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I was surprised to find another city with the -gorsk ending: Железногoрск (Zheleznogorsk), formerly known as Krasnoyarsk-26.

It sounded familiar, and I immediately looked up Iron (the metal), which is Железо. Notice there is no "н".

So why does it inflect this way when a city gets named after a metal? Are there special rules for naming cities like this?

BTW I also looked up "Железно" on Google Translate, and it said it means "irons". This only confused me even more.

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It is derived not from noun железо but from adjective железный, so it's basically short form of "Железная Гора" - Iron Mountain. So, no mystery at all ;) There's also such city as Медногорск - "Медная гора", which name follows the same pattern.

Also it worth to know that in some toponyms "-горск" comes from "гора" and in some from "город".

"Железно" has nothing to do with this, google translate just get it wrong. It is an interjection, colloquial and pretty rarely used synonym of "exactly, precicesely, that's for sure". Sort of "Ты уверен?" - "Железно".

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  • Thanks! Do you know any other cities or towns with a -gorsk ending? I want to find all examples possible.
    – DrZ214
    Aug 11 '15 at 2:03
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    Дивногорск, Пятигорск, Железногорск, Белогорск, Высокогорск, Медногорск, Змеиногорск, Хибиногорск; Светлогорск, Нефтегорск, Углегорск, Зеленогорск, Красногорск, Синегорск, Солнечногорск, Мончегорск,Электрогорск - way lot of )
    – shabunc
    Aug 11 '15 at 2:05
  • @DrZ214 -gorsk ending (or its Ukrainian counterpart -girs'k) means it's a city/town. Whereas settlements end in -gorskij, villages in -gorskoe etc. For example, Каменногорск (Kamennogorsk - town in Karelia), Нижнегорский (Nizhnegorskij - settlement in Crimea). Listing all of the towns is hard, listing all of the villages is simply impossible.
    – Matt
    Aug 11 '15 at 6:16
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    Can you give an example where «-горск» comes from «город», please? It seems that all the towns you have listed so far are named after some hills or mountains.
    – J-mster
    Aug 11 '15 at 9:17
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    @J-mster Электрогорск is just the settlement Электропередача which some day became the town. It has nothing to do with mountains. Another example is "Загорск" ("Сергиев Посад" in 1930-1991) - after revolutioner Загорский, not due to hills or such. But you are right, usually "-горск" means some hills or mountains nearby.
    – Matt
    Aug 11 '15 at 10:28
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"Железно" is the form used in forming compound nouns and adjectives. e.g, железнодорожник (n. railway worker); железнодорожный (adj. railway), as in железнодорожный вокзал (railway station). Горск means 'settlement'. Many nouns have an adjectival form with 'н'. e.g., компьютер becomes компьютерный as in комрьютерная выставка; открытие компьютерную выставку.

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    "Горск" does not mean settlement, it is an ending which is used for indicating settlements, this is a slighty different concept.
    – shabunc
    Aug 11 '15 at 7:00
  • воКзал) [fake_len]
    – Vasil
    Aug 12 '15 at 11:05
  • I suspect that -горск has a meaning from гора(mountain), usually these cities either located in mountainous areas or have some notable hills nearby(like Красногорск). Aug 12 '15 at 11:20

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