Attested: Ptolemy 2,3,31 Σκητις (or Οκητις); RC Scetis
Where: Colonsay-plus-Oronsay, two islands at high tide, just one at low tide. Not Skye!
Name Origin: PIE *skei- ‘to cut, to split’, whose many descendants include Greek σχίζω and Latin scindo. The closest attested forms to Scetis are in Germanic languages (sheath, shed, ski, etc) most particularly Old Frisian sketha ‘to separate’, outranking anything in Celtic, such as Gaelic sgian ‘knife’. Conceivably the final –is might mean ‘island’.
Notes: Many islands are separated by only a small gap from other land, so there are other candidates for this name. Skye’s separation from the mainland is small enough for there to be a modern bridge, but it still has enough water for boats to pass through at all states of tide, and Magancia has a good claim to have been Skye’s ancient name. Almost none of the ancient names for islands off western Scotland appear to be Celtic.
Last Edited: 19 May 2016