Attested: Inscription VERBEIAE....
Where: River Wharfe through Ilkley
Name origin: Ekwall (1928: 454-5) explained Wharfe as descended from a form like Verbeia, meaning ‘winding’, from the prolific PIE root *wer- ‘to turn, bend’ extended to *werb- or *werbh- and leading to Latin verbena ‘foliage’ and words such as warp, plus Welsh gwrym ‘seam’. This explanation outranks Latin verbex
‘castrated ram’ and Irish ferb ‘cow, deer’ that have also been suggested as parallels.
Notes: The river Wharfe meanders near its beginning (around glacial drumlins) and near its end (through flat land near York). Lacus Verbanus (Lake Maggiore) in northern Italy is also notably bendy.
Last Edited: 17 December 2016