Enwau Llefydd

Have you ever wondered what’s the meaning of your village / town’s name? There are many common elements for place names in Wales.

Aber Mouth of a river. Either the river flows into the sea or it flows into another river. Aber is usually followed by the name of the river (but not always). E.g. Aberystwyth, Aberaeron, Abertylleri, Aberdaron
Afon River
Bach / Fach Small
Bro Area
Bryn Hill
Cae Field
Caer Fort / Castle
Capel Chapel
Carreg (Cerrig) Stone
Castell Castle
Cil Retreat / Corner
Coch / Goch Red
Coed Trees
Cwm Valley (narrow)
Dinas City
Dôl Field / Meadow
Du Black
Dyffryn Valley (wide)
Eglwys Church
Ffos Ditch / Trench
Ffynnon Well
Garth / arth A piece of land which sticks out. Could be a hill/mountain or a piece of land going out into the see (Penarth).
Glan Bank of a river or shore
Glas / Las Blue / Green (In modern Welsh, glas is used for the colour ‘blue’, but in old Welsh it was ‘green’ or even ‘gray’. Maesglas – Greenfield
Gwyn / Wen White
Llan Parish
Lle Place
Llwyn Bush
Maes Field
Mawr / Fawr Big
Melyn / Felen Yellow
Mynydd Mountain
Nant Stream
Pen Top / End
Pentre(f) Village
Pont / bont Bridge
Porth Gate / gateway
Pridd Soil
Rhyd Ford
Tre(f) Town
Waun / Gwaun Heath / Moor
Ynys Island

Interesting facts

Swansea / Abertawe. The Welsh name is quite easy; Aber + Tawe = mouth of the river Tawe. However, the English may derive from the Viking invasion. The Norse name ‘Sveinn’ + ‘ey’ meaning Island. The name is still pronounced ‘swans–ee’ today rather than ‘swan-sea’.

Rhyl – this comes from the English word ‘hill’ prefixed with the Welsh defnitine article ‘yr’ (the). So the name is simply ‘the hill’.

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogeryllchwyrndrobwllllandysiliogogogoch – The original name was Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll. In order to encourage visitors and tourists to stop at the village on the train line, a local cobbler from Menai Bridge came up with the longer name. It was a huge success and some say the most successful tourist marketing plan of all time! Locals refer to the village as Llanfairpwll or Llanfair P.G.

Snowdon / Yr Wyddfa. The Welsh name mean ‘burial place’ and folklore says that it is where Rhitta Gawr (Rhitta the Giant) is buried. The English comes from Old English meaning “snow hill”.