Why Is Buffalo Called Buffalo?

With its large and impressive appearance, the buffalo has been an integral part of many cultures for thousands of years. The notion of ‘buffalo’ has been around for so long that few people know the origin of the word.

But why do we call this powerful animal a buffalo? The answer, as it turns out, is both interesting and surprising! Continue reading to learn more about the history of buffalo and the origin of their name.

Why Is Buffalo Called Buffalo?

The name Buffalo has been around for centuries, with multiple theories surrounding its origin. Buffalo is known to many as the nickname for the American Bison, one of the largest land animals in North America, but there are also theories about the source of the name for the city of Buffalo in New York, Buffalo Creek, and other locations around the United States.

The American Bison

The most popular theory surrounding why American bison are called “buffalo” is believed to be from early French explorers and trappers who called the animals “les boeufs” derived from the Latin word “bos” meaning ox or bull. This is also suggested as the origin of the English word “beef” as early English settlers began to use the English word “buffalo” which had been influenced by the French word.

The City of Buffalo

The city of Buffalo in Western New York is thought to be named after Buffalo Creek, the picturesque waterway that runs through the city. Early traders and surveyors who settled in the area described the creek in their journals as having a strong current that would create white foam and reminded them of “buffalo charge”.

The creek currently runs through the city’s downtown area.


The origin of the name “Buffalo” remains a mystery for some, but for many it’s clear that the name has been around for centuries. These places and animals have been called this name for centuries, with various theories for why.

While some theories may be more popular than others, these are just a few of the numerous theories on this topic. Citations: http://www. cliffsnotes.

com/cliffsnotes/subjects/english/sources-of-english-wordshttps://www. britannica.

com/place/Buffalo-New-York-city-New-York-United-Stateshttps://buffalotours. com/2020/02/why-is-buffalo-called-buffalo/

Leave a Comment