It's pretty common knowledge where the word hamburger comes from. It's named after Hamburg, a city in northern Germany. This is similar to how Frankfurters were named after Frankfurt and wieners were named after Vienna; in this case, the term was applied because Germans from the area brought their style of soft seasoned meat to America, where it became known as Hamburg meat for a while until Charlie Nagreen used that to make the first real hamburger in 1885. That's fascinating, but what's most interesting to me is the subsequent rebracketing: so many people thought that hamburger included the prefix ham-, because both words included some kind of meat, so they abbreviated it to burger, a term that really shouldn't exist given the origin.
Adam Aleksic is a 221-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard University in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd