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.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a rising junior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.