The full name of Bangkok

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Even Stephen Fry, the Quite Intelligent host of QI, knows that the real name of Bangkok isn't Bangkok at all, but Krung Thep. But he's only half right. Or maybe, to be more accurate, 1/32 right. Its everyday name is กรุงเทพ (pronounced approximately "Krung Thep"), but its official name, as seen on any Bangkok car registration, is กรุงเทพมหานครฯ ("Krung Thep Maha Nakhon etc."). That squiggle ฯ at the end of the name is important because it stands for "etc.". And what the entire phrase stands for is this, its full ceremonial name: กรุงเทพมหานคร อมรรัตนโกสินทร์ มหินทรายุธยามหาดิลก ภพนพรัตน์ ราชธานีบุรีรมย์ อุดมราชนิเวศน์ มหาสถาน อมรพิมาน อวตารสถิต สักกะทัตติยะ วิษณุกรรมประสิทธิ์.

Historically, the city has had various ceremonial names, and even some Thais will recite a different version if you ask them. However, this is the current authoritative name, as displayed outside Bangkok's City Hall:

In panoramic detail, that's this:

(Images stitched courtesy of AutoStitch)

and this tablet beside the name explains its history:

(Phrabat Somdet Phra Poramenthara Maha Mongkut Phra Chomklaochaoyuhua may be more familiar to most readers under his shorter name, King Rama IV.)

So what does it mean, and how do you say it? Most Thai people, even if they know the name, probably can't tell you what it means, because it owes more to Sanskrit and Pali than native Thai. Here's a breakdown of the parts:
ThaiApproximate pronunciation [bracketed bits silent]Related words (Indic or English)Meaning
กรุง krung   city
เทพ thep deva divine being
มหา maha maha (as in maharajah) great
นคร nakorn nagara (many Indian placenames begin nag-)city
อมร amorn amara immortal
รัตน rattana   jewel
โกสินทร์ kosin[thra]   Indra
มหินทรา mahinthra maha + Indra great Indra. You guessed.
ยุธยา [a]yutthaya Ayodhya (Indian city) impregnable
มหา maha maha great
ดิลก dilok   (lit. caste mark) symbol of divinity
ภพ phop   world
นพ noppa   nine
รัตน์ rat[tana]   jewel
ราช racha rajah king
ธานี thani   city. Thai has many words for city.
บุรี buri English -bury, -burg, -borough, Indic -pore fortified city
รมย์ rom   delightful
อุดม udom   excellent
ราช racha raja king. Getting the hang of this yet?
นิเวศน์ niwet   abode
มหา maha maha great
สถาน sathan station location
อมร amorn amara immortal
พิมาน phiman   heaven
อวตาร awatan avatar incarnation
สถิต sathit   abode
สักกะ sakka   Indra. I bet you didn't guess that one.
ทัตติยะ thattiya   give
วิษณุ witsanu Vishnu Vishnu
กรรม kam karma (karmic) cause
ประสิทธิ์ prasit   accomplishment

Or, if you believe the tablet, it's the city that is very large like the city of angels, houses the sacred Emerald Buddha, has prosperity and stable beauty, is abundant with the pleasant nine gems, has numerous royal grand palaces and is a fairy abode created on the earth by Thao Sakka Thewarat Witsanukam for the incarnated divinities.

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