Institute for Name-Studies

Vocabulary of English Place-Names

The Vocabulary is an alphabetically-arranged dictionary of the words that make up England's place‑names.

These words - or place‑name elements - reflect the rich diversity of England's linguistic history and derive from Norse, French, British Celtic, Irish, and Latin, as well as from English in its various stages of development.

Vocabulary of English Place-Names
Vocabulary of English Place-Names: a dictionary of place-name elements


The Vocabulary is a contribution to the historical study of many languages: Norse, French, British Celtic, Irish, Latin, and English. Its material is of great interest to historians, geographers, and archaeologists concerned with the landscape, settlement, and society of England over many centuries.

The Vocabulary aims to take the place of A. H. Smith's English Place‑Name Elements, published by the EPNS in two volumes in 1956, which itself replaced Allen Mawer's Chief Elements used in English Place‑Names of 1924.

Periodic revision in this way is valuable because it takes account of the large proportion of new material published in the Survey of English Place‑Names, and also of the decades of new research published by editors of the Survey and by many other scholars.

The Vocabulary offers not only a thorough revision of Smith's work, but also a considerable enlargement of its scope to include much material from 'minor' names (field-names, street-names, etc.). The intention is to record all vocabulary found in any place‑name recorded before c.1750.


  • The Vocabulary of English Place‑Names: Á–Box (David N. Parsons and Tania Styles, with Carole Hough) 1997.
  • The Vocabulary of English Place‑Names: Brace–Cæster (David N. Parsons and Tania Styles) 2000.
  • The Vocabulary of English Place‑Names: Ceafor–Cock-pit (David N. Parsons) 2004.
  • Volumes on Co–D, M–O and P–R are in preparation.

Download a free draft version of the M entries of the Vocabulary [PDF]

How to order 

The Vocabulary of English Place-Names may be ordered from the English Place-Name Society.

Funded by 

Support for this project from the British Academy (BA) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is gratefully acknowledged.

Related Links

British Academy (BA)

Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)



School of English

The University of Nottingham
Nottingham NG7 2RD

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