The History of Leith

August 19, 2011

The origin of the name “Edinburgh”

The origin of the name “Edinburgh” has proved the subject of much discussion. The prenomen is a very common one in Scotland, and is always descriptive of the same kind of site—a slope. Near Lochearnhead is the shoulder of a hill called £din-a-chip, ” the slope of the repulse,” having reference to some encounter with the Romans; and Edin-ample is said to mean “the slope of the
retreat.” There are upwards of twenty places having the same descriptive prefix; and besides the instances just noted, the following examples may also be cited :—-Edincoillie, a ” slope in the wood,” in Morayshire ; Edinmore and Edinbeg, in Bute; Edindonach, in Argyllshire; and Edinglassie, in Aberdeenshire. Nearly every historian of Edinburgh has had a theory on the subject. Arnot
suggests that the name is derived from Dunedin, “the face of a hill;” but this would rather signify the fort of Edin; and that name it bears in the register of the Priory of St. Andrews, in 1107.
Others are fond of asserting that the name was given to the town or castle by Edwin, a Saxon prince of the seventh century, who ” repaired it;” consequently it must have had some name before his time, and the present form may be a species of corruption of it, like that of Dryburgh, from Darrach-bruach, ” the bank of the grove of oaks.”
Another theory, one greatly favoured by Sir Walter Scott, is that it was the Dinas Eiddyn (the slaughter of whose people in the sixth century is lamented by Aneurin, a bard of the Ottadeni)

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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