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 Form||Older Scots Form||Etymology||PoS||Definition||Modern Examples||Historical Evidence||SND Link||DOST Link||Notes|
|kame||kame||OE camb||n||a long, narrow, steep-sided mound or ridge, a hill-ridge; a small peninsula, a narrow isthmus||Kame 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 1781||kame n; S1 kame n; S2 kame n||kame n; came n; kem, keme n|
|carse||kerse, cars||uncertain||n||low and fertile land along the bank of a river||Carse 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 1641||carse n||cars, carse n; kars n; kers(e n1|
|kill||kill, kilne||OE cylene||n||a 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 1839||kill n1; S2 kill n1||kill n1; kiln(e n; ADDS kiln(e n|
|king||king||OE cyning||n||a king, the king||Kingsknowe (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 c1330||king n; S1 king n; S2 king n||king n; ADDS king n|
|kirkton||kirktoun||ON kirkja, OE kirke + OE tūn||n||a town or village situated by a church, the hamlet in which the parish church of a rural parish is located; a farm adjacent to a church||Kirkton of Bourtie (Aberdeenshire); Kirkton (Fife, Midlothian, Roxburghshire); Kirktonbridge Cottages (Aberdeenshire); Kirkton of Cults (Fife); Kirkton of Tough (Aberdeenshire); Kirkton Muir (Kincardineshire); Nether Kirkton (Aberdeenshire); Kirktonhill (Dumfriesshire)||Kyrchetune c1145; Kirketun 1206; Kirketun super Stryvelin 1319; kyrktoune 1403||kirk n1; S2 kirk n1||kirk-, kyrktoun n||See also DOST kirk-clachan n|
|knock||knok||Gael cnoc||n||a small hill or hillock, especially one in isolation||Knock of Formal (Angus); Knock Hill (Aberdeenshire); Easter Knock (Aberdeenshire); West Knock (Angus); East Knock (Angus)||Knokis 1330; Knok 1364; Heslisid Knok 1525; Knokhill 1541||knock n3||knok, knock n3|
|know, knowe||know, knoll||OE cnoll||n||a 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 1754||know n; S1 know n; S2 know n||knoll n; know n|
|kyle||kyle||Gael caol||n||a strait or sound; a narrow arm of the sea; a narrow part of a river||Kyles of Bute (Argyllshire); Kyle of Lochalsh (Inverness-shire); Kyle of Sutherland (Sutherland); Kyle of Tongue (Sutherland)||Kyle of Aran 1549; Kyle de Glenalmond 1624; Kyll of Glenamount 1641; Kyle of Shuna 1730||kyle n1||kyle, kyll n|
|kirk||kyrk||ON kirkja, OE kirke||n||a church||New Kirk (Aberdeenshire); Hobkirk (Roxburghshire); Ladykirk (Berwickshire); Kirk o' Field (Midllothian]; Kirkford (Fife); Kirkmuir (Kirkcudbrightshire)||Kyrckeburne c1160; Selekirke 1165-1214; Askirke 1214-49; Kyrkhop a1300||kirk n1; S1 kirk n1; S2 kirk n1||kirk n; ADDS kirk n|
|lamb||lam||OE lamb||n||a lamb, a young sheep||Lambhill (Glasgow); Lambden (Berwickshire); Lamblair Edge (Roxburghshire); Lamb Island (Perthshire); Lamb Rig (Dumfriesshire); (The) Lamb (Firth of Forth); Lamblair Hill (Roxburghshire); Lamblair Knowe (Dumfriesshire)||Lambremore c1160; Lambedene 1214-49; Lambhilles 1666; Lamb-Croft 1667||lamb n1||lam, lamb(e n|
|lang||lang||OE lang||a||long||Langholm (Dumfriesshire); Langlands (Stirlingshire); Langton (Berwickshire); Langbank (Stirlingshire); Langside (Dumfriesshire, Roxburghshire); Langfauld (Fife); Langhill (Stirlingshire); Langhaugh (Angus)||Langelaw c1170; Langelandes c1200; Langeside c1225; Langefelle c1270||lang adj; S1 lang adj; S2 lang adj||lang adj1; ADDS lang adj1; long adj|
|law||law||OE hlāw||n||a round or conical hill, often in isolation; an artificial mound or hillock, a grave-mound or barrow; a mound of earth and shingle on the bank of a river on to which salmon nets are drawn to be emptied||Softlaw (Roxburghshire); Black Law (Ayrshire); Lawhead (Fife); Harelaw (Berwickshire); Box Law (Ayrshire); Lawmuir (Dunbartonshire); Sauchie Law (Selkirkshire); Meikle Law (Midlothian)||Raperlau c1150; Wythelawe 1147-52; Grenlaw a1159; Harlauhill c1170; Welpelaw 1222; Qwitlau 1327||law n2||law n2; ADDS law n2||See also DOST law n3, which may be related|
|liggat||liggat||OE hlidgeat||n||a self-closing gate, to prevent cattle from straying||Liggat Syke (West Lothian); Whinnieliggate (Kirkcudbrightshire); Liggatt Hill (Wigtownshire); Ludgate Lodge (Edinburgh); Liggat Cheek (Kirkcudbrightshire); Luggate Burn (East Lothian); Fumart Liggat (Kirkcudbrightshire); Doddiesliggat (Dumfriesshire); Red Liggat (Wigtownshire); Stubliggat (Kirkcudbrightshire)||lidyate 1170; Lidgai 1540-41; Liggate 1746; Liggat Syke 1890||liggat n; S2 liggat n||liggat n; lidgait n; lidyate n|
|links||linkis||OE hlincas||n||the sandy undulating open ground covered with turf, bent grass or gorse along the sea shore on a flat part of the coast, often including sand-dunes (which is often common ground belonging to the nearest town)||Links of Dunnet (Caithness); Linksfield (Aberdeen, Morayshire); Innes Links (Morayshire); Monifieth Links (Angus); Whitelinks (Aberdeenshire); Links Wood (Fife); Leith Links (Edinburgh); Links of Montrose (Angus)||le lynkis de Leith 1453; le linkis de Dirltoun 1512; the eist and west linxis of Dunbar 1598-99; Leith linx 1673; Bruntsfield links 1684||links n.pl.; S2 links n.pl.||linkis, lynkis n. plu; ADDS linkis n. plu||See also SNDS1 links market|
|linn||linn||OE hlynn, Gael linn(e)||n||a waterfall, a cateract; a precipice, ravine, a deep narrow gorge; a pool in a river; a pool below a waterfall||Linn o' Dee (Aberdeenshire); Lin Mill (Stirlingshire); Lindean (Selkirkshire); Linn of Muick (Aberdeenshire); Colislinn (Roxburghshire); Lynn (Fife); Bell's Linn (Roxburghshire); Linhouse (Midlothian)||Lynden 1153-45; Lynnesden 1228; Clydis Lin 1649; Lintoun Linn 17thC; Corra Linn 1825||linn n; S1 linn n; S2 linn n||lin, linn(e, lyn(n n|
|loch||loch||Gael loch||n||an expanse of standing water, a lake or pond; a narrow or land-locked arm of the sea||Hogganfield Loch (Glasgow) Lochfauld (Dunbartonshire); Loch of Brockan (Orkney); Corby Loch (Aberdeen); Loch of Aithsness (Shetland); Loch Mill (West Lothian); Lochend (Argyllshire, Inverness-shire); Loch of Mey (Caithness); Duddingston Loch (Edinburgh); Lochshot (West Lothian)||Blaklouch a1325; louch medow 1439; Louchside 1451; Burro Lowch 1561-62; North Loch 1569||loch n; S2 loch n||loch, louche n||See also DOST locheid n|
|loan||lone||OE lane||n||a grassy strip leading to a pasture or open ground, beginning at or near a farm, village or burgh as a green where the cattle were milked; a cattle-track through arable land which links to common grazing; the part of a farm ground which leads to or adjoins the house; a street or roadway, a lane||Dobbie’s Loan (Glasgow); The Tinks’ Loan (St Andrews); Langloan (North Lanarkshire); Byresloan (Fife); Loan Knowes (Wigtownshire); Blackloanhead (Banffshire); Loanhead (Angus, Fife, Midlothian); Fairloans (Roxburghshire); Loanfoot (Fife); Loanburn (Kirkcudbrightshire)||the lone of Alanhauch 1535-36; Brochtoun lon heid 1587; Dalry lone 1591; Carcart lone heid 1664||loan n1; S2 loan n1||lone n1||Compare SND loanin n and DOST loning n|
|loanin, loaning||loning||ME lonyng||n||An enclosed track for animals through cultivated or park land; a grassy strip serving as a milking place: a common road or green of this sort||Greenloaning (Perthshire); Loaningfoot (Kirkcudbrightshire); Loaninghill (West Lothain); Loaningside (Stirlingshire); Loaninghead (Kirkcudbrightshire)||le lonyngdyke 1348; The lonyng of the land of Greneforde 1402; Lie grene lonyng 1565; westirloaning 1641||loanin n; S2 loanin n||loning n||Compare SND loan n1 and DOST lone n1|
|lowp||lowp, loup||ON hlaup||n||a leap, a jumping place, a site ascribed to a legendary leap; a shelf in a river bed over which the water cascades or by which fish may ascend by leaping, a waterfall||Buck Loup (Wigownshire); Fairy Loup (Dumfriesshire); Downie's Loup (Stirlingshire); Loup of Kilfeddar (Wigtownshire); Loup of Fintry (Stirlingshire); Matty's Loup (Wigtownshire); Berry's Loup (Aberdeenshire); Loups of Penwhirn (Wigtownshire); White Lairds Loup (Wigtownshire)||Maiden's loup 1629; Wallace loup 1638; the Loups of Kenny 1795; The Strait-loup 1856||lowp n; S2 lowp n||lowp, loup n1; lope, loip n|
|meedow||medow||OE mǣdwe||n||a meadow, (marshy) grassland which is mown for use as hay||Meadowfield (Edinburgh); Greenmeadow (Shetland); Meadowgreens (Stirlingshire); Broadmeadows (Selkirkshire); Meadowbank (Edinburgh); Fostermeadow (Dumfriesshire); Meadowhead (Fife); The Meadows (Edinburgh)||Gretrigesmedue c1170; Meduflat a1200; Brademedue 1200-02; Hollemedu a1250; medowschott of Restalrig 1579; The Medowburne 1632||meedow n||medow n||See also DOST medow-skift n and medow-ward n|
|midden||middin, midding||ON *myki-dyngja, ME mydding||n||a dunghill, a refuse heap; a boggy place||Midden Craig (Kirkcudbrightshire); Black Midden (Aberdeenshire); The Middens (Fife); Carsehope Middens (South Lanarkshire)||Blakmiddingis 1508; Mydynnes 1517; Middendub 1781; The Middens 1855 (OS Fife v3)||midden n, S1 midden n, S2 midden n||mid(d)in(g n|
|mill||miln, mylne||OE myln||n||a mill, a corn-mill||Millburn (Inverness); Mill of Gairn (Aberdeenshire); Waulkmill (Morayshire); Kingsmills (Inverness); Milnquarter (Stirlingshire); Loch Mill (West Lothian); Little Mill (Aberdeenshire); Mill Knowe (Argyllshire); Milnthird (Kirkcudbrightshire)||mulneburne 1165-1214; Milnehalech c 1200; milnecroft 1227; Le mylne crofte 1428; the mylne of Kynnabir 1467||mill n; S1 milln||miln, mill n|
|milton||milntoun||OE myln + tūn||n||the buildings comprising a mill; the farm adjacent to a mill and tenanted by the miller; a hamlet which has grown up around a mill||Milton of Campsie (Dunbartonshire); Milton of Balgonie (Fife); Waulkmilton (Stirlingshire); Milton of Whitehouse (Aberdeenshire); Milton of Tullich (Aberdeenshire); Milltown of Phingask (Aberdeenshire); Milton (Dumfriesshire, Fife, Glasgow, Inverness); Miltongreen (Fife); Milton of Ogilvie (Angus); Milton of Leyes (Inverness)||milnetun 13thC; Mylnetoun c1240; myltoune of Concragy 1491; myllnetoun of Dunblane 1601; milltun of Lausie 1708||mill n||miln-toun, myltoune n|
|moss||mos||OE mos||n||a marsh, a bog, a tract of soft wet ground; a bog from which peats are dug, a moorland on an estate allocated to the tenants for cutting fuel||Mosspark (Glasgow); Moss of Cruan (Orkney); Moss of Wester (Caithness); Moss Croft (Aberdeenshire); Red Moss (Caithness); Hallmoss (Aberdeenshire)||Mosplat c 1220; Byermos 1219-33; Grenemos c1300-30; Ridhalchis Mowse 1475||moss n; S2 moss n||mos n|
|mouth||mouth, mow||OE mūða||n||a mouth; the mouth, outfall or lower end of a stream, river, estuary, or inland sea; the entrance to a harbour||Lossiemouth (Morayshire); Grangemouth (Stirlingshire); Powmouth (Angus); Eyemouth (Berwickshire); Burnmouth (Angus, Ayrshire); Fordmouth (Angus)||Cramesmude 1097-1107; Brockesmuth 1165-1214; Twedemud 1217-27; Salwildmuthe 1214-49||mouth n; S1 mouth n; S2 mouth n||mouth n; mow n2|
Glossary compiled by Dr Alison Grant of Scottish Language Dictionaries and the Scottish Place-Name Society.
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.)