Which vacation destination’s name is commonly translated as “Rat’s Mouth”?
The meaning of the name Boca Raton has always aroused curiosity. Many today believe the name means ‘Rat's Mouth’. This gives cause for wonder ~ why does such a lovely area have such a distasteful name?
The city of Boca Raton is located on the southeastern coast of Florida. The area was frequented by pirates and Spanish explorers, and was originally called ‘Boca de Ratónes’. That name dates back to around 1895, when the first settlers arrived, and was actually a navigational reference.
Boca’ means mouth in Spanish. The word was used on sailors’ maps to denote an inlet or river mouth. ‘Ratónes’ further described the inlet itself; the coastline had sharp hidden rocks that would gnaw away at ships’ mooring cables, much like a rodent’s teeth.
Today it is common for the original name to be mistranslated as ‘Rat's Mouth’. Although technically incorrect, (‘ratón’ means mouse in Spanish,and ‘rata’ is rat), the mistranslation is, nevertheless, popular. It is widely accepted by residents and often used in the names of local businesses.
Boca Raton’s coast is a popular tourist destination. The city has a two mile stretch of pristine, lifeguard-protected beach. It draws both locals and visitors, who spend time lying on the sand, swimming or playing in the ocean, or walking along the shore.
Visitors interested in history and architecture will also enjoy the Old Floresta Historic District, which has several historic houses listed on the National Register of Historic Places.