Campinas means grass fields in Portuguese and refers to its characteristic landscape, which originally comprised large stretches of dense subtropical forests (mato grosso or thick woods in Portuguese), mainly along the many rivers, interspersed with gently rolling hills covered by low-lying vegetation.
Campinas was also known as "Cidade das Andorinhas" (City of Swallows), because it was a favorite spot for these migratory birds, which flocked annually in enormous numbers to downtown Campinas. However, they almost disappeared around the 1950s, probably because the church and plaza where they used to roost were torn down. Campinas' official crest and flag has a picture of the mythical bird, the phoenix, because it was practically reborn after a devastating epidemic of yellow fever in the 1800s, which killed more than 25% of the city's inhabitants.
The demonym for Campinas is a campineiro.