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Word and Phrase Origins
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What does as far as timbuktu mean?


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October 10, 2008 7:07PM

Timbuktu is a real place (see link). When used casually as in the question, it usually indicates that a place (or idea, etc.) is unimaginably far away, completely foreign, or unreachable. It means extremely far or a great distance [Edit by Dragongirl515: According to a popular etymology it`s name is made of tin-meaning "Place". And buktu- meaning an old woman who was entrusted with un-wanted belongines. When a traveler was asked where he left his belongins he would say "I left them at tin buktu." Meaning where the buktu lived. The two words ended up fusing into Timbuktu. Then were translated in the Berber languages: "Buqt" meaning "Far away" so tin-buqt means a place close to the end of the world. IE the Sahara desert. [end edit]