city in eastern England, Old English Grontabricc (c. 745) "Bridge on the River Granta" (a Celtic river name, of obscure origin). The change to Cante- and later Cam- was due to Norman influence. The river name Cam is a back-formation in this case, but Cam also was a legitimate Celtic river name, meaning "crooked." The university dates to 1209. Cambridge in Massachusetts, U.S., originally was New Towne but was renamed 1638 after the founding there of Harvard College, John Harvard being a graduate of Cambridge in England.
updated on October 10, 2017