From Middle English Temese, from name for the river, Celtic Tamesas (from *tamēssa), recorded in Latin Tamesis and yielding modern Welsh Tafwys. The name probably meant "dark" and can be compared to other cognates such as Irish teimheal and Welsh tywyll "darkness" (Proto-Celtic *temeslos) and Middle Irish teimen "dark grey", though Richard Coates mentions other theories: Kenneth H. Jackson's that it is non-Indo-European (and of unknown meaning), and Peter Kitson's that it is Indo-European but pre-Celtic and has a name indicating "muddiness" from a root *tā-, 'melt'.
The river's name has always been pronounced with a simple t /t/; the Middle English spelling was typically Temese. A similar spelling from this era (1210 AD), "Tamisiam", is found in the Magna Carta.
- (rivers in England and Canada, town in New Zealand): enPR: tĕmz, IPA(key): /tɛmz/
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- (river in Connecticut): IPA(key): /θeɪmz/
- River in southern England flowing 336 km (209 mi.) through London to the North Sea.
- River in Ontario province, Canada, flowing 258 km (160 mi.) to Lake St. Clair.
- River in the U.S. State of Connecticut flowing 24 km (15 mi.) past New London to Long Island Sound.
- A town in the North Island of New Zealand, situated on the Firth of Thames (a large bay) and the Coromandel Peninsula.
- Mallory, J.P. and D.Q. Adams. The Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. London: Fitzroy and Dearborn, 1997: 147.
- ^ Coates, Richard 1998 "A new explanation of the name of London", Transactions of the Philological Society 96, 2 pp.203–229 http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/1467-968X.00027; doi = 10.1111/1467-968X.00027
- ^ Jackson, Kenneth H 1955 "The Pictish Language" in F. T. Wainright (ed.), The Problem of the Picts Edinburgh; Nelson, pp. 129–166
- ^ Kitson, Peter R 1996 "British and European River Names", Transactions of the Philological Society 94, pp. 73–118; doi=10.1111/j.1467-968X.1996.tb01178.x|issue=2
- ^ Ellis Sandoz, ed. The Roots of Liberty: Magna Carta…; Indianapolis; Amagi/Liberty Fund, pages 39, 347