Ville is the French word for city or town. The derivative suffix "-ville" is commonly used in English in names of cities, towns and villages.Ville is also a name for a boy in Finland and Sweden. Ville also means "Fancy Meat."

Derived words

*Hooverville — an area where homeless people generally lived during the Great Depression.
*Village — another loanword from French used for a settlement that was larger than a hamlet but smaller than a town.

Usage of -ville in the United States

According to toponymist George R. Stewart, the use of the suffix -ville for settlements in the United States did not begin until after the American Revolution. Previously, town-names did not usually use suffixes unless named after European towns in which case the name was borrowed wholly. When a suffix was needed, -town (or the word Town) was typically added (as in Charleston, South Carolina, originally Charles Town). In the middle of the 18th century the suffixes -borough (-boro) and -burgh (-burg) began to become popular. The use of -town (-ton) also increased, in part due to the increasing use of personal names for new settlements. Thus the settlement founded by William Trent became known as Trenton. These three suffixes, -town/-ton, -borough/-boro, and -burgh/-burg became popular before the Revolution, while -ville was almost completely unused until afterward. Its post-revolutionary popularity, along with the decline in the use of -town, was due in part to the pro-French sentiments which spread through the country after the war. The founding of Louisville, Kentucky, in 1780, for example, used not only the French suffix but the name of the French king. The popularity of -ville was most popular in the southern and western (Appalachian) regions of the new country, and less popular in New England.

A few -ville names pre-date the revolution, but most of them are named after European settlements or dukedoms. For example, Granville, Massachusetts was named for the Earl of Granville. After the revolution and the decline in the use of -borough and -town, the two suffixes -ville and -burgh/-burg became by far the most popular for many decades. A difference between the usage of the two is that -burgh/-burg was almost always appended to a personal name while -ville was appended to any word. Some personal names became associated with one suffix or another. For example, Williamstown and Williamsburg are both more common than Williamsville; Georgetown is far more common than Georgeville.

By the middle of the 19th century the -ville suffix began to lose its popularity, with newly popular suffixes with -wood, -hurst, -mere, -dale, and others taking over. [This section on the history of -ville from Stewart, George R. (1967) Names on the Land. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company; pages 193–197, 272.]

Notable "-ville" cities

*Nashville, Tennessee
*Knoxville, Tennessee
*Clarksville, Tennessee
*Charlottesville, Virginia
*Asheville, North Carolina
*Jacksonville, North Carolina
*Fayetteville, North Carolina
*Greenville, South Carolina
*Evansville, Indiana
*Louisville, Kentucky
*Huntsville, Alabama
*Gainesville, Florida
*Jacksonville, Florida
*Townsville, Queensland
*Danville, California
*Pleasantville, in 11 United States and in 2 provinces of Canada

"-Ville" in pop culture

*The Amityville Horror is a notorious horror movie.
*The City of Townsville from The Powerpuff Girls (contains 3 instances of words/suffixes meaning "town")

Usage in Canada

Although a "ville" in the predominantly francophone Canadian province of Quebec may be informally referred to as a "city" or a "town" in English, no distinction exists under provincial law between those two types of settlements. The "city" of Montreal, with a population of 1,854,442 in the 2006, and the "town" of Barkmere, with a population of just 87 in 2006, are both legally "villes".

Quebec does have several other types of municipal status, including municipalities, townships and villages, but any distinction between cities and towns in English has no basis in law and no objective criteria to differentiate between the two. However, in "villes" with a large anglophone population, there may be an established--albeit informal--preference. For instance, Mount Royal is nearly always referred to as a town--as opposed to a city--by its anglophone populace.

"Cité" is a defunct title that currently is used only officially by Dorval, which is nevertheless legally a "ville". [ [ Ville de Dorval - Bienvenue à la Cité de Dorval] (accessed August 26, 2008): "Bulletin de la Cité", "© 2008 Cité de Dorval", "La Cité de Dorval est divisée en six districts électoraux", etc. The term "Cité de Dorval" is also visible on numerous signs locally, as of 2008.]

In all other Canadian provinces, although "ville" is still used as the French translation for both "city" and "town", cities and towns there do have distinct legal status from each other.

As in the United States, "-ville" may also be a suffix that is part of a city's or a town's actual name. This usage exists in both English and French; examples include Brockville and Belleville in Ontario, Blainville, Victoriaville and Louiseville in Quebec, Wolfville in Nova Scotia and Parksville in British Columbia. In Quebec, it may also be used as a prefix, as in Ville-Marie or Villeroy.

"Ville", as a suffix or prefix within a geographic name, may also sometimes denote an unincorporated neighbourhood "within" a larger city, such as Ville-Émard, Davisville or Africville.

There are also places named after people, such as Villeray.


* Ville Itälä (1959-), Finnish politician
* Ville Laihiala (1973-), Finnish singer
* Ville Nieminen (1977-), Finnish ice hockey player
* Ville Peltonen (1973-), Finnish ice hockey player
* Ville Ritola (1896-1982), Finnish athlete
* Ville Vallgren (1855-1940), Finnish scupltor
* Ville Valo (1976-), Finnish singer
* Ville Virtanen (known better as Darude, 1975-), Finnish DJ
* La Ville - Jimena Villegas (1983-), Finnish ISF


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • ville — [ vil ] n. f. • 1080; 980 vile « agglomération formée autour d une ancienne cité, sur le terrain d anciens domaines ruraux (villæ) »; lat. villa « ferme, maison de campagne » → villa 1 ♦ Milieu géographique et social formé par une réunion… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Ville — steht für: Ville (Vorname), finnischer Vorname – dort auch zu Namensträgern Ville bzw. de Ville ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Florent de Ville († vor 1245), französischer Ritter und Kreuzfahrer Karl de Ville (1705−1792),… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • ville — VILLE. s. f. Assemblage de plusieurs maisons disposées par ruës & fermées d une closture commune qui est ordinairement de murs & de fossez. Grande ville, bonne ville. petite ville. ville murée, close de murailles, ville fermée. ville ouverte.… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Villé — Villé …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Villé — Weiler País …   Wikipedia Español

  • Ville — País …   Wikipedia Español

  • -ville — suffix sporadically in vogue in U.S. colloquial word formation since c.1840 (Cf. dullsville, palookaville), abstracted from the ville in place names (Louisville, Greenville, etc.), from O.Fr. ville town, from L. villa (see VILLA (Cf. villa)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • Ville [2] — Ville (spr. Wil), Antoine, Chevalier de V., geb. 1596 in Toulouse, Mathematiker u. Festungsbaumeister, trat erst in savoyische Dienste, trug dann in französischen zur Wiedereroberung von Corbie 1636 u. zur Einnahme von, Artois bei u. befestigte… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • -ville — [vil] [< Fr ville, town, city < L villa: see VILLA] combining form 1. town, city: used in place names [Evansville ] ☆ 2. place or condition characterized by, fit for, or filled with: freely used in slang terms, typically derogatory, often… …   English World dictionary

  • Villé — is a French commune, located in the département of Bas Rhin and the région of Alsace …   Wikipedia

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