(For use alongside our Gaelic Place-Name Policy)
Last updated: March 2020
This recommended list of terms is a guide for use in forming new Gaelic names where appropriate, such as street names. They are not to be considered definitive; some interpretive flexibility is allowed, depending on context.
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This list is not to be considered definitive; some interpretive flexibility is allowed, depending on context. In particular the capitalisation of an element after a hyphen may be appropriate in certain cases.
|Avenue (formerly ‘tree-lined street’ originally ‘approach to house in its own grounds’)||Craobhraid|
|Business Park||Pàirc Gnothachais|
|Circular Route / Loop (footpath)||Cuairt-cheum|
|Close (‘passageway to rear premises’ originally ‘enclosure, courtyard’)||Clobhsa|
|Court (‘complex of buildings’ originally ‘courtyard at rear of building’)||Cùirt|
|Cycle Route||Slighe Baidhsagail|
|Cycle Track||Frith-rathad Baidhsagail|
|Drive (often ‘main thoroughfare’ originally ‘approach to house in its own grounds’)||Dràibh|
|Gardens (originally ‘town houses round central gardens’)||Gàrradh|
|Gate (Scots gait ‘street’ in the sense of a ‘way’)||Bothar|
|Gate (English gate in the modern sense)||Geata|
|Industrial Estate||Raon Gnìomhachais|
|Industrial Park||Pàirc Gnìomhachais|
|Lane (originally ‘narrow way between houses or behind terraces’)||Caolraid|
|Loan(ing) (grassy track to or between fields)||Lànaig|
|Medway (often ‘link road’ originally ‘central, main thoroughfare’)||Meadhraid|
|Mews (‘stabling’ originally ‘falcon cages’)||Marclann|
|Park (also ‘recreational area’ originally ‘field, grazing land’)||Pàirc|
|Pend (‘vaulted or arched passageway, esp. to back of houses’)||Stuagh|
|Place (originally ‘residential square with garden or open space in centre’)||Ceàrn|
|Retail Park||Pàirc Reic|
|Side||Taobh (see 3.2)|
|Slipway / Slip||Sliop|
|Terrace (row of joined houses, formerly along hillside, originally ‘shelf in hillside’)||Barraid|
|Trade Park||Pàirc Malairt|
|Wynd (originally ‘small winding street or lane round obstacles from a main street to rear premises’)||Lùb|
|Lower||Ìochdrach (see 3.4)|
|Main (+ noun)||Prìomh (+ noun)|
|New (in the sense of ‘newly made’)||Ùr|
|New (in the sense of ‘replacement’)||Nuadh (see 3.1)|
|Old (+ noun)||Seann (+ noun)|
3. Usage Guidelines
Nuadh should be used when modifying an existing name. When the element modifies a generic element representing a place that has not existed before then ùr should be used. Ùr has the sense of ‘newly (at the time) made’.
The usage of taobh in traditional place-names is generally confined to usage as a generic element with an adjective. English-named settlement names containing side may be translated as taigh. In other cases where the name does not denote a settlement, other options may be used, for instance bruach ‘bank’ may be used in cases where the place-name represents a genuine path or way beside a linear feature such as a road or watercourse. The word side may, on occasion, not be translated at all.
In the absence of local parallels, and when the referent is not known, cnoc should be used. In some cases however ‘hill’ is used in Scots to mean: “a common moor where rough grazing rights are enjoyed jointly by neighbouring farmers; a piece of rough moorland where peats are cut, a peat-moss”. In such cases monadh should be used.
3.4 Upper / Lower
If there is an affix in English for upper/over or lower/nether, but there is no evidence for these affixes in Gaelic, uachdrach for upper/over, and ìochdrach for lower/nether should be used.
Where one of the following pairs is known the other is likely to be:
uarach ‘upper’ and iarach ‘lower’
àrd ‘upper’ and fhàn/ìosal/ìseal ‘lower’
On the east coast:
shuas ‘upper/west’ and shìos ‘lower/east’
On the west coast:
shìos ‘upper/west’ and shuas ‘lower/east’. Shuas and shìos literally mean upstream and downstream respectively, so usage will change depending on which watershed the places are in.
uachdar, ‘upland’and ìochdar, ‘lowland, laigh’ (followed by the genitive form of the place-name)
3.5 -ton, -town
If relating to a coastal promontory, the term ‘head’ should be represented as rubha (or, if appropriate, with another term such as àird), not ceann. Ceann as a generic element in place-names is generally used only as meaning the end of a feature. There are some instances where ceann was used as a translation of Scots heid, or Scottish Standard English head but this is not to be employed as a rule.
In cases where the English form of a watercourse name contains ‘river’ or ‘water’ as a generic element but the Gaelic form is not in evidence, abhainn should be used.
In general where the river-name is ‘primary’, i.e. it derives from the name of the watercourse and not some other feature such as a glen or settlement, the name should be in the nominative. Otherwise the element should be in the genitive.
Taigh should be used for ‘hall’ when in the Scots/English traditional sense of ‘a large and spacious building, esp. one which is the residence of a magnate’.,  Talla should be used for ‘hall’ in the more modern sense of a large room or long central room in a house, or in the sense of a community building primarily containing a large room for activities. When used in an ironic sense taigh should be used.,
Forest should be translated as coille, unless it refers to a deer forest (i.e. a large area in which deer live, not necessarily wooded), in which case frìth should be used.
Bruthach ‘hillside’ is the equivalent of modern Scots brae ‘road which has a steep gradient’. Bruach ‘bank or edge’ is a separate word. Brae is often confused with bràigh ‘upper part’, and though they have some overlap in meaning they are not equivalent. Despite this, in some cases brae is used as an anglicised form of bràigh in place-names. Bràigh may be used for ‘upper’ if the place in question is physically higher.
Gaelic dail, means ‘meadow by a river’. Norse dalr ‘valley, dale’ generally appears at the end of the name as -dal in Gaelic.
Fearann is to be used in the sense of ‘property or farm land’. Talamh is to be used in the sense of ‘earth or soil’. Tìr is used in relation to ‘dry land as opposed to water’.
4. Religious Names
|Mary||Moire (not Màiri)|
|Andrew||Anndra (not Aindreas)|
|Peter||Peadar (not Pàdraig)|
 E.g. New Elgin ~ Eilginn Nuadh (NJ218618).
 E.g. Newton ~ Am Baile Ùr (NS667605).
 In Sutherland Gaelic, it can refer to a district, such as Taobh Mhealanais ~ Melness District Grannd, 2013, 198.
 E.g. Tubeg ~ An Taobh Beag (NC658634).
 E.g. Braeside ~ Taigh na Leacainn (NN860488).
 E.g. Burnside ~ Bruach an Uillt (NG794327) with no evidence there was a settlement here.
 E.g. Burnside ~ Taigh an Uillt (various).
 E.g. Ochil Hills ~ Monadh Ochail (NN90).
 These are shortened forms of ìochdrach and uachdrach common in Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.
 E.g. Forsinain ~ Forsain Fhàn (NC911489)/ Forsinard ~ Forsain Àrd (NC892438).
 E.g. West Strathan ~ An Srathan Shuas (NC563639)/ Strathan ~ An Srathan Shìos (NC575648).
 E.g. Falkirk High ~ Bràighe na h-Eaglaise Brice (NS891798).
 E.g. Milton or Milltown ~ Baile a’ Mhuilinn (NH766744) or Baile na Muilne.
 Cf. Clynemilton ~ Clìn a’ Mhuilinn (NC913069).
 E.g. Lochgilphead ~ Ceann Loch Gilb (NR862881).
 E.g. Peterhead ~ Ceann Phàdraig (NK124456).
 E.g. River Tay ~ Abhainn Tatha (NO1918).
 E.g. Peterburn ~ Allt Phàdraig (NG739831).
 E.g. Woodhall ~ Taigh na Coille (NS344739).
 E.g. Corran Halls ~ Talla a’ Chorrain (NS763510).
 Taylor, S., with Márkus, G., 2012 v, 216.
 E.g. Larkhall ~ Taigh na h-Uiseig (NS763510).
 E.g. Forest Lodge ~ Taigh na Frìthe (NN270422).
 http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/brae_n1 meaning 3.
 E.g. Brae Lochaber ~ Bràigh Loch Abar (NN2781).
 E.g. Falkirk High ~ Bràighe na h-Eaglaise Brice (NS891798).
 E.g. Dalneigh ~ Dail an Eich (NH654449).
 E.g. Ferrindonald ~ Fearann Dhòmhnaill (NG648073).