I realized today that sometimes we ought to define our terms before delving into something significant to us. That, and the search terms “definition of the word Ozark” keep popping up in my blog activity page. In a never-ending effort to please the catcher of catch-phrase Gods google and the internets, I’ll muse a little bit on where it comes from.

There’s two standard theories on the word. The first one is that it is a corruption of the French “aux arc,” meaning something like “top arc” in the Arkansas river. 

The second theory is that is is a corruption of the French term bois d’arc, referring to the “Osage Orange” tree, a native species that some Native American tribes used for bows.

Most people now refer to the Ozarks as belonging to the Ozark Plateau, which stretches roughly from North Eastern Oklahoma to South Western Missouri.  The Ozark Plateau includes the Boston Mountains and the St. Francis National Forest.  In Arkansas Proper, the Ozarks are distinguished from the Ouachitas, although their inhabitants shared a culture.  A local might define the Ozarks as being roughly from Petit Jean Mountain in Conway County at the south moving north east toward the bootheel of Missouri and a bit farther north than Springfield. 



2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    pomonapost said,

    It’s definitely not north of Springfield!! 😉

  2. 2

    Tipper said,

    Interesting. I assumed Ozark was some explorers name.

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