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Glossary of Scots origins of place names in Britain

Place names are made up of components which are referred to as elements. These elements are simply the words people used to describe a place or their response to their environment. A more complete background to Scots in place names, pronunciation and spelling can be found in our brief introduction to the Scots language.

This is a glossary of the elements from Scots most frequently found in the place names of Britain. It does not claim to be a comprehensive list of Scots elements found in Scottish place names, but it can claim to be the most comprehensive to date. Some elements which are the same as English have not been included. The meaning given is that which occurs in place names. Examples (with grid references) are given for each element.


adj = adjective

n = noun

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© Ordnance Survey 2019