Term Origin Meaning Example Position Comments
aberCornish, WelshMouth (of river), confluenceAberystwythprefix
acOEacorn or oak treeAccrington, Matlock
afonPictish, Cornish, WeRiverRiver Avon
arIrish, GaelicheightArmagh
ashOEash-treeAshton under Lyne
auchIrish, GaelicfieldAuchenshuggleAlso linked to auchen-, ach-. anglicised from achadh. Ach- is generally the Highland form, and Auch- the lowland. Auchen- "means field of the X" (Achadh nan X)
auchter-Gaelic, Irishheight, top of somethingAuchtermuchtyprefixanglicised from Uachdar
axe?Britonicfrom isca, meaning waterExeter, River AxeVariations: exe, usk
ayOld NorseIslandOrkneyusually suffixVaritions: y, ey
balGaelic, Irishfarm, homesteadBallamoryprefixVariations are : balla, bally, ball. Anglicised from baile
beckOE, Old NorseStreamHolbecksuffix
bergOE, Old NorsehillRoseberry ToppingVariations: berry. In Farnborough (OE Fernaberga), berg has converged toward borough
bexOEbox, the treeBexleyThe OE name of Bexhill-on-Sea was Bexelei, a glade where box grew.
blenCumbric, Welshfell, hill, uplandBlaenau FfestiniogVariations: blaen.
bostOld NorsefarmLeurbostsuffixcf. ster, (bol)stağr; this form is usually found in the Outer Hebrides
bourneOEbrook, streamEastbourne, BournemouthVariation: burn
bradOEbroadBradfordprefix
breCumbric, Welsh, CornhillCarn Breaprefix
buryOEFortified enclosureBanburysuffixAlso linked to borough, brough, burgh
byOld Norsesettlement villageGrimsbysuffixAlso appears in bylaw and byelection
caerCumbric, WelshFortCaerdyddVariation: car. Influenced by Latin?
cardenPictishthicketCardendensuffix
cesterLcamp, fortification (of Roman origin)Variant on caster, chester, ceter
cheapOld EnglishMarketChipping NortonVariaation: chipping. Also as part of a street name, e.g. Cheapside. 'Chippenham' is from a personal name.
coedWelshwood, forestBetws-y-coed
combeOEValleyHigh Wycombesuffix
cotOEcottage, small buildingDidcotsuffix
culOEnarrowculham, culceth
cumLatinwithSalcott-cum-VirleyHyphenated between two names. Used to combine two parishes into one
cwmWelsh, CumbricValleyCwmamanVariation: cum
dalGaelic, Irishmeadow, low lying area by riverDalryprefixProbably influenced by Pictish Dol
daleOE, Old Norsevalley OE, allotment OEAiredalesuffixCognate with thal (Ger.), dalr (ON)
deanOld EnglishvalleyCroydon, BuckdensuffixVariation: den. the geography is often the only indicator as to the original root word (cf. don, a hill)
dinWelshfortDinas PowysVariation: dinas. Homologous to 'dun'; see below
DonOld EnglishHillAbingdonsuffix
drumGaelic, Irishridge, backDrumchapelprefixAnglicised from druim
dunGaelic, IrishfortDundee, DumbartonprefixVariation: dum.
eyOEislandEly, RomseyOld English was eg. Variation: ea, eg, eig
fieldOld Englishopen landSheffieldsuffix
finGaelicHolyFindochtyprefixAnglicised from 'fionn'
firthOEwoodHolmfirthsuffix
fordOld EnglishFord, CrossingOxfordsuffix?Allied to bridge - see Cambridge
ForthOld EnglishBridge, CrossingAmpleforthsuffix?Allied to bridge
fosLatin, OEditchFosse WayVariation: foss. Separate from ON 'foss, force'
fossOld NorsewaterfallAira ForceVariation: force
garthOld NorseenclosureAysgarth
gateOld NorseroadHolgate
gillOld NorseravinegillamoorVariation: ghyll
glenGaelic, Irishnarrow valley, daleRutherglensuffixAnglicised from gleann
hamOEhomesteadNottinghamsuffixOften confused with hamm (enclosure)
hitheOld EnglishLanding placeRotherhithesuffixVariation: hythe
holmOld EnglishislandHolmfirth
hopeOld Englishvalley, enclosed areaWoolhopesuffix
hurstOE(wooded) hillDewhurstsuffix
ingOEPeople ofHastings, ReadingAlso plural: Hastings and can be combined with ham, Nottingham, Birmingham
inverGaelicMouth or confluence of a riverInvernessprefixLike Welsh "aber"
keldOld NorsespringKeld
kethCumbricwoodPenhethSee also Welsh caed - ?homophone
kilGaelic, IrishMonastic cellKilmarnockprefixAnglicised from Cill
kinGaelic, IrishheadKincardinepreifxAnglicised from Ceann
kirkOld NorsechurchKirkwall, Ormskirk
kyleGaelicnarrowsKule of LochalshprefixAnglicised from Caol
lanCumbric, Cornish, PiChurch, churchyard, village with a church (parish)LlandyddAlso Welsh. Further information at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Llan_place_name_element
langOElongGreat Langtonprefix
lawOEFrom hlaw, a rounded hillTaw Law, Lewesstand-aloneOften a hill with a barrow or hillocks on its summit. Variation: law
leaOEFrom leah, a woodland clearingLeigh, Barnsleyusually suffixVariations include: ley, leigh
linCumbric, Welshlake, waterLindowprefixAlso llyn
lingOld EnglishheatherLingmellVariation: lyng
magnaLatinGreatChew MagnaPrimarily a medieval affectation
mereOElake, poolWindermere, Grasmere
minsterOElarge churchWestminster
mossOEswamp, bogMossley
mynyddWelshmountainMynydd Moel
nanCornishvalleyNancledraVariation: nans
nessOld Norse, OEheadland, promontoryInvernessLiterally 'nose'
norOENorthNorwich, Norfolkprefix
pantWelshhollowpantmawr
parvaLatinLittleAppleby Parva
penCumbric, Welsh, Cornhead (headland or hill)Penzance, Penrithprefixalso Pedn in W. Cornwall
pitPictishportion, share, farmPitlochryhomologous with Cornish peath
polCornish, CumbricPoolPolperro
pontLatin, Cornish, WelsbridgePontypridd
porthCornish, WelshharbourPorthcawl, Porth Levenprefix
shawOEA wood or a fringe of woodlandPenshawStandlone or su
shepOEsheepShepton Mallet, ShiptonprefixVariation: ship
stanOEstonyStanmore, Stamfordprefix
steadOEplace, enclosureHampsteadsuffix
sterOld NorsefarmLybster, Scrabstersuffix
stokeOEdependent farmstead, secondary settlementStoke on TrentstandaloneFrom OE stoc
stowOEholy placePadstow, Chepstow
strathGaelic, IrishWide valleyStrathmoreprefixderived from srath (but conflated with Brythonic "Ystrad")
streetOE, Latinroad (roman)Chester-le-Streetderived from strata, L. 'paved road'
sudOESouthSudburyprefix
tarnOEa lakexIn modern English, usually a glacial lake in a coombe.
thorpONsecondary settlementCleethorpessuffixVariations: thorpe. An outlier of an earlier settlement
thwaiteONA forest clearing with a dwelling, or parcel of landTwattsuffixFrom ON thveit
tillyGaelichillockTillicoutry
toftOld NorsehomesteadLowestoftsuffix
tonOEHomestead, enclosureCartertonsuffixLinked to tun (Old English)
treCornish, CumbricsettlementTrevose Headprefix
treathCornishbeachx
wealdOld Englishhigh woodlandWealdstone, Stowe-on-the-WoldVariation: wold
whelCumbricMine or caveWheldrake
wickLatin, OEplace settlementNorwich, AlnwicksuffixVariation: wich, wych, wyke. Related to Latin 'vicus'(place), cf. nl. 'wijk'
worthOld EnglishEnclosureTamworthusually suffix
ynysWelshislandYnys Mon (Anglesey)

Sources

URL
Wikipedia on British Place Nameshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_generic_forms_in_British_place_names
Wikipedia on Toponymyhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toponymy

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