Township: Heanish

Map Reference: Heanish 12

Name Type: shore

Meaning: This is a Gaelic construction with ScG lòn 'pond'. The two source forms are quite different, however. The name appears to have been gaelicised by the modern informant as ScG ailbean 'part of the ebb where marine grass (eel grass) grows: Uist' (Dwelly). The nineteenth century Ordnance Survey form contains the Norse ex nomine onomastic unit pollr ‘pond, small tidal bay’ (Gammeltoft 2001, 301). On the face of it, the specific appears to be the male ON personal name Ari. 'Genitive of the rather common masculine name Ari is Ara, -s occurs only by later analogy' (see Arsdale in Sandnes 2010a, 94). Ara- is a common specific in Norway, as in Araberg (NG); Arabygdi is derived from Ari (NS); and Arabær and Arakot are farm names in Iceland (SAM).
However, much more topographically convincing is ON örfiri or ör-fjara 'an out-going, ebbing; Örfiris-ey is the name for islands which, at low-water, are joined to the mainland by a reef which is covered at high-water; one such island is near Reykjavik; another at Skard in western Iceland, now called Öffirs-ey; so also Ör-fjara the island Orfir in the Orkneys' (CV, 766): ?rfjarupoll. The phonetic development ? > a is also found in Fadamul (see section 17.4.2.1).

This name became very productive in the shallow waters of the west coast of Scotland, with examples of Orasay/Orosay in Islay, Morven, Skye, Barra and South Uist; Orphir is on the south coast of mainland Orkney (SP). See Fiura.

Other Forms: Lòn Àrabuill - ONB p178 with Lòn Earrabaill crossed out.

Related Places:

Information:

Local Form:

Languages : Gaelic, Obscure

Informants: Angus Munn, Heanish, 6/1995

Informant 2: OS