Place-Name Glossary

This is a glossary of Scots words which are used in place-names. Each entry gives the meaning of the word, alongside linguistic notes (discussed below) and modern and historical examples of the word in actual place-names in Scotland.

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Modern FormOlder Scots FormEtymologyPoSDefinitionModern ExamplesHistorical Evidence SND LinkDOST LinkNotes
kamekameOE cambna long, narrow, steep-sided mound or ridge, a hill-ridge; a small peninsula, a narrow isthmusKame of Isbister (Shetland); Kaimflat (Roxburghshire); Kame of Hoy (Orkney); Easter Kame (Shetland); Kaimes (Fife); Kaimhill (Aberdeenshire); Kaim Head (Edinburgh); Kaimend (Roxburghshire); Kame of Riven Noup (Shetland)Camis 1533; Kems 1654; Kaims Hill 1773; Kaimes 1781kame n; S1 kame n; S2 kame nkame n; came n; kem, keme n
carsekerse, carsuncertainnlow and fertile land along the bank of a riverCarse of Gowrie (Perthshire); The Carse (Inverness); Kinneil Kerse (West Lothian); Carse of Raddery (Ross and Cromarty); Carse Knowe (West Lothian); Kerse (Ayrshire); East Kerse Mains (West Lothian); Carsethorn (Kirkcudbright); Carseburn (Angus)Cars 1292; Ferycars 1359; Cars de Buthkener 1359; Kars 1390; Kers 1392; Kerse de Kambus 1451; Carse of Gowrie 1564; Kersheid 1641carse ncars, carse n; kars n; kers(e n1
cairtercarter, karterME cartarena carterCarterhaugh (Angus, Selkirkshire); Carter Bar (Roxburghshire); Carterhope Burn (Peeblesshire); Carter Fell (Roxburghshire)Carterford c1250; Cartergate c1250; Cartarehauch 1489-90; Carteryards 1657cairter ncartar(e, carter n1; karter, kairter, nSee also SND S1 cadger n
stankstankOF estancna pool, a pond, a fish pond (on an estate); the area of ground around a pond; a small semi-stagnant (overgrown) sheet of water, a stretch of slow-moving water, a sluggish stream; a ditch, an open watercourse; a gutter, a drainage channelBlack Stank (Wigtownshire); Stankards (West Lothian); Fivestanks (West Lothian); Gowan Stank (West Lothian)Castilstank 13thC; Hawedenstank 1397; Houden Stank 1398; Stank of Fowles 1590stank n1; S2 stank n1stank n1
slackslakON slakkinhollow or depression in the ground; a valley between hills; a low-lying waterlogged depression in the ground, a marsh, a morass, boggy ground on a valley floorSlackhead (Banffshire); Gateslack (Dumfriesshire); Aikie Slack (Kirkcudbrightshire); Slacks of Glencarvie (Aberdeenshire); Windy Slack (Midlothian); Mitchellslacks (Dumfriesshire); Beeslack (Midlothian)Catslak 1456; How Slak 1458-59; Grene-slak 1540; Broom Slack 1565; Chamar Slack 1719; St Ethernens Slack 1723slack n2; S2 slack n2slak n1
sideside, sydeOE sīdena side, a slope or hillside; the edge of a forest; a bank or shore of a river or sea, the lands adjacent to a waterway; an area lying adjacent to or at the side of a particular building, place or route; a seashoreKelvinside (Glasgow); Morningside (Edinburgh); Mosside of Kirkbuddo (Angus); Braeside of Cults (Fife); Myreside (Angus); Thickside (Roxburghshire); Bemersyde (Berwickshire); Gateside (Angus); Breckonside (Dumfriesshire)Cirnside c1098; Galtunesside a1153; Birchinsyde 12thC; Fausydde a1199; Bemersyd c1220; Grenesid c1220side n; S2 side nsid(e nSee also DOST gat(e-syd(e n, water-side n and bra-side n
clint, klintclyntODan klintna cliff, a high crag, a precipice; a rock or large stone; a crevice in rocks; steep faces on a high hillClints of Drumore (Kirkcudbrightshire); Clintwood Castle (Roxburghshire); Oak Clints (Kirkcudbrightshire); Clints (Midlothian); Clints of the Buss (Kirkcudbrightshire); Clinthill (Dumfriesshire, Fife); Clints of the Spout (Kirkcudbrightshire); Sound Clint (Kirkcudbrightshire)Clinkskaillis 1556; Klintwood 1654; Clints March 1781; Clintwood 1832clint, klint n; S2 clint nclint, clynt n
mouthmouth, mowOE mūðana mouth; the mouth, outfall or lower end of a stream, river, estuary, or inland sea; the entrance to a harbourLossiemouth (Morayshire); Grangemouth (Stirlingshire); Powmouth (Angus); Eyemouth (Berwickshire); Burnmouth (Angus, Ayrshire); Fordmouth (Angus)Cramesmude 1097-1107; Brockesmuth 1165-1214; Twedemud 1217-27; Salwildmuthe 1214-49mouth n; S1 mouth n; S2 mouth nmouth n; mow n2
corse, crosscorse, croce, crosOE cros, ON krossna cross; a market cross, a market place, a boundary cross; a cairn, a pile of stones on a hill-topCorseford (Renfrewshire); Corsehill (Kirkcudbrightshire); Corsewall (Wigtownshire); Coarse Hill (Fife); Tollcross (Edinburgh, Glasgow); Corseyard (Kirkcudbrightshire); Crossford (South Lanarkshire); Crossgates (Fife); Corsehope (Midlothian); Corseland (Kirkcudbrightshire)Crossrigeflat c1220; Crosflatte c1320; Hakkerstane crose 1425; Crosdikis 1456corse, cors, kors n; croce n; cross n; S1 cross n; S2 cross ncors, corce, corse n2; croce n1; cros, cross(e n1; croice, crois(e n; crose, croas n
cuningarcuningar, cunnigarOF conninière, ME conyngerna rabbit warrenKinningars Park (West Lothian); Cunningar Wood (Aberdeenshire); The Cuningar (West Lothian); Cunningar (Midlothian)Cunyngare 1491; Cunneger hill 1496; Cunnynger hillis1514; Cunnyngayrland 1543cuningar ncuningar, cunningair n; (cunigar), cunnigare n; conyngar(e n; *cuneinyaird n; kunynʒare nsee also DOST cunnygarth n
ruid, roodrud, ruidOE rōdna cross, a religious symbol, a chapel or church of the Holy Rood; a plot or unit of land; a piece of ground apportioned from the land belonging to a burgh to anyone wishing to set up house thereon and to cultivate the remainderHolyrood (Edinburgh); Roodlands (East Lothian); Shortroods (Renfrewshire); Roodyards (Angus); Roodland (Ayrshire)de Huntrodes apud Eccles 13thC; Rauphysrohd c1350; Stokrude 1413; Borrow Roods 1764ruid nrud(e, ruid n1; reed nSee also DOST (rede), reid n6; DOST Burrow rudis n and DOSTBorow ruidis n
hirsthirstOE hyrstna (hard or barren) hillock, knoll or ridge; the summit of a rocky hill; a bank of sand, shingle or gravel in a river or harbourBrocklehirst (Dumfriesshire); Brackenhirst (North Lanarkshire); Ferniehirst (Midlothian, Roxburghshire); Sandy Hirst (East Lothian); South Nettlehirst (Ayrshire)de Twa Hullyrhyrstis 1456; Brakanhirst 1475; Farnihirst 1524-25; Fairnyhirst 1599hirst nhirst, hyrst n1
derndern, darnOE derneasecret, obscure, hidden; dark, dreary, lonely, desolateDerncleugh (Aberdeen); Darnick (Roxburghshire); Darnrig Moss (Stirlingshire); Dernfurd (Aberdeenshire)Dernewic c1136; Dernewick 1584; Dernfurd 1662; Derne Moss 1684dern adj; S2 dern adjdern(e, darn(e a
doocotdowcotME dove + cotna dovecotDovecothall (Berwickshire, Renfrewshire); Doocot (Aberdeenshire); Doo' cot Park (Perth); Doo' cot Hill (Clackmananshire); Dovecot Wood (Aberdeen); Dovecotwell (Dumfriesshire)ducat burne 1592; doucott aiker 1593; dowcat wynde 1660; Dovecot Park 1781doocot n; S2 doocot ndowcot, dowcat n
cleugh, cleuchcleuchOE *clōhna (narrow) gorge or ravine with steep rocky sides, usually the course of a stream; the steep side of a ravine, a cliff; a crag, a rockByrecleugh (Berwickshire); Hare Cleugh (East Lothian); Cleugh Hill (Wigtownshire); Buccleuch (Selkirkshire); The Cleuch (Midlothian); Point of the Cleugh (Wigtownshire)Edwardes-cloch c1190; Ernesclucht c1350; Westircluch-heuyd c1370; Corsclewch 1456cleugh, cleuch n; S2 cleugh ncleuch n
tafttoftON topt, OE toftna homestead (and the attached land), the site of a house or buildingsTaft (Orkney); Easter Tofts (South Lanarkshire); Upper Tofts (Roxburghshire); Tofthill Plantation (Fife); Edgerston Tofts (Roxburghshire); Greentoft (Orkney); Lower Toft (Roxburghshire)Eghetofft 1214-49; Braytoftis 1248-9; Godemannistoft c.1235; Toftes 1296; Tofts 1622taft ntoft n1See also DOST Tofting, Thoftyn, n
fellfellON fjallna (rocky) hill, a mountain; a tract of hill-moorCampsie Fells (Stirlingshire); Long Fell (Kirkcudbrightshire); Fellcleugh (Berwickshire); Round Fell (Kirkcudbrightshire); Dodd Fell (Roxburghshire); Fell Hill (Wigtownshire); Dryden Fell (Roxburghshire); Abbey Fell (Kirkcudbrightshire); Fellend (Dumfriesshire); Fell of Fleet (Kirkcudbrightshire); Capell Fell (Dumfriesshire); Thorter Fell (Kirkcudbrightshire)Erniltoun fell 1654; Ellemsyde of Felcleuch 1665; Campsie Fells 1795; Fell of Fleet 1832fell n2 fell n1
easterester, eisterOE ēasterraaeastern, lying towards the east, the more easterly of two places or buildings (in contrast with wester)Easterhouse (Glasgow); Easter Ross (Ross and Cromarty); Easterton (Aberdeenshire); Easter Quarff (Shetland); Easter Cash (Fife); Easter Tofts (South Lanarkshire); Easter Knock (Aberdeenshire)Esterhathou a1200; Estyr Fenton c1224; Eister Vemis 1556; Eistyr Drakie 1562easter adjester, eister, easter a
east, aistest, eistOE ēastasituated in the east, easternEastfield (Glasgow); East Craigs (Edinburgh); East Kilbride (South Lanarkshire); Eastgate (Inverness); East Neuk (Fife); East Grain (Aberdeenshire); East Voe of Quarff (Shetland)Estfulhope c1240; Estcrag 1278; Est Nesebit 1296; Estschelys 1359; Estwod 1373east adj; S2 east adj; aist adjest, eist a
fairniefarnyOE fearnigafernyFairnieside (Berwickshire); Ferniebrae (Aberdeenshire, Kincardineshire); Fairnielee (Selkirkshire); Ferniehill (Edinburgh); Ferniehirst (Midlothian, Roxburghshire); Ferniegair (South Lanarkshire); Fernieflatt (Kincardineshire); Fernyrig (Berwickshire); Fernie Grain (Midlothian)Farniacres 13thC; Farenyacredene c1320; Farnydoune 1372; Farnyle 1456fern nfarny a
flush, flashflosche, fluschOE *flæsc, ON flaskna piece of boggy ground (where the water frequently lies on the surface), a swampy place, a pool of water in a fieldFlush Hill (Wigtownshire); Flosh (Dumfriesshire); Flass (Berwickshire, Fife); The Flashes (Midlothian); Floshend Loch (Dumfriesshire); Flesh Glen (Fife); The Floss (Selkirkshire); Foulflush (Wigtownshire); Flass Well (Berwickshire); Isle of Flosh (Dumfriesshire); Flesh Cleugh (Midlothian); Flask Wood (Dumfriesshire); Flosh Burn (Roxburghshire); Floshknowe (Dumfriesshire)Flas 1388-89; Flashill 1531; Flasche 1550-51; The Flass 1569; Floshe 1569; Flask 1653; Flass 1654; Flash 1808flush n; flash n1flosche n; flusch, fluche n, flus, flous, n
gallow, gallagallowOE galgana gallows, a place of executionGallowgate (Glasgow); Gallatown (Fife); Gallowhill (Aberdeenshire, Ross and Cromarty, Perthshire, West Dunbartonshire, Wigtownshire); Gallowfauld (Angus); Galalaw (Roxburghshire); Gallowdykes (Edinburgh); Gallowhills (Aberdeenshire); Gallows Knowe (West Lothian)Galuraw c1250; Galowhille 1315; Galugat 1317; Gallowmore 1488gallows ngallo(w, galow- n; gallow(i)s, gallous nSee also DOST gallowgate n and gallowhill n
gledgledOE glidanthe common kite; a hawkGladswood (Berwickshire); Gledsnest (Roxburghshire); Gladhouse (Midlothian); Gledehills (Fife); Gled Hill (West Lothian); Gladsmoor (Wigtownshire); Glede Knowe (Midlothian); Gladgate (Fife); Glede Bog (Kirkcudbrightshire)Gledehus 1140-53; Gleddiswod c1200; Gledstanes c1354; Gledhous 1563gled n1gled n
cotcot, coteOE cotna small house, a humble dwelling, a cottage; a sheep-houseSaltcoats (Ayrshire, East Lothian); Cotts of Innes (Morayshire); Cauldcoats (Midlothian); Gatehousecote (Roxburghshire); Lochcote (West Lothian); Banks Cott (Kirkcudbrightshire); Butchercoat (Berwickshire); Coates (Midlothian)Grenhilcotis c1320; Saltcotis 1368; Lochcot(t)is 1471; Coitcroft 1576cot n; S2 cot ncot, cott n3; cote, coit n2See also DOST cotland n and cote-, coit-, coatland, n; and DOST cot-toun n
greengreneOE grēneagrassy, green-coloured; covered in grass or greeneryGreenlaw (Angus, Berwickshire, Midlothian); Greenhill (Sutherland); Greenwood (Berwickshire); Greenside (Midlothian); Green Nap (Fife); Greenhead (Roxburghshire); Green Shields (Stirlingshire)Grenlaw a1159; Grenerig c1220; Grenesyd(e) 1256-59; Greneheved 1296; Grenhil(cotis) 1317; Grenelaw 1492green adj; S1 green adj; S2 green adjgrene, grein a

Glossary compiled by Dr Alison Grant of Scottish Language Dictionaries and the Scottish Place-Name Society.

Linguistic Notes

The glossary provides the Modern Scots form of each place-name element, and then traces the word back through the Older Scots form to its etymological root. Illustration of the development of each element is found in the historical forms, and modern usage is illustrated by the current place-name examples provided. The glossary also provides references to the two major Scots dictionaries, the Scottish National Dictionary (SND) and the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (DOST) together with any relevant supplementary material (the first SND supplement is marked S1, and the second S2, and the additions to DOST are marked ADDS). These dictionaries can be accessed online at www.dsl.ac.uk. Further supplementary material has been added from two 1940s Ph. D. theses, The Non-Celtic Place-Names of the Scottish Border Counties by May Williamson and The Place Name of Midlothian by Norman Dixon, both of which are available for consultation in the ‘resources’ section of the Scottish Place-Name Society website. The glossary contains Scots words derived from Old English, Old Norse, Middle Dutch, Anglo-Norman French and Latin, together with more recent loan-words from Gaelic and Insular Norn. For example, the whilst ‘glen’ is primarily a Gaelic place-name element, occurring in names such as Glen Affric and Glenmore, the word was also borrowed into Scots, where it was used to form names such as Glenhead and Glens of Foudland. Similarly, although names in ‘geo’ are often from Old Norse gjá, including Ramnageo and Papilgeo, the word was also borrowed into Scots from Norn, and used to coin names such as Millburn Geo and Geo of Dykesend.Counties (where given) are pre-1975 local government reorganisation.

PoS = Part of Speech (noun, adjective, etc.)