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|
|brae||bra, bray||ON brá, ME bra||n||the steep or sloping bank of a river or lake or seashore, a steep slope rising from water; a bank or stretch of ground rising with a fairly steep slope, the face of a hill; a road which has a steep gradient; an upland, mountainous district||Braes of Enzie (Morayshire); Stephen's Brae (Inverness); Ethie Brae (Perthshire); Pan Braes (West Lothian); Braehead (Renfrewshire); Links Brae (West Lothian); Brae of Yetts (Dunbartonshire); Willowbrae (Edinburgh); Braeside (Stirling)||le Bra de Bochquhopill 1451; bra of Cammys 1528; Hammildone bray 1556; bra of Mar 1587; South Bray 1592||brae, bray(e), brea n1; S1 brae n1; S2 brae n2||bra, bray, brae n||See also DOST bra-hede n|
|bourtree||bourtre||ME burtre||n||the elder tree||Bourtreebush (Angus); Bourtrees (Ayrshire); Bourtreehill North, Bourtreehill South (Ayrshire); Bourtree Bush Park (West Lothian); Bourtreebuss (Fife)||Burtrees c1320; Bourtriehill 1590; Bourtrees 1662; Bourtrie-mailing 1663||bourtree n; S2 bourtree n||bourtré, bowtré n||see also SND bour n|
|bog||bog, boig||Gael bog, bogach||n||a bog, a mire||Bogton (North Lanarskhire); Bogside (Stirlingshire); Bogwells (Fife); Boghead (Dunbartonshire); Bogtown (Stirlingshire); Bogleys (Fife); Boghall (Angus)||Harebogge 1359; Blakeboggys 1359; Lochlebogsyd 1374; bogside 1417; Boighaw 1478||bog, boag n3||bog n; ADDS bog n|
|blin||blind||OE blind||a||not patent to the sight, covered, hidden; obscure, dark; unfertile, unproductive, barren||The Blind Tunnel (Glasgow); Blindwells (Angus, Fife); Blind Capul (Fife); Blindhaugh Burn (Selkirkshire); Blindwell (Stirlingshire); Blindwalls (Wigtownshire)||Blyndewelle c1200; Blindethuayt c1218; Blindsyke c1350; Blyndle 1455; Blindley 1543||blin, blind adj; S2 blin adj||blind, blynd a|
|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|
|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|
|biggin, bigging||bigging, byggyng||ME bigging||n||a building, a cottage; a cluster of houses, a hamlet||Newbigging (Abderdeenshire, Angus, Dumfriesshire, Fife, Kincardineshire, Midlothian, Morayshire, Roxburghshire, South Lanarkshire, West Lothian); Lower Bigging(s) Upper Bigging(s) (Orkney)||Newbigginghe 1153; Neubiggyng 1315; Shirrefbyggyng 1374; Neubiging 1569||biggin(g), biggen', biggan n2; S2 biggin(g) n2||biggin(g, byggyn(g n|
|bern||bern, barn||OE berern||n||a barn||Barnhill (Glasgow, Inverness) Kingsbarns (Fife); West Barns (East Lothian); Barnhead (Angus); Barnton (Edinburgh); Barn Hills (Wigtownshire); Barns Ness (East Lothian); Barns of Craig (Angus)||Northbernis 1328; Suthbarne 1373; Berntoun 1390-1406; le Barnis 1490; bornestede 1560||S1 bern n2; S2 bern n2||bern n1; barn, barne n; ADDS barn n; born(e n|
|bent||bent||OE beonet||n||a strong coarse variety of grass of a reedy or rush-like character (found on moorland or links); a place where such grass grows; a sandy hillock or a stretch of open ground covered with bent grass; a (grassy) slope or hillside||Benthead (Ayrshire, West Lothian); Gullane Bents (East Lothian); Bentfoot (North Lanarkshire); The Bents (West Lothian); White Bents (Angus)||The Bentis 1586; Bents of Balruddie 1662; Broadbents 1773; Southbent 1755||bent n1; S1 bent n1; bent n2||bent n|
|bank||bank||ON bakki, *banki, ME banke||n||a bank, a river bank; a raised shelf or ridge of ground; steep cliffs or precipitous rocks (along the coast); a hill slope; a foot-path or walk; the place in a moss from which peats are cut; the boundary line of a farm||Clydebank (Dunbartonshire); Bankfoot (Perthshire); Scrogbank (Selkirkshire); Meadowbank (Edinburgh); Springbank (Wigtownshire); Bankend (Dumfriesshire); Greenbank (Aberdeenshire); Nessbank (Inverness)||Byrkebanke 13thC; Brerybankes 1367; Bankhede 1519; Bankend 1546||bank n2, S1 bank n2, bakk n1||bank n1|
|air, ayre, ire||ayr||ON eyrr||n||a gravelly beach, a gravel bank, a bed of gravel||Ayre of Breiwick (Shetland); Woodcock Air (Dumfriesshire); Ayre of Deepdale (Shetland); Ayre of Cara (Orkney); Ayre Dyke (Shetland); Ayre of Westermill (Orkney)||Wodecok Heyr 1333-34; Wodecokheir 1360; the ayr of Kyrkwall 1539; Stour-air 1809||air n4; ire n2||ayr 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|
|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|
|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|
|fell||fell||ON fjall||n||a (rocky) hill, a mountain; a tract of hill-moor||Campsie Fells (Stirlingshire); Long Fell (Kirkcudbrightshire); Fellcleugh (Berwickshire); Round Fell (Kirkcudbrightshire); Dodd Fell (Roxburghshire); Fell Hill (Wigtownshire); Dryden Fell (Roxburghshire); Abbey Fell (Kirkcudbrightshire); Fellend (Dumfriesshire); Fell of Fleet (Kirkcudbrightshire); Capell Fell (Dumfriesshire); Thorter Fell (Kirkcudbrightshire)||Erniltoun fell 1654; Ellemsyde of Felcleuch 1665; Campsie Fells 1795; Fell of Fleet 1832||fell n2||fell n1|
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.)