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The reference on this page leaves a lot to be desired. It links to the French Wikipedia about Paris where it says:

Paris est surnommée familièrement « Paname » surnom donné au début du XXe siècle aux Parisiens qui avaient adopté le chapeau dit panama[paname la streetzer rpz disciple], mis en vogue par les ouvriers qui creusaient le canal du même nom au début du XXe siècle. Cette coiffe très pratique s'exportait principalement vers les États-Unis et l'Europe, elle avait fait fureur à Paris où tous les hommes portaient un panama.

Which is roughly translated as:

Paris is nicknamed "Paname" which is a nickname given in the beginning of the twentieth century to Parisians who had adopted a hat called "panama"[citation needed], made popular by workmen who dug the canal of the same name in the beginning of the twentieth century. This practical hat was exported primarily to the United States and Europe and it was the rage in Paris where all the men wore it.

The reference itself needs a reference, as evidenced by the [citation needed] tag, so I'm unsure about what to do with the article. Any ideas? Internoob 02:47, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

I haven't read the dictionnary myself, but several French forums ([[1]], [[2], [[3]]) quote the "Dictionnaire de l'argot français et de ses origines" (Larousse) [[4]].
According to these posts, the dictionnary would advise:
sans doute de Panama (ville), c.-à-d. « ville énorme ». 1903.
that is to say
arguably from Panama (city), i.e. "huge city". 1903
(In each post, the quote is rephrased in a slightly different fashion that IMO would indicate these posts did not copy one another)
Is third hand information deemed trustworthy enough? (I started the same discussion on the French Wikipedia [[5]]
--YaK 02:17, 12 January 2009 (UTC)