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 FormEtymology PoSDefinitionModern ExamplesHistorical EvidenceSND LinkDOST LinkNotes
brig, briggbrigOE brycg, ON bryggjana bridge; a reef, a long low ridge of sea-rocks; a large flat stone, a flagstoneBlackbriggs (Ayrshire, Kirkcudbrightshire); Birgham (Berwickshire); Gorebridge (Edinburgh); The Brig o Ballater; (Abderdeenshire); Brighouse (Kirkcudbrightshire); Brig o' Doon (Ayrshire); Fisherbriggs (Aberdeenshire); Briggait (Glasgow); Brigstanes (Kincardineshire); Stonebriggs (Aberdeenshire)Prestesbrige c1150; Hatherbrig c1190; Risibrigg c1240; Briggate c1266; Brighous 1337; Bryghend 1359brig n1; S1 brig n1; S2 brig n1brig, bryg n
burnburnOE burnana brook or stream; water (from a fountain or well)Blackburn (West Lothian); Springburn (Glasgow); Netherburn (South Lanarkshire); Burn of Cruan (Orkney); Den Burn (Aberdeenshire); Burnbank (North Lanarkshire); Millburn (Inverness); Burn of Whilk (Caithness); Dryburn (Morayshire); Burnside (Fife); Burnfoot (Wigtownshire)Merburne c1170; Triernburn c1200; Bradestrothirburne c1220; Kyrkeburne 1229; le Burnhedis 1505; Burneside 1548burn n; S1 burn n; S2 burn nburn nSee also SND brin n1
cauld, cowldcaldOE caldacoldCaldside (Berwickshire); Cauldcots (Angus); Caulhame (West Lothian); Cauldcoats (Midlothian, Renfrewshire); Cauldside (Dumfriesshire, East Lothian); Coldstream (Berwickshire); Cauldshiel (East Lothian)Kalde welle c1190; Kaldestrem c 1200; Caldelaue 1218; Caldclogh 1363cauld adj; S1 cauld adj; S2 cauld adj; cowld adj; S2 cowld adjcald, cauld a
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
know, knoweknow, knollOE cnollna small rounded hill, a hillock or mound (sometimes associated with fairies)Acreknowe (Roxburghshire); Crowdieknowe (Dumfriesshire); Knowe of Grugar (Orkney); Mill Knowe (Argyllshire); Tappetknowe (Stirlingshire); Silver Knowe (Perthshire); Gallows Knowe (West Lothian); Knowe of Steeringlo (Orkney) Knowehead (Aberdeenshire, Angus); Broomknowe (Fife); Knowe of Burgarth (Shetland); Silverknowes (Edinburgh); Dam Knowe (Wigtownshire)Brunecnolh 1165-1249; Knolestruthyr c1350; Lie widderitknow 1599; Clerks Know 1754know n; S1 know n; S2 know nknoll n; know 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
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
queen, wheenqueneOE cwēnna queen, the queenSouth Queensferry (West Lothian); North Queensferry (Fife); Queen's Park (Glasgow); Queenshaugh (Stirling); Queen's Seat (Fife)Qwenys-ferry c1420; le quenys Hauche 1457; Quenis fery1480; Queen's Seat 1773queen n; S2 queen n; wheen n2quen(e, quein n1
killkill, kilneOE cylenena kiln; a kiln-shaped chasm in the rocks (linked to the sea by a tunnel)Kiln Knowe (Kirkcudbrightshire); Kilnhill (Angus, South Lanarkshire); Kiln Rocks (Fife); Kiln Croft (Kirkcudbrightshire); Kill Burn (Midlothian); Kiln Plantation (Kirkcudbrightshire); Kilburns (Fife); Halflawkiln (Midlothian); Kiln Strand (Kirkcudbrightshire)the Kill-croft 1627; Halfflakill 1627; Lilmkiln 1773; Halfla Kill 1839kill n1; S2 kill n1kill n1; kiln(e n; ADDS kiln(e n
kingkingOE cyningna king, the kingKingsknowe (Edinburgh); King's Park (Stirling); Kingsmills (Inverness); Kingslinks (Aberdeen); Kingsbarns (Fife); Kingsmuir (Angus); Kingston Grange (Midlothian)Kingeswell c1200; Kingessete c1200; Kyngeston 1221; Kynggesside a1300; Kynggewell a1300; Kyngestrete c1330king n; S1 king n; S2 king nking n; ADDS king n
dale, deel, daaldale, dailOE dæl, ON dalrna dale, a valleyTeviotdale (Roxburghshire); Lauderdale (Berwickshire); Butterdales (Dumfriesshire); Tweeddale (Roxburghshire); Nithsdale (Dumfriesshire)Teviettedale c1100; Drivesdale 1116; Teuidall c1154; Tvededale 1159; Lawederdale c1200dale n3; deel n; daal, dal(l ndale, dail(l n1
den, deanden, deneOE denuna hollow with sloping sides (often with a rivulet), a narrow (wooded) ravine or valley, a dingleDen Burn (Aberdeenshire); Blakedean (Roxburghshire); Cardenden (Fife); Dean Village (Edinburgh); Denholm (Roxburghshire); Lambden (Berwickshire); Aikendean (Midlothian); Milldeans (Fife); Hassendean (Roxburghshire)Lummesdene c1100; Botheldene 1159; Ellesdene 1218; Strikerden 1275; Denside 1304den n1den n1; dene 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
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
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
edgeegeOE ecgnan edge; the crest of a sharp ridgeWindy Edge (Fife, West Lothian); Edgeface (Stirlingshire); Muiredge (Fife); Edgefield (Midlothian); Lamblair Edge (Roxburghshire); Edgefauld Road (Glasgow); Cairn Edge (Midlothian)Soltray ege 1455; Windiaige 1596; Eadestoun eadge 1603; Edgeberry 1773edge nege, egge n
fauldfaldOE falodnan enclosure for animals; an enclosed piece of ground used for cultivation, a small field; the part of the outfield which was manured by folding cattle upon itLochfauld (Dunbartonshire) Whitefauld (Stirlingshire); Edgefauld Road (Glasgow); Langfaulds (Dunbartonshire); Clayfaulds (Stirlingshire); Muiryfaulds (Angus); Linen Faulds (West Lothian); Scabbit Fauld (Aberdeenshire); Whitefaulds (Ayrshire); Bowriefauld (Angus)Kochilfaulde 1407; Morefaulde 1407; the faldis of Cabrastone 1595-96; Firth Faldis 1611fauld n2; S2 fauld n2; fold n; S1 fold nfald, fauld n1See also SNDS barnfauld n and DOST stand fa(u)ld n, shepe-fald n, fald-dyke n, fold-dyke n, nowt-fald n
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
fieldfeld, fieldOE feldna fieldEastfield (Glasgow); Linksfield (Aberdeen); Bruntsfield (Edinburgh); Priestfield (Angus); Field of Noss (Caithness); Bellfield Park (Inverness); Hogganfield (Glasgow); Smithfield (Aberdeen)Wytefeld c1200; Lyllochefylde 1293; Westfeld 1294; Prestfeld 1327; Hwytfyld 1333field n; S1 field nfeld(e, feild n; ADDS feld(e nsee also DOST feld(e) land, feild land 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
yettʒetOE geatna gate, a gateway or entrance to a town or building; a natural pass or defile between hillsKirk Yetholm (Roxburghshire); Brae of Yetts (Dunbartonshire); Broadyetts (West Lothian); Rashlieyett (Ayrshire); Moatyett (South Lanarkshire); Wateryett (Ayrshire)le Barres ʒeth 1487; Sanct Leonards yettis 1553-54; Rodin Yett 1568; Mekill Yet 1590; Yetts of Keppel 1828; Yetts of Muckart 1845yett n1; S2 yett n1ʒet(t, yet(t 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
guseguseOE gōsna gooseGoosedubs (Edinburgh, Glasgow); High and Laigh Gooseloan (Ayrshire); Goose Loch (Selkirkshire); Goosecroft Road (Stirling); Goosefauld (Glasgow)Gwis croft 1538; the guis hawch of Kynmynty 1554; Gusdubbis 1563; Goos Dubb 1721guse n; S1 guse n; S2 guse n; geese nguse, guis n1
great, gretgret, greteOE grēatagreatGreatmoor (Roxburghshire); Great Knock (Peeblesshire); Great Brow (Dumfriesshire); Great Law (Midlothian); Great Hill (Peeblesshire)Gretrigesmedue c1170; Gretryg c1214; Gretlau a1300; Grittmoore 1654great adj; S2 great adjgret, grett a; grete, greit a
greengreneOE grēnengrassy ground, a grassy place; an open piece of grassy ground (in the grounds of a manor or castle); a town or village greenGlasgow Green (Glasgow); Parson's Green (Edinburgh); Magdalen Green (Dundee); Gunsgreen (Berwickshire); Greens of Gardyne (Angus); Schilgreen (Roxburghshire); Gretna Green (Dumfriesshire); Blairsgreen (Fife)Schelgrene c1320; Wodgrenystoun 1359; Gownisgrein 1580; Smiddiegrein 1652green n; S1 green n; S2 green ngrene, grein n

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.)