25 Super Strange Wisconsin Town Names

Aahh, weird Wisconsin, how I love you. Truth is, I appreciate a well-named town. And by well-named, I just mean strange. Here are 25–and believe me, that’s just a sampling–of Wisconsin’s oddly named communities:

  1. Arkansaw (Pepin County)
    Arkansaw, Wis. was named after the Arkansas River. I’m not sure when someone decided to replace the ‘S’ with a ‘W,’ but who am I to question their logic?
  2. Avalanche (Vernon County)
    I have to wonder if an introvert named this town as a strategic way of deterring others from moving in. We’re on to you, citizens of Avalanche…
  3. Bluff Siding (Buffalo County)
    Evidently, Bluff Siding got its name from the rocky bluffs near the town site. Props to the very practical town-namer of Bluff Siding.
  4. Bosstown (Richland County)
    I find myself sitting up extra straight while driving through the tiny town of Bosstown.
  5. Cleghorn (Eau Claire County)
    I like this one because it sounds like the name of a character from Harry Potter.
  6. Dairyland (Douglas County)
    Shouldn’t this be our capital?
  7. Disco (Jackson County)
    I dream of a town where everyone has moves like Travolta. Said town shall be named…Disco.
  8. Embarrass (Waupaca County)
    Teeheehee.
  9. Fence (Florence County)
    Apparently the town of Fence was named after an American Indian hunting method. As in, they’d build a fence, deer would jump over it and then get impaled. Hmph. That is a surprisingly graphic backstory for a pretty basic town name.
  10. Gotham (Richland County)
    Batman would live here if this town was pronounced the way a lot of people think it’s pronounced. But au contraire! The name actually rhymes with “Loath them.”
  11. Footville (Rock County)
    I always tell folks I’m from Evansville, but technically, I grew up outside the teeny tiny town of Footville in Rock County. Once, I ran out of gas on the west end of town. I was able to roll my car all the way down to the southeastern end of town, where the community’s only gas station was located. Thank you, Footville, for having a rockstar name and also for being topographically advantageous for those of us who are prone to running on E. 😀
  12. Institute (Door County)
    I went to a bar here once. It was called Institute Saloon, I believe. My friends and I had a lovely time. That is all.
  13. Ixonia (Jefferson County)
    Didyaknow? Ixonia was named when some townsfolk decided to draw letters from a hat. I bet these peeps had mad Scrabble skills.
  14. King (Waupaca County)
  15. Luck (Polk County)
    Fun fact: Singer-songwriter Regina Spektor worked at a butterfly farm in Luck. #MindBlown
  16. Mishicot (Manitowoc County)
    Mishicot means “hairy leg.” And this, my friends, is the most useful nugget of knowledge you will consume all month.
  17. Oconomowoc (Waukesha County)
    So there are probably hundreds of hard-to-pronounce Native American town names in Wisconsin, but Oconomowoc is one of my favorites because it stumps every single out-of-towner. Hehe. Aside from my evil regard for baffling nonnatives, I also like that the name Oconomowoc derives from Coo-no-mo-wauk, which is the Potawatomi term for “waterfall.”
  18. Pardeeville (Columbia County)
    Partyyyy peeeeeople. Who wouldn’t wanna call this place home? I know I would.
  19. Random Lake (Sheboygan County)
    I’m unsure of the origins of this one. Maybe it was just a random name? If anyone knows, comment below!
  20. Rural (Waupaca County)
    Somewhat of a lazy naming job I suspect, but I kinda like it.
  21. Sheboygan (Sheboygan County)
    I don’t know why, but every time I say Sheboygan out loud, I find myself really laying on the Wisconsin accent: Shah-BOYYYY-geaann. Such dramatized pronunciation makes this Was-CANNNN-sin girl very happy. 🙂
  22. Taycheedah (Fond du Lac County)
    I am seriously considering naming my first pet cat this. Tay for short (obvi).
  23. Tichigan (Racine County)
    It’s like someone had a few too many brandy old-fashioned sweets and thought it a good idea to give their town a name that sarcastically alludes to our next door neighbor.
  24. Weyauwega (Waupaca County)
    It’s native american for “old woman.” Use this information very cautiously please. Allow me to be more frank: Maybe don’t use this word in Mom’s next birthday card? :/
  25. Winnebago (Winnebago County)
    I didn’t find this name too amusing…until I learned Winnebago literally translates to “dirty water people.” Now that’s giggle-worthy.

There are tons more worth noting! Which would you like to see on this list? Add your favorites below!

Mariah Haberman hosts the nation’s longest-running tourism TV show, Discover Wisconsin. She hails from Evansville, where she was brought up in a family of seven in a small farmhouse outside of town. Some of her favorite memories include Lake Michigan fishing trips with her Dad, showing sheep at the Rock County Fair and buzzing around the farm on an ATV with her little brother. Watch Discover Wisconsin Saturdays at 10 a.m. on FSN Wisconsin’s outdoor block. (Twitter: @DiscoverWI)

 

 

153 Responses to “25 Super Strange Wisconsin Town Names”

  1. Dani

    Ubet, Polk County

    Reply
  2. Matthew

    A friend in Texas wondered why Wisconsin made Hawaiian cheese: ‘Weyauwega’

    Reply
    • Don

      Famous Hawaiian Wisconsin surf dude: Kaukauna!

      Reply
      • jeannie perry

        kaukauna? maybe the surfer dude thought he was the big kahuna, but was a bad speller!

        Reply
  3. Roger

    Praag Wi. would be a good one. Pretty much just a bar in the town.

    Reply
  4. John Thatcher

    Where the Arkansas river runs through Kansas, it is known as the r-CAN-sass river; after it leaves Kansas it eventually gets to Arkansas, where it’s called the r-can-SAW river. My guess is that they spelled it “Arkansaw” so that there would be no confusion in the pronounciation.

    Reply
  5. Briguy

    Hi there are some weird ones u missed Fair play Wi, Bee Town, Wyoming Wi south of spring green, Burton.

    Reply
  6. Marge

    Chili-Clark County

    Reply
  7. Briguy

    Perry, Clyde

    Reply
  8. Don Betker

    If Michicot means “hairy leg”, I can’t imagine what the meaning of Valders is?

    Reply
    • Carroll

      I always thought Valders sounded like a disease cows get. My personal favorites? Manitowish Waters and Mukwonago!!

      Reply
  9. Suzanne

    Pound.
    Romance.
    Shamrock.
    Soldiers Grove.
    Big Foot.
    Ladysmith.
    Eleva.
    Wyeville.
    Rio.
    And those are just a few of a long list…..

    Reply
    • Molly

      Wyeville isn’t that odd. It’s from the railroad wye in the village.

      Big Foot, however is definitely unique.

      Reply
    • Tammy

      It was named Random Lake because it was a random lake they found when they were putting the railroad through.

      Reply
  10. Gloria Hinrichs

    Pray. I think it is in Jackson county. It’s off highway 54.

    Reply
  11. Heather

    Rome, WI

    Reply
  12. Krissy

    Urine…Kewaunee County

    Reply
  13. Krissy

    Actually spelled Euren

    Reply
  14. Jeff

    It’s not a Wisconsin town but in Florida where I now live we frequently make jest of Opp, Alabama as the “city that couldn’t spell opportunity.”
    PS: I can remember a commercial in which a boss was talking via phone to an employee and asked “how are things going in…” “Oconomowoc” says the employee, to which the boss replies ” on account of what?” Lol

    Reply
  15. Toni

    Friendship, WI

    Reply
  16. April

    Nutterville, Marathon County

    Reply
  17. Ryan

    Sextonville
    Plain
    Rising Sun
    Boaz
    Retreat
    Victory
    Neptune

    Reply
  18. Lane

    Kirchhayn…ozaukee county, Wi

    Reply
    • Jeff Guidinger

      Kirchhayn is in Washington County on CTH T or Western Avenue to locals. The word is derived from “Church” or “Kirche and the word “Hayn” is derived from: Hayn is a village and a former municipality in the Mansfeld-Südharz district, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. When the German’s settled in Kirchhayn, Wisconsin in the 1800’s, they built a church (David’s Star) Lutheran church and named the area Kirchhayn.

      Reply
  19. Lane

    Kirchhayn…Ozaukee county, Wi. Pronounced Keer-kein. Only has like 70 people living there at most and only has one bar and a auto dump. That is the town. Home of the great country singer Josh Thompson!

    Reply
  20. Michele

    What about Sextonville?
    My sister and I would always crack up about that. I believe it wasn’t too far from Partyville?
    Also, Boaz (its “Bows”, not “BO-azz”, right?) & Muscoda – a good test to see if someone is from WI. Will they say “MUS-co-dah” or “MUSS- kah-day”??

    Reply
  21. Yolonda

    Cataract, Monroe County

    Reply
  22. Jessica

    I grew up near Weyauwega and was taught it was Indian for “Hear We Rest”. It’s between two rivers and they had to pull their canoes out there.

    Reply
  23. Shannon

    Urne ( pronounced ER- KNEE, like the name Ernie).. Looks much like Urine.. ha ha. Buffalo County. Not far from Praag, WI. – home of Buck Knuckles.. the ” you just gotta see it” bar. ( rhymes with Frog).

    Reply
  24. Amanda

    Leipsig, WI… Don’t blink or you’ll miss it. Waldo, WI… But I can proudly say I was born in Sheboygan and call Ixonia home.

    Reply
  25. sharon

    Iduna

    Reply
  26. Don

    Wauzeka Crawford Co.

    Reply
  27. Jessica

    Lone Rock, WI

    Reply
  28. Dayne

    Luck is also where singer-songwriter Matraca Berg found the inspiration to write the song Strawberry Wine.

    Reply
  29. Phil jensen

    These names beat the #1 name for lakes in Wi. (over a dozen I think): Mud Lake!

    Reply
  30. Cindy

    Little Chicago in Marathon County!

    Reply
    • jsample

      I grew up in Antigo, mother’s family was from Wausau. Went to quite a few weddings at the bar/party hall in Nutterville.

      Reply
  31. Lisa

    I personally like Waldo, WI. Whenever I drive through it, I post a picture on Facebook saying that “I found Waldo”

    Reply
  32. Steve

    Viroqua. Always fun to hear non natives try to pronounce it. Sometimes they are even afraid to try.

    Reply
  33. Carey

    Beaver and Pound. Sister towns home to the Beaver Pounders golf league

    Reply
  34. Jean

    I know it takes all the fun out of it, but Pardeeville was named after James Pardee. The James Pardee that dammed up the Fox River, created a mill here, brought in the railroad, and basically made the village into something fairly big at the turn on the century. Unfortunately, it’s not the bustling center of economy it once was, but we like our quiet little town.

    Reply
  35. Ami

    Growing up, my mom told me the (likely untrue) story SHE was told of how Eleva got its name:

    A man was in the process of painting “Elevator” on the area’s water tower, fell partway through, and died, having only completed the first five letters. And thus Eleva was named.

    (Why they would paint “elevator” on the water tower is beyond me, making the story a load of hooey in my book, once I was old enough to think it through logically. Lol.)

    Reply
  36. Missy

    Richland Center , Sisterbay , Fish Harbor ,Washington Island , Bayfield , Mellen, Hayward, just so many wonderful manes.

    Reply
  37. Sharon Bauer

    Mishamaukwa

    Reply
  38. Barbara

    Random Lake – When the town was established random points were selected around the lake to establish the territory.

    Reply
  39. Meaghan

    Whitelaw

    Reply
  40. Marc

    Sugar Island

    Reply
  41. Denise

    Imalone in rusk county.

    Reply
  42. Jerocho

    Jericho!

    Reply
  43. Molly

    Spread Eagle, WI

    Reply
  44. Karen

    Does anybody else remember the Wausau Insurance commercials where other people keep saying Warsaw? they were pretty funny

    Reply
    • jsample

      When I was in high school one of the clubs I belonged to flew to Europe. Some students were on the plan with us from New York. They thought Wisconsin was located near California but they knew how to spell Wausau from the commercials.

      Reply
  45. amy

    why is “spread eagle” not on here explain it to me lol

    Reply
  46. Bob

    I like that Victory and Retreat in SW Wisconsin are less than 10 miles apart. I knew a guy who was from Luck, Wisconsin — he called himself “s**t out of Luck!” By the way, is it GREEN Bay or Green BAY ?

    Reply
  47. John

    Wild Rose, Wisconsin….even the locals are unsure how it got it’s name. It’s in Waushara Co.

    Reply
  48. Becky Chase

    Umm traveling around to different states and being able to drive thru Blue Ball, Intercourse, and Paradise in a matter of a few min in Pennsylvania, nothing surprises me anymore! I guess growing up in Wisconsin these names all seem normal to me!

    Reply
  49. gary gilbertson

    newry in vernon county…cream in buffalo county waumandee in buffalo or trempeleau county
    bloomindale in vernon county, ferryville in crawford county, beetown in grant county, lynxville in crawford county, clyde in iowa county

    Reply
  50. JoAnn Dunaj

    Weyauwega, I was always told that this was the Idian word for “Here we rest” because of the river and lake they would stop here in Weyauwega and rest.

    Reply
  51. Patrick

    What about Brodhead?Green County.

    Reply
  52. Arnold

    Hustler, WI in Juneau Co

    Reply
    • Jack

      Legend says that the name was given when the village applied to the state for a name and included the request, “Please hustle.”

      Reply
  53. Kathy, a small town in Wisconsin named ( Hustler )

    Often mistaken for the publisher of the Playboy Magazine, and it is not

    Reply
  54. mary lou pifher

    why hasnt anyone mentioned osh kosh wi. doesnt that rate near the top?

    Reply
  55. Chuck

    Friesland Columbia County pronounced Freeze

    Reply
  56. Jean

    Bloomer Wi. jump rope capital of the world. (Still to beat rate of 72 jumps in 10 seconds) and famous Main street cafe pies.

    Reply
  57. Julia

    Random Lake was called Random Lake after when it was founded, the surveyors found a “random lake ” and the name has stuck since. It’s something we Random Lakers learn in the third grade.

    Reply
  58. Patricia Boe

    Cleghorn was named after the man named James Cleghorn, which owned the farm I grew up on before my dad bought it. We did have their white house cookbook, but don’t know who has that now.

    Reply
  59. Danny Kleven

    Postville-Green county and Shantytown in Marathon County. Klevenville in Dane County. Avon in Rock County Shopiere in Rock County. Orfordville-Rock County Leydon (outside of Janesville.

    Reply
  60. Danny Kleven

    Say Hi to Eric Paulsen.. Old friend

    Reply
  61. Mary

    Before they renamed the area as Alpine Valley, the area was known to locals as Skunk’s Misery ( Walworth County near East Troy.)

    Reply
  62. Barbara

    Whitewater. My father was listening to the broadcast on the radio of a basketball game between Whitewater and another school. The announcer, obviously from out of state, kept calling it Whih-TOO-whih-ter, thinking it was an Indian name.

    Reply
  63. Jen C.

    I’m originally from Footville but I graduated from a town in north western Wi named Boyceville in Dunn Co.

    Reply
  64. Chris

    between Ripon and Oshkosh is Pickett and in that area is the small town of Ring.

    Reply
  65. Mike

    Rolling Ground, WI
    Pine Knob, WI
    Gay Mills, WI
    Plug Town, WI
    And Adams, right next to Friendship, WI (AdamsFriendship)

    Reply
  66. Keri VanNuland

    Don’t forget Slab City… Don’t blink or you’ll miss it, literally.

    Reply
    • jsample

      Slab City name cracks me up everytime I drive by it on my trips. Does anyone know how it got its name?

      Reply
    • Keith

      Apparently named due to the rock quarry there. I remember many years ago traveling thru, only one business a bar… The Morgue.

      Reply
  67. Aaron

    Clyman, WI The center of the Universe

    Reply
  68. kelley

    I live in pardeeville,trust me no one exactly WANTS to live here. There’s not much of a party. Columbia County sheriff’s are right down town they don’t take kindly to people having a good time.

    Reply
  69. Brenda

    Best name ever is “Winter”,Wi.

    Reply
  70. Bobby

    Pardeeville is a legitimately great place to live.

    Reply
  71. Tiffany

    Has no one mentioned dyckesville? I laugh every time we drive thru!

    Reply
  72. Victoria

    My grandmother told me Sheboygan is named after a native American women who had another son…She boy again.

    Reply
  73. Rob

    You can drive up Highway 27 out of Prairie du Chien and go (Eastman) to see the (Seneca) indians near (Mt Sterling) where there is a ( Fair View) of the (Rising Sun) and the (Liberty Pole) on your way to Viroqua.

    Reply
  74. Bill

    I can’t believe that no one has mentioned Pittsville (Wood County)!

    Reply
  75. Bill

    I was listening to an audio book a couple of years ago, when the narrator ran into Oconomowoc and utterly massacred it. To his credit, he got it right in subsequent iterations.

    Reply
  76. Kari

    Luck is also the Yo-Yo capital of the world! The Duncan yo-yo factory was in Luck for years, (however, hasn’t been for years now). My dad worked there!

    Reply
  77. Julia

    Prairie du Sac

    Reply
  78. Michelle

    Dickeyville
    Cuba City

    Reply
  79. Cindy

    How about another town that has been mispronounced many times, BOSCOBEL, Grant County. As a child, I was told it got it’s name from the old farmers wife calling her cows each night, Come BOSS come BELL!

    Reply
  80. Arnold Bilderback

    Misha Mokwa in Buffalo County

    Reply
  81. Ian

    Pardeeville is name after its founder, John Pardee.

    Reply
  82. Chris

    I saw a group of speakers several years ago in Waukesha. Collin Powell was among the troupe of knowledge givers. He started by saying how glad he was to be in “Wa-kee sha.” lol

    Reply
  83. Janet

    Gratiot-Lafayette County. Pronounced gra (short a as in apple) sh*t. Heard an announcer on the radio pronounce it as gra tea ot. It was always a funny name to say as a kid. Felt like we could swear without getting into trouble.

    Reply
  84. Janet

    Also, Onalaska – LaCrosse County. It got interesting as a child trying to explain that, no,I don’t live in Alaska or on Alaska. There are three cities w/this name-one in Texas, Washington state & of course, Wisconsin. http://murphylibrary.uwlax.edu/digital/lacrosse/OnalaskaSawmillsSunfish/text/00140010.txt

    Reply
  85. Patti

    I live in Mishicot. It was named after an American Indian named “Chief Mishicott “

    Reply
  86. Kurt Sheckler

    Hey Mariah, I believe the little lake in Sheboygan County for #19 is called Little Elkhart lake! Sounds good to me if I’m wrong let me know. Kurt

    Reply
  87. Dave Durocher

    Don’t forget Texas, Wi. It’s in Marathon County near Naugart, Brokaw and Taegesville.

    Reply
  88. Dave

    Fifield – price county

    Reply
  89. Vicki

    Ogema, Price County

    Reply
  90. Vicki

    Ogema, Price County
    Wauwatosa, Milwaukee County

    Reply
  91. Ron

    Pipe, Wi.

    Reply
  92. Linda

    Loved seeing my hometown of Pardeeville on the list!!! I’m used to the “Really??” question when giving my address. Love it here. Small town, gorgeous park, lovely lakes. 🙂

    Reply
  93. jeannie perry

    i’ve been in every county, and FEEL like i’ve been in every town, but there are a few here i hadn’t known! a friend of mine once got lost and stopped in a cafe’ and said, “excuse me, i’m looking for romance.” the waitress said, “aren’t we all, buddy?!”

    Reply
    • Mariah Haberman

      Too funny!

      Reply
      • Gordon Glass

        Hi Mariah. That was me in your story about Romance Wisconsin, Did you get the story from Jeannie Perry? Here’s the real story; Many years ago I was out booking for my band and was trying to book into a bar in Romance. I couldn’t find the town so I stopped in a restaurant in Genoa, Wisconsin, walked up to the counter and said, “Excuse be, but I’m looking for Romance”. A fellow I knew from Richland Center (My home town) was seated at a table but I hadn’t seen him when I came in, piped up and said, “Aren’t we all, Gordie. Aren’t we all”

        Reply
        • Mariah Haberman

          I love this story! Thanks so much for sharing, Gordie 🙂

          Reply
        • jeannie perry

          yes, that was gordie’s name i left off the story (to protect the guilty). and the band in question was BOAZ!

          Reply
          • Julie

            Funny – I never even heard of Romance, WI, until I saw an old rerun of HeeHaw. One of the cast said, “HeeHaw would like to salute Romance, Wisconsin. Population – 20”. I had to look it up and was surprised to see that Romance, WI did exist.

      • Carolyn

        Levis, Jackson county. Prononced Leh vas.

        Reply
  94. Keith Dennee

    Ino- Bayfield county

    Reply
    • jeannie perry

      i pass thru INO frequently (there is nothing there but a tavern along the road)…it always makes me think of an eager child in a classroom, knowing the answer, waving his hand, callingm “I KNOW! I KNOW” : )

      Reply
  95. Julie

    Hustler (Juneau County)
    Ino (Bayfield County)
    Imalone (Rusk County)
    Moquah (Bayfield County) – pronounced MUCK-wah
    Cornucopia (Bayfield County)
    Esofea (Vernon County)

    Reply
  96. KiKimmberlee

    Always loved the name LacDubutamore. ( SP?) in Fox Valley near Oshkosh until one day when we pulled over and read the historical marker to find out it was French for “Lake of the mound of the dead”. Referring to an Indian massacre where the tribe was backed up against the lake and massacred and buried there. Sure ruined that idea lick sounding name for me!

    Reply
    • Mariah Haberman

      Ah, Lake Butte des Morts, yes! A very interesting backstory indeed 🙂

      Reply
      • Greg Loescher

        Butte Des Morte, the town, always cracks up (pun intended) some friends of mine from California.
        Also like Maiden Head, Borth, Saxville, and Shanty Town.

        Reply
  97. Tracy

    Cayuga! Population… 12? “SAAHLOOT!”

    http://www.cayugahotelandsaloon.com

    Reply
  98. Matt

    There once was a man from Manitowoc
    Who walked all the way to Oconomowoc.
    When he got there,
    He was heard to declare,
    “I’m so tired I ca’ no mo’ walk!”

    Reply
  99. Tim

    Were is Dyckesville and Euren on this list.

    Reply
  100. Loretta

    My all time favorite is Loretta WI (for obvious reasons), and Pittsville south of
    Marshfield is the funniest!

    Reply
    • jeannie perry

      pittsville calls itself the exact center of wisconsin (turns out that is if you draw an X, not a plus sign, across the map). i’m sure they’ve heard many jokes about the center of wis. being the pits!

      Reply
  101. Ron

    I live in Wonewoc, WI Some old timers say it was so called because it was a one day walk to Baraboo,

    Reply
    • jeannie perry

      i’ve been thru beautiful downtown wonewoc many times…it always makes me think of that pop tune, “the lion sleeps tonight” — the background singers are chanting, “a-wim a wac, a-wim a wac.”

      Reply
  102. Jo Ann

    Chenequa-Waukesha County
    Muskego-Waukesha County
    Markesan-Green Lake County
    Shiocton-Outagamie County
    Suamico-Brown County

    Reply
  103. Patrick Bonngard

    I have a few towns you’ve never heard of:
    Lena,wi Burkhardt,wi Eau Claire,wi Siren,wi Whitehall wi just to name a few

    Reply
  104. Rusty

    Winchester, there are 2 of them. One near Waupaca, the other near Woodruff.

    Reply
    • Julie

      That is the same with Rome – one north of Adams and the other near Oconomowoc.

      Reply
  105. Kathy

    Leadmine and New Diggings – Lafayette County

    Reply
  106. Jason

    Beetown in Grant County

    Reply
  107. Jack

    Sheboygan – sounds like a revers sex change operation

    Reply
  108. Angela

    We live is St Nazianz in Manitowoc county. It’s great to hear people slaughter that one. Near here there is a town named Memee, it makes me giggle every time.

    Reply
  109. Karen Gabriel

    New Holstein
    Tomah
    Tomahawk
    Independence
    Brown Deer
    Butternut
    Menomonee Falls in Waukesha Cnty
    Menomonie in Dunn Cnty
    Menominee in Menominee Cnty
    4 Cleveland’s in Wi & 6 Clifton’s

    Reply
  110. Jeff Guidinger

    Ino, Bayfield county. You say it like it looks… I KNOW. Between Ashland and Iron RIver Wisconsin on STH 2.

    Reply
    • jeannie perry

      i know! i go thru ino often. there is nothing there but one bar (with good food)! it always makes me picture an eager kid in class, eager to answer the question, waving his arm and going, I KNOW! I KNOW!

      Reply
  111. Philip Mundt

    Oil City, White City, Avalanche, Dilly. And of course in Clark County is Globe, which could just as easily be known by an acronym of the three county Highways that intersect in the middle of village. Count t Highway H, County Highway o, and County highway G. (HOG)

    Reply

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