Welsh Place Names

The following is a list of Welsh Place Names that have been featured in Auntie’s Travels.

Aber: Can have a number of meanings based upon its geographical position. Often refers to the mouth or estuary of a river, but can also mean a small river or a confluence of two rivers.

Aberafan: refers to the Afon (River) Afan. The origin of Afon is uncertain, and may be very old, dating to the original Breton language spoken in Briton. The river’s name is old and there is no definite agreement on its origin. It may derive from “a Ann” meaning river in the original language. Another suggestion is that it is from “A-Ban” meaning “from the heights” due to its comparatively quick descent from hills to the sea.

Abergwaun: Mouth of the Afon Gwaun which enters the harbour at Abergwaun, or Lower Fishguard.

Afon: River

Bach: Small

Blaenavon: literally means “front of the river” or loosely “river’s source” 

Brianne:  possibly of the mountains

Cadair: Chair

Caerleon: City of the Legion. Towns beginning with “Caer” are often associated with Roman occupation.

Carreg: Rock, Stone

Carn (Garn): Cairn

Castell: Castle

Castell Caerreg Cennen: The castle on the rock above the (river) Cennen.

Cennen: Name of a river flowing from the Brecon Beacons through Carmarthenshire.

Coch: Red

Cors (Gors): Bog

Cwm: Valley

Cwm yr Eglwys: Church valley, or Church in the Valley.

Defynnog: Combining a personal name Dyfwn and the suffix og the name means ‘the territory belonging to Dyfwn’.

Dinas: A fort or camp

Dir: mutation from Tir means land

Ddu/Du: Black, dark

Fach: from Bach – small, little.

Faes: Field, Meadow. Mutated form of Maes

Fawr: from Mawr – large, big

Filiast: Greyhound

Ffordd: Road.

Gelli: Grove

Glan: bank, shore

Glyder: from the Welsh word “Gludair”, meaning a heap of stones

Goedog:  Wooded, from Coed.


Gwaelod: Bottom, lower.

Gwaun: Marsh, high and level wet moorland. Also a river name, see Abergwaun

Hafod: summer dwelling

Harlech: Beautiful rock

Idris: Idris was a giant who used a mountain as his seat – Cadair Idris

Isaf: Lower

Llan: A llan usually refers to a church, or perhaps originally to the the enclosed land around the church where Christian converts had settled. Mostly used as a prefix e.g. Llanbedrog where the second name often, but not always, refers to an individual or saint. In this case Saint Pedrog.

Llanerch: glade or clearing.

Llanerch-y-medd: Llanerch meaning clearing, glade and Medd from mead

Llech:  a flat stone

Llechwedd: Hillside, slope

Llyn: Lake

Lleyn: land of the Lageni (tribe)

Llundain: London

Llwyd : grey, domes times anglicised to Lloyd.

Maen: Stone, rock

Maes: Field, meadow.

Maentwrog: Twrog’s stone. Twrog was a mythological giant.

Mawr: Large, big.

Melin: mill

Moel: Bare hill

Moel Hebog: Bare hill of the hawk.

Mynydd: Mountain

Pandy: fulling mill

Penderyn: Bird’s Head. Pen = Head. Deryn = abbreviation of aderyn – bird.

Penmon: Pen (which can mean “head”, “end” or “promontory”) and Môn, which is the Welsh word for Anglesey.

Porth: Port, gate

Porthmadog: Madog’s port. Named after Madock, who developed the area.

Pysgotwr: Fisherman

Rhandirmwyn: Land of minerals

Rhos: Heath; moor.

Tir: land

Tomen: a motte (old castle); mound; heap

Traeth: Beach

Trawsfynydd: across (the) mountain

Trwyn Du: Black nose

Tryfan: Three headed. From Tri – Three and Fan – hill, peak.

Twyn: hillock

Uchaf: Upper

Ysgubor: barn, granary, farm building

Ystrad: Vale, wide valley

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