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|
|queen, wheen||quene||OE cwēn||n||a queen, the queen||South 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 1773||queen n; S2 queen n; wheen n2||quen(e, quein n1|
|quoy||quy||ON kví||n||a piece of land (originally part of the common pasture) which had been enclosed and cultivated as part of a farm’||Quoy Sinclair (Orkney); Quoys of Reiss (Caithness); Mossquoy (Orkney); Quoy Park (Orkney); Quoyhenry (Orkney)||Sanct Margarettis quoy 1591; quoygrahame 1634; St Katharein's quoyes 1706; Castle quoy 1766||quoy n; S1 quoy n||quoy n2; quy, qui n2||See also DOST quyland n and quoyland n|
|ra'en, raven||ravin||OE hræfn, ON hrafn||n||a raven||Ravenscraig (Aberdeenshire, Fife, North Lanarkshire); Ravensheugh Sands (East Lothian); Ravensneuk (Midlothian); Redden (Roxburghshire); Ravenshaugh Burn (Midlothian)||Rauendenam c1140; Rauenesfen a1190; Rauengille a1238; Revenysden 1275||ra'en n||ravin, rawin, revin n1|
|rae, ray||ra, ro||OE rā||n||the roe deer||Raehills (Dumfriesshire); Raeshaw (Midlothian); Raeburn (Dumfriesshire); Rawburn (Berwickshire); Roebuck's Seat (Perthshire); Raegill (Dumfriesshire)||Rasawe 1208; Le Raahill 1456; Raa loch 1510-11; Reyschaw 1627||rae n1||ra, ray n1; ro, roe n2|
|raw||raw||OE rāw||n||a row of houses, of a uniform design and with common gables; cottages for miners or farm-servants; a street comprising such a line of houses||Langraw (Fife, Roxburghshire); Angelrow (Berwickshire); Fisherrow (Midlothian); Dykeraw (Roxburghshire); Rottenrow (Glasgow); Potterrow (Edinburgh); Westraw (South Lanarkshire)||Mukeraw c1248; Bagraw 14thC; Kirkraw 1364; Curquhewraw 1375||raw n1; S2 raw n1||raw, rau(e n; row n3||See also DOST Rat(t)o(u)n raw and DOST Routton raw|
|rig, rigg||ryg||ON hryggr, OE hrycg||n||a ridge of high ground, a long narrow hill, a hill-crest; a strip of ploughed land (raised in the middle and sloping towards the sides), a measure of land; a strip of land leased for building in a Scottish burgh (usually with a narrow street frontage and a considerable extension backwards); a chain of hills, rocks or islands||Broomrigg (Dumfriesshire); Rigghouse (West Lothian); Rigghead (Dumfriesshire); Oatrigg (West Lothian)||Gret rigesmedue c1170; Todholerig 1165-82; Mosiburnerig 1195-96; Burnerig 1165-1214||rig n1; S1 rig n1; S2 rig n1||rig, ryg(g n|
|ring||ring||OE hring||n||a ring; a circular earthwork, a pre-historic hill-fort; a circle of standing stones||The Ring of Brodgar (Orkney); St Bride's Ring (Angus); Ring (Fife); Ring Liggat (Kirkcudbrightshire); The Rings (Peeblesshire)||Ringuude 1165-1214; Ryngwodfelde 14thC; Ringwoodfield 1664; Ringhill 1832||ring n1; S2 ring n1||ring n1; rang n|
|ruid, rood||rud, ruid||OE rōd||n||a 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 remainder||Holyrood (Edinburgh); Roodlands (East Lothian); Shortroods (Renfrewshire); Roodyards (Angus); Roodland (Ayrshire)||de Huntrodes apud Eccles 13thC; Rauphysrohd c1350; Stokrude 1413; Borrow Roods 1764||ruid n||rud(e, ruid n1; reed n||See also DOST (rede), reid n6; DOST Burrow rudis n and DOSTBorow ruidis n|
|sand, saun||sand||OE sand||n||sand, sandy ground, the sea-shore, a beach||Sandend (Banffshire); Sandhead (Wigtownshire); Seton Sands (East Lothian); Sandgreen (Kirkcudbrightshire); Sands of Luce (Wigtownshire); Sand Brae (Aberdeenshire); Silver Sands (Morayshire); Sand Mill (Wigtownshire); Sands (Fife)||Joymersandes c1240; Burch-in-the-sand la14thC; Sand halch 1435; Sandfurde 1449; the sandis of Mussilburghe 1561; sandhalff c1616||sand n; S2 sand n||sand n|
|scrog, scrogg||scrog||ME skrogg||n||brushwood or scrub, thickets of bushes or small trees; an area or piece of land covered with scrub or brushwood; a stunted or crooked bush or low tree, a stump or root of a tree, a crabapple tree||Scroghill (Aberdeenshire); Scrogs of Drumruck (Kirkcudbrightshire); Scroggs (Dumfriesshire); Scrogbank (Selkirkshire); Crossford Scroggs (Dumfriesshire)||terram de Scrogges c1208; Scrogisston 1476; Scrogbank 1595; Priesthaugh Scrogg 1805||scrog n1; S2 scrog n1; scrag n||scrog(g, skrog(g n|
|seat||sete||ON sǽti||n||a high, saddle-shaped and conspicuous hill; a dwelling house, a country seat, a place of habitation||Arthur's Seat (Edinburgh); Earl's Seat (Stirlingshire); Foresterseat (Morayshire); St Arnold's Seat (Angus); Leven Seat (Midlothian); Mowat's Seat (Angus)||Kingesseteburne 1165-90; Pronewessete c1180; Keluesete 1165-1214; Kingessete c1200||seat n; S1 seat n||DOST sete, seit(e n|
|shank||schank||OE scanga||n||a downward spur or projection of a hill, a descending ridge which joins a hill summit to the plain||Shankfoot (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 1690||shank n||s(c)hank n|
|shaw||schaw||OE sceaga, scaga, ON skagi||n||a small (natural) wood, a copse, a thicket, a grove; a bank of narrow ground at the top which broadens out towards the foot||Pollokshaws (Glasgow); Shawhead (North Lanarkshire); Shaw Brae (Kirkcudbrightshire); Kirkshaws (North Lanarkshire); Shaw Hill (Wigtownshire); Shaw Fell (Kirkcudbrightshire)||Haresawes a1240; Crennescawe 1214-49; Swynschawis 1265; Langesawe 1294; Hawkeschaws 1315-21||shaw n2||s(c)haw n1|
|sheep||schepe, chepe||OE scēap, scēp||n||(a) sheep||Sheepbridge (Fife); Sheep Lairs (Kirkcudbrightshire); Sheep House (Midlothian); Sheep Hill (Kirkcudbrightshire)||Scypwel c1143-47; Schipwell 1165-1214; Schepehinche 1261; Schypinche 1262; Shepwell 1337; Schephalche 1374-75||sheep n1; S2 sheep n2||s(c)hep(e, s(c)heip, s(c)hip n; chep(e, cheip n2|
|shiel||schele||ME schele||n||a rude (wooden) hut, a temporary building for seasonal accommodation or storage, a bothy; a shed; an outhouse; a small cottage, a hovel; a piece of pasturage on which a hut has been built, a summer pasturage; a shelter used by fishermen; a sheepcot; a summer or country retreat in the hills occupied by the gentry||Foulshiels (Roxburghshire); Shiels of Glendui (Aberdeenshire); Ketlleshiel (Berwickshire); North Shiel (West Lothian); Shielhill (Aberdeenshire, Angus); Cauldshiel (East Lothian); Galashiels (Selkirkshire); Shielwalls (Stirlingshire)||Bothkillscheles a1159; Windicheles c1200 Schotteschales 1202-8; Mayschelis a1214||shiel n; S1 shiel n||schele, s(c)heil(l n|
|side||side, syde||OE sīde||n||a 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 seashore||Kelvinside (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 c1220||side n; S2 side n||sid(e n||See also DOST gat(e-syd(e n, water-side n and bra-side n|
|skellie||skelly||? OIr sceillec||n||a skerry, a ridge of rock on a seashore (covered at high water)||Maw Skelly (Angus); Skellies Rocks (Fife); The Skellies (Aberdeenshire); Mary's Skelly (Fife); Longskelly Point (East Lothian); Corskelly (Aberdeenshire); Cuttyskelly (Fife)||the quheit skellie 1577; Mill Skelly 1855; Westland Skelly 1855; Skelly Rocks 1864||skellie n2||skelly n||Compare DOST skerry n and SND skerrie n|
|skerrie||skerry||ON sker||n||a skerry, an isolated reef or rocky islet in the sea||Skerry of the Sound (Orkney); Covsea Skerries (Morayshire); Seal Skerry (Orkney); Skerries of Fuglaness (Shetland); Little Skerries (Morayshire)||Selchiskerrie; 1634; Skerrie of Burrafirth 164; Selchskerrie 1655; Inner Skerry 1887||skerrie n; S2 skerrie n||skerry n||Compare DOST skelly n and SND skerrie n2; see also DOST skirrach n|
|slack||slak||ON slakki||n||hollow 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 floor||Slackhead (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 1723||slack n2; S2 slack n2||slak n1|
|slap||slop||Middle Dutch slop||n||a 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 gate||Slap 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 1715||slap n2; S2 slap n2||slop, slap n1|
|smiddie||smiddy||OE smiþþe, ON smiðja||n||a smithy, the workshop of a smith, a blacksmith’s shop, a forge||Smiddyhill (Aberdeenshire); Smiddyboyne (Banffshire); Buchanan Smithy (Stirlingshire); Smiddiecroft (Aberdeenshire); Smithy Hill (Wigtownshire); Smithyhillock (Aberdeenshire)||Smythyhill 1379; Smethy Barr 1426; Smethycrofft 1456; Smedebar 1540-41||smiddie n; S2 smiddie n||smithy n||See also DOST (Smiddy-land,) Smid(d)ieland, n|
|smith||smyth, smeth||OE smið, ON smiðr||n||one who works in metal, a smith||Smithfield (Aberdeen, Fife); Smeaton (Fife, Midlothian); Smith's Lands (Midlothain); Smithton (Inverness)||Smithetun 12thC; Smythishalch 1321; Smethwod 1327; Smeithfield 1329-71||smith n||smith(e, smyth(t n|
|souter||soutar||OE sūtere||n||a shoemaker, a cobbler||The Sutors (Ross and Cromarty); Souterhill (Aberdeenshire); Souterhouse (North Lanarkshire); Souterland (Midlothian); Sutor Stacks (Ross and Cromarty); Souterford (Aberdeenshire)||swtercrophtdyk a1325; Sutergate 1337; Sowttergait 1563; Soutarland 1696; The Cromarty Sutors 1854||souter n; S2 souter n||soutar n|
|spital||spittal||ME spitel||n||a hospice or shelter for travellers (in mountainous country); a house or place of refuge for the sick or destitute; land whose revenue supported a hospital; the hospital itself||Spital (Dunbartonshire); The Spittal Haugh (Aberdeenshire); Spittalburn (Angus); Spittal of Glenmuick (Aberdeenshire); Spittalrig (East Lothian); Spital Shore (Ross and Cromarty); Spittal (East Lothian); Port of Spittal (Wigtownshire)||Spetelcrag 1208-14; Spyttalhillis 1310; Spittaltoun 1565-6; Spittellis Hospitell 1641; Spittall Haugh 1721||spital n||spit(t)al(l, spit(t)ell n||See also DOST hospitale n|
|spout||spout||ME spowte||n||a well, a forceful movement or discharge of water; a spring of water (issuing from the ground or a rock); a waterfall, a cascade, a cataract; a narrow enclosed defile or pathway, a gully in the face of cliffs; a narrow lane between houses; a pipe or conduit||The Red Spout (Aberdeenshire); Lynn Spout (Ayrshire); Spout Wells (Perthshire, Wigtownshire); Lochspouts (Ayrshire); Black Spout (Aberdeenshire, Perthshire); Spout Park (West Lothian); Corrie Spout (Stirlingshire); Garnock Spout (Renfrewshire); Spout of Ballagan (Stirlingshire)||Sanct Mwngowis Spowtis 1558; Spoutwellis 1585-6; Spoutwells 1662; The Spout of Welltrees 1807||spout n; S2 spout n||spout n|
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.)