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When originally used in England, the meaning of the place name Gotham was literally “homestead where goats are kept”, from Old English gāt (goat) +‎ hām (home).[1]

As nickname for New York City, first used 1807 by Washington Irving in his Salmagundi Papers.[2] As “Gotham City”, name of the fictional home of Batman, first mentioned in Batman issue 4, 1940.[3]


  • (nickname of New York, setting of the Batman franchise): IPA(key): /ˈɡɒθəm/
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  • (English village): IPA(key): /ˈɡəʊtəm/
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Proper noun[edit]


  1. A nickname for New York City.
  2. A village in Rushcliffe borough, Nottinghamshire, England, associated in folklore with insanity (OS grid ref SK5330).

Derived terms[edit]


  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2021), “Gotham”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.
  2. ^ Washington Irving (April 18, 1807), “To Correspondents”, in Salmagundi[1], G. P. Putnam's sons, New York, page 183–184:
    This passage of the erudite Linkum was applied to the city of Gotham, of which he was once Lord Mayor, as appears by his picture hung up in the hall of that ancient city ; but his observation fits this best of all possible cities “to a hair.” It is a melancholy truth that this same New York, though the most charming, pleasant, polished, and praiseworthy city under the sun, and in a word the bonne bouche of the universe, is most shockingly ill-natured and sarcastic, and wickedly given to all manner of backslidings ; for which we are very sorry, indeed.
  3. ^ Carmen Nigro (Januar 25, 2011), “So, Why Do We Call It Gotham, Anyway?”, in New York Public Library[2].

Further reading[edit]