(WHTM) — Pennsylvania is full of cities: Harrisburg, Lebanon, Wilkes-Barre, and Philadelphia are just some of the many cities found in the Commonwealth.

But how did these cities get their names? And what do they mean?


Known as the city of brotherly love, the name Philadelphia literally translates into ‘brotherly love’. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary. Philadelphia comes from two Greek words: philos and adelphos. The former means loving and the latter means brother.

William Penn is the one who named the city of Philadelphia and it was founded on Oct. 27, 1682.


This one is pretty straightforward.

Harrisburg was named after John Harris Jr. who founded the city. The second half of the name, burg, comes from Old English and means ‘a dwelling or dwellings within a fortified enclosure’. It translates into ‘fortified place’ in Old High German, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary.


The City of Lancaster was founded by John Wright who was a prominent citizen who named the town after where he grew up, which was Lancaster, England. The city became a borough in 1742, became a charted city in 1818, and then it became a Third Class City in 1924.

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the name comes from the word Loncastre from 1086, which literally translates into ‘Roman fort on the River Lune’ which is a Celtic river that may mean pure and healthy.


Another fairly straightforward city name. This is named after John Wilkes and Issac Barré.

The city was settled in 1769 and was given its name by Captin John Durke Susquehannah (Land) Company of Connecticut in honor of the two British members of Parliament. Both men were known for supporting the American cause during the Revolution.


The name Lebanon has a biblical meaning of ‘white mountain’ from the Semitic root l-b-n, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary.

The city was first founded in 1750, became a borough in 1799, and then finally became a city in 1885. It was named this due to the similarity of the local landscape to the Lebanese Mountains, according to Moutonborough.


The city was named after York, England, and was the first capital of the United States. The city was first laid out in 1741 by Thomas Cookson.

The Online Etymology Dictionary says that comes from the Old English word  Eoforwic. That is an ancient Celtic word that could mean “Yew-Tree Estate”


This community is not a city but does have an interesting meaning. The word Shickshinny translates to ‘Five Mountains.’

It was named this due to the borough being surrounded by five mountains: Newport, Knob, Lee, River, and Rocky. The word comes from the Choctaw Native American language.