To explore landscape properties using language, we analyzed the semantics and associated physical properties of four generic landscape terms through spatially located microtoponyms in the Swiss canton of St. Gallen. We applied quantitative methods to physical and etymological data to understand how four common generic terms (Wald, Holz, Riet, and Moos) were used in microtoponyms in the canton. We observe that the meaningful elements associated with those generic terms characterize general properties of landscape independent of the feature type as well as specific properties linked to the feature. Moreover, using a toponym taxonomy, we compared co-occurrences of different terms (e.g., those associated with spatial relationships or vegetation) for the four generic terms. Holz, which we argue is more associated with land use than land cover, was markedly different in naming patterns from the other three generic terms, and we suggest that this was driven by a distinction between nature and culture. We conclude that the act of naming natural features is influenced not only by properties of the referent but also by broader scale landscape patterns and cognitive associations with landscape terms.