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|
|syke||sike||OE sīc, ON sík||n||a small stream; a ditch or channel containing a stream or rivulet; a marshy hollow (through which a stream flows), a cleft in the ground||Sikeside (North Lanarkshire); Colliesyke (West Lothian); Sauchy Sike (Dumfriesshire); Threepsikes (Fife); Adie's Syke (Midlothian); Liggat Syke (West Lothian); Whitesykes (Midlothian); Allery Sike (Dumfriesshire)||Blindsyke a1398; modirsyke 1457; Foulsyik 1571; Murroksyke 1579; Fouladge syke 1665; the syke called Coallyears boignesyke 1683||syke n; S2 syke n||sike, syk(e n||See also DOST (siket) syketh, sichet, sychet 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|
|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|
|grain||grain||ON grein||n||the branch or fork of a stream or river, an arm of the sea; a branch of a valley, a tributary valley; the branch of a tree||Crooked Grain (Aberdeenshire); Grains of Fetteresso (Kincardineshire); Black Grain (Selkirkshire); Grains of Tanar (Abderdeenshire); Haregrain (Roxburghshire); East Grain (Aberdeenshire); Grains (Dumfriesshire); The Grains (Abderdeenshire); Fernie Grain (Midlothian); Burngrains (Dumfriesshire); Wolf Grain (Aberdeenshire); Tod Grain (Dumfriesshire); Burn Grains (Kirkcudbrightshire)||Blakgrane 1456; Fauhopgranys 1456; Blakgrane 1510; Graines 1635||grain n2||grain(e, grane n2|
|bleck, black||blak, blake||OE blæc||a||black; (of a hill) covered with heather; (of a house) built of drystone and earth||Black Law (Ayrshire, Dumfriesshire, Fife); The Black Isle (Ross and Cromarty); Blackchester (Berwickshire); Black Bothy (Abderdeenshire); Blackbraes (Stirlingshire); Blackwood (Dumfriesshire); Blackhall (Edinburgh); Blakedean (Roxburghshire); Blackcastle (Midlothian); Blackbyres (Ayrshire); Black Grain (Selkirkshire); The Black Bridge (Inverness)||Blakepol c1190; Blachedene c1200; Blachope 1218; Blakhall c1330||S2 bleck adj; black adj; S1 black adj, S2 black adj; black-house n; S1 black-house n; S2 black-house n||blak, blac(k a; blake, blaik a||See also DOST bla, blae, a|
|water||wattir, watter||OE wæter||n||a large stream (between a burn and a river in size), a tributary of a river; a river valley; a lake, a sheet of water||Howe Water (Aberdeenshire); Water of Luce (Wigtownshire); Whiteadder Water (Berwickshire); Water of Leith (Edinburgh); Markie Water (Aberdeenshire); Waterside (Dumfriesshire, Wigtownshire); Eye Water (Berwickshire); Water of Tarf (Angus)||Blacwater 13thC; Watirtoun 1342; watir of Dee 15thC; Wattirheid 1649||water n; S1 water n; S2 water n||wa(t)tir n|
|ha||hall||OE heall, hall||n||a large and spacious building, the residence of a magnate; a farm-house (occupied by the farmer himself rather than the cottars)||Sandyha (Orkney); Temple Hall (Berwickshire); Gallowha (Orkney); Clatterha (Angus); Thornyhaw (Fife); Redhall (Dumfriesshire, Midlothian); Cradlehall (Inverness); Hallyards (Midlothian)||Blachall 1329; Halton 1345-50; Tempilishalle 1367; Haw off Lythquow 1489||ha n; S1 ha n; S2 ha n||hall, haw n; ADDS hall n||See also DOST hal(l)is n and halis, hailis n1|
|birken||birkin||OE *bircen||a||birchen, consisting of birch-wood||Birkenshaw (North Lanarkshire, West Lothian); Birkenbush (Angus, Banffshire); Birkenhill Croft (Morayshire); Birken Burn (Stirlingshire); Birkenside (Berwickshire)||Birchinsyde 1158; Birkenside c 1170; Birkynshawe 1336-37; Birkenbrewell 1664||birken a||birkin, birken a|
|hope (1)||hope||OE hop||n||a small upland valley or hollow (enclosed at the upper end by green hills or ridges); a sloping hollow between two hills; a hill||Dryhope (Selkirkshire); Fawhope (Roxburghshire); Harthope Burn (Dumfriesshire); Kershope (Roxburghshire); Soonhope (Berwickshire); Hopefield (Midlothian); Hyndhope (Selkirkshire); Wauchope (Dumfriesshire); Corsehope (Midlothian); Sweethope (Roxburghshire); Blackhope (Midlothain)||Berhope c1190; Ruhope c1190; Elrehope c1200; Hollehope 1200-02||hope n1; S1 hope n1||hope, hoip n2|
|garth||garth||ON garðr||n||an enclosure, yard, a small patch of enclosed cultivated ground, enclosed pasture (and the house attached to it); a shallow part or stretch of a river which may be used as a ford||Applegarth (Dumfriesshire); Garthdee (Aberdeenshire); Fairgirth (Wigtownshire); Auldgirth (Dumfriesshire); Martin Girth (Kirkcudbrightshire); Inchgarth (Aberdeenshire)||Apilgarth 1361; Le fischegarth de Esk 1492; Apilgirth 1505; Algarth 1531||garth n; S1 garth n; S2 garth n||garth n||See also DOST fisch-garth n|
|auld, owld, old||ald, auld, old||OE ald||a||old; former, previous||Auldhame (East Lothian); Auldgirth (Dumfriesshire); Auldhall (Fife, Stirlingshire); Old Liston (Midlothian); Auldcastle Road (Inverness); Oldmeldrum (Aberdeenshire)||Aldeham 1094; Aldehamstoc 1127; Aldestelle 1136; Aldetuneburne c1200; Auldton 1329||auld adj; S1 auld adj; S2 auld adj; old adj; S1 old adj; S2 old adj; owld adj; S2 owld adj||ald, auld a; old(e, ould(e a|
|aiken||akin, oken||OE ǣcen, ācen||a||consisting of oaks, oaken||Aikendean (Midlothian); Aikenhead (Glasgow); Aikencleugh (Ayrshire); Aikenshaw (Dunbartonshire)||Akinhede 1260; Akynhevid 1379; Eck(i)eden 1612 Oakendean 1773||aiken adj||akin, aikin a; oken, oikin, oa(c)ken a|
|heid||hede, hevid||OE hēafod||n||the head; the top or principal extremity; the summit or upper part of a hill or rising ground; the upper end of a town, street or passage, the end next to the main street; the head of a river or valley; a headland, cape or promontory; a jetty or pier at the entrance to a harbour’||Hillhead (Glasgow); Kinnaird Head (Aberdeenshire); Townhead (Glasgow); Causewayhead (Stirling); Peterhead (Aberdeenshire); Pathhead (Midlothian); St Abb's Head (Berwickshire); Knowehead (Angus); Cleuchheads (Dumfriesshire); Deanhead (Fife); Greenhead (Roxburghshire); Hazelhead (Aberdeen)||Akin-hede 1260; Hertishede a1300; the hevid of Dedryg 1431; Sancte Albis Hede 1461; Petyrheid 1544; Kynardis heid 1570||heid n; S1 heid n; S2 heid n||hede, heid n1; ADDS hede n1; hevid, heved n; ADDS hevid n1' hade, haed n; haid n||See also DOST toun heid n|
|aik||ake||OE āc||n||oak, an oak tree||Aikrig (Dumfriesshire); Oakwood (Selkirkshire); Oakbank (Midlothian); Oakfield (Fife)||Akedene c1204; Aikwod 1567-68; Aikrig 1662; Oak Wood 1684||aik n; S2 aik n; oak n||ake, aik n; ADDS ake, aik n; (oke) ock(e n|
|forest||forest, forrest||OF forest||n||a 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 Crown||Ettrick 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 1724||forest n||forest, forrest n|
|wa||wall, waw||OE weall, wall||n||a wall, a boundary wall; the defensive walls or ramparts (around a town or castle); (in plural) roofless buildings, ruins||Dun’s Wa’s (Kirkcudbrightshire); Back o’ Wa’ (Wigtownshire); Waas (Fife); Jean's Wa's (Kirkcudbrightshire); Bratney Wa’s (Wigtownshire); Aitkin's Wa's (Kirkcudbrightshire)||(The) Corsswallis 1552; the walneuk of Paislaye 1621; Schawiswallis 1622; Grahames Walls 1649; Badgels-wolls 1681; Guns Walls 1755||wa n; S2 wa n||wal(l, wa(w 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.)