lived in Michigan and Ontario. Their name is said to be from adawe "to trade."