Stories We Like: A Guide to the Comma
legendary small town, 1846, originally the name of a small group of Indians who lived around the Podunk River in Connecticut; the tribe name is in colonial records from 1656 (as Potunck), from southern New England Algonquian (Mohegan or Massachusetts) Potunk, probably from pautaunke, from pot- "to sink" + locative suffix -unk, thus "a boggy place." Its popularity as the name of a typical (if mythical) U.S. small town dates from a series of witty "Letters from Podunk" which ran in the "Buffalo Daily National Pilot" newspaper beginning Jan. 5, 1846.
The legendary small country town; East Jesus, jerk town
[1843+; originally an Algonquian place name meaning ''a neck or corner of land,'' used for several places in New England; also the name of a small tribe]