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 FormEtymologyPoSDefinition Modern ExamplesHistorical EvidenceSND LinkDOST LinkNotes
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
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
slapslopMiddle Dutch slopna gap, breach or hole (in a wall), an entrance or exit, an opening; a narrow lane running between houses; a pass or shallow valley between hills; a gateSlap of Quoybeezie (Orkney); Waterslap (Stirlingshire); Slap of Faravill (Orkney); Coldstone Slap (Midlothian); Kirkslap (Stirlingshire); Slap of Warth (Orkney); Mote Slap (Wigtownshire); Slap of Grindela (Orkney)Liggʒet Slappe 1561; Claysclope 1635; Barkerland slop 1707; Coldstaine Slap 1715slap n2; S2 slap n2slop, slap n1
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
puddockpaddok, poddokME paddokena frog, a toadPottishaw (West Lothian); Paddockmuir Wood (Perthshire); Paddock Hall (West Lothian); Paddington Sike (Roxburghshire)Poddocford 1272-1316; Paddocford c1300; Padokschaw 1503; Paddowcleucheheid 1569; Paddoklaw 1618; paddock-buttis 1619puddock n; S1 puddock n; S2 puddock npad(d)ok n1; poddo(c)k, puddock n; paddo, padow nCompare DOST pad(e n and pode n
todtodME todna foxTodhills (Angus, Midlothian); Todrig (Berwickshire); Todrigs Burn (Ayrshire); Todholes (Caithness, Dumfriesshire); Todlhole Knowe (Midlothian); Todhillock (Aberdeenshire); Todhead Point (Kincardineshire)Todholerig 1165-82; Thodholesid 1214-49; Todlaw 1222; Todhillis 1587; Todhoillis 1621tod n1tod n1
quarter, wharterquarterOF quartier, quarterna fourth part (of a territory, sherrifdom, burgh, estate or land)North Quarter (Fife); Millquarter (Kirkcudbrightshire); Forresterquarter (Stirlingshire); South Quarter (Fife); Milnquarter (Stirlingshire); Quarterland (Kirkcudbrightshire); Westquarter (Stirlingshire); Quarter Wood (Peeblesshire)le Quarter 1512; Wol-Quarter 1620; Mayne-Quarter 1620; Wastquarter 1631quarter n; S1 quarter n; S2 quarter n; wharter nquarter, quartar(e nCompare SND corter n and SND S2 corter n
forestforest, forrestOF forestna forest, a large wood; (in law) a large tract of ground, not necessarily wooded, and commonly bare and mountainous, originally reserved for the hunting of deer and, as such, belonging to the CrownEttrick Forest (Selkirkshire); Forest Lodge (Roxburghshire); Forest Muir (Angus); Stonedge Forest (Roxburghshire); Glendoll Forest (Angus); Foresthall (Glasgow); Devilla Forest (Fife); Wauchope Forest (Roxburghshire)A foresto de Seleschirche a1153; Etryke forest 1384; Forrest burne 1648; The forest of Alyth 1724forest nforest, forrest n
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
haininghaningON hegning, ME hainingna fence, hedge or wall forming the boundary of an enclosure; a piece or stretch of ground enclosed in this way (originally to protect a hay crop from cattle)The Haining (Selkirkshire); Haining (Stirlingshire); North Haining Farm (West Lothian); Haining Brae (Edinburgh); Haining Valley (Stirlingshire); Haining Moss (Selkirkshire)le Hayning 1298-99; Hayny[n]gschaw 1348; Hayninghil 1413; Haynyng 1423; haningis of Vrie 1636hain v; S1 hain v; S2 hain vhaining, haning vbl n
tountounOE tūnna farm (and farm buildings); a hamlet inhabited by estate tenants; a villlage, a burgh, a town; (in Shetland) the enclosed arable ground of a farmAnderston (Glasgow); Edgerston (Roxburghshire); Mertoun (Berwickshire); Ferryton (Ross and Cromarty); Beckton (Dumfriesshire); Smithton (Inverness); Westerton (Glasgow); Templeton (Angus); Synton (Selkirkshire)Hadyton 1098; Sprostona 1119-24; Clerchetun c1141; Kyrchetune c1145; Hadingtoun a1150; Langtune c1150toun n; S1 toun n; S2 toun ntoun, town(e, ton(e nSee also DOST toun end n and toun heid n
middenmiddin, middingON *myki-dyngja, ME myddingna dunghill, a refuse heap; a boggy placeMidden 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 nmid(d)in(g n
shankschankOE scangana downward spur or projection of a hill, a descending ridge which joins a hill summit to the plainShankfoot (Kirkcudbright); Shank (Midlothian); Shankend (Roxburghshire); Shank of Inchgrundle (Angus); Shank Cleugh (Midlothian); Meg's Shank (Dumfriesshire); Shankend Wood (Midlothian)Schanke c1320; Cammo Schaunkis 1507 Bowshank 1593; The Shankfot croft 1690shank ns(c)hank n
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
threapthrepe, threipME Þrepena dispute, a quarrel (with regard to ownership of land)Thriepland (Banffshire); Threaprig (North Lanarkshire); Threepwood (South Lanarkshire); Threapmuir (Kinross-shire); Threipmuir Reservoir (Midlothian)Threpland c1200; Hafthrepland 1383; Threpleche 1425; threpfelde 1463threap n, S2 threap nthrep(e, threip n
peelpeleME pelena defensive palisade or fence of stakes, a stockade, ground enclosed by such; a small fortified or moated rectangular stone towerPeelrig (Berwickshire); Peelbraehope (Roxburghshire); Peelwalls (Berwickshire); Peelnick (Roxburghshire); Pilmuir (Berwickshire, Fife); Peel Hill (Selkirkshire)Pel de Lithcu 14thC; le Pele 1429; peile of Belsyis 1479; the peile of Knokschenoch 1528peel n4pele, peill n1
weelweilOE wǣlna deep pool in a river or a narrow part of an estuary or the sea; a whirlpoolBloody Wiel (Wigtownshire); Maxwellheugh (Roxburghshire); Reidweil (Kirkcudbrightshire); Cairdie Wiel (Wigtownshire); Scar Weil (Kirkcudbrightshire); Old Weal (Roxburghshire); Cantin Wiel (Wigtownshire)Macch'swel 1159; Sant Katrynis weill 1553; the guidwyffis weill 1586; Craigweill 1593weel n1weil(l, weel(l 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
whamquhawmeON hvammrna dale or valley, a broad hollow among hills (with a stream), a little glen; a hollow piece of ground (in a field), a depressionThe Whaum (St Andrews); Wham Park (Stirlingshire); Whoam Park (West Lothian); Whoam Quarry (West Lothian)Quhawmes 1594; wester quhawme 1635; Whalmfoot 1635-6; Sandy Wham 1773wham n1quhawme 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
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
geogeoON gjána creek or inlet of the sea with steep rocky sides, a cleft with deep water among rocks; a ravineGeo of the Ward (Shetland); Peat Geo (Orkney); Millburn Geo (Shetland); Geo of Dykesend (Orkney); Geo of Sclaites (Caithness); Geo of Pass (Orkney); Geo of Markamouth (Shetland)the geo of Nes 1617; the gew callit Howelay 1636; the Wolf's geo 1795; Mill-gue 1894geo ngeo, gio, gew nCompare SND duo n
heuch, heughheuchOE hōhna crag or precipice, a cliff or steep bank (overhanging a river or the sea); a glen or ravine with steep overhanging sides; (the shaft of) a pit or mine; (the steep face of) a quarryMillheugh (South Lanarkshire); Underheugh (Renfrewshire); Redheugh (Ayrshire, Roxburghshire); Ravensheugh Sands (East Lothian); Slateheugh (Midlothian); Earnsheugh (Aberdeenshire); Slack Heugh (Kirkcudbrightshire); Fastheugh (Selkirkshire); Clachan Heughs (Wigtownshire); Coalheugh Well (Ross and Cromarty); Redheughs (Midlothian); Heugh Farm (East Lothian); Port Mona Heughs (Wigtownshire)Redhuche 1388; Reidhewis 1390-1406; Reidheuchis 1528; Carisheughe 1590heuch nheuch, hewch n; huycheSee also DOST col(e-heuch n
neuknewk, nukeME nokena corner, a nook, a projecting corner of land; a small (triangular) piece of land; a projecting point of land, a headland or promontory; a street corner; a remote or outlying place; the angle of a stream, an inletCraigneuk (North Lanarkshire); East Neuk of Fife (Fife); Woodneuk (Renfrewshire); Millersneuk (Dunbartonshire); Bare Neuk (West Lothian); Dykeneuk Moss (Ayrshire); Millstone Neuk (East Lothian); Mossneuk (North Lanarkshire)the Nuke 1607; the catchpeull newik 1614; the walneuk of Paislaye 1620; the east nook of Fife 1676neuk n; S2 neuk nneuk, newk n; nuk(e, nuik, nok 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

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.)