Originally published in the Scotsman on 26 March 2016
The name Linlithgow (first recorded in 1138 as Linlidcu) is of ‘British’ origin, that is, a language that existed in Scotland before Gaelic or Scots, and is related to modern Welsh. In all likelihood the name originally meant ‘the pool of the damp or grey hollow’, relating to what is now Linlithgow Loch. The modern Gaelic form of the name, Gleann Iucha, may seem utterly different from this, but is probably the result of a Gaelic reinterpretation of this name into *Gleann Fhliuch Chu meaning ‘glen of the wet hollow’ which was changed in natural speech to Gleann Iucha. (The fh- is silent in Gaelic). Moreover, the name was reinterpreted again by Gaelic speakers as *Linn Liath Chu, ‘pool of the grey dog’. There is a memory of this version of the name locally in the burgh crest which depicts a black dog, whilst locals call themselves ‘Black Bitches’!
For further research see our database: Linlithgow