Attested: Ptolemy 2,3,2 Αβραουαννου river mouth.
Where: Piltanton Burn and/or the Water of Luce, in Dumfries and Galloway, near NX1956.
Name origin: Greek αβρος ‘graceful, delicate, pretty’ (of unknown origin) plus φανος ‘light, bright’, from PIE *bha- ‘to shine’.
Notes: Luce Sands (possibly an ancient beach emporium site) have probably expanded since Roman times. Until it became clear just how many ancient names in this area look Greek, the most likely explanationn seemed to come from Andrew Breeze (2001), who drew attention to Celtic prefixes meaning ‘very’: Irish abar- and Welsh afr-, with cognates in Gothic, Old Norse, and possibly other languages. This might combine with a word related to Welsh gwan ‘weak, feeble’, cognate with wane, Latin vannus, etc to make Abravannus mean ‘very feeble’, except that it might be better to translate the name as ‘strong-weak’ suitable for the Water of Luce being a spate river, which waxes and wanes in accord with the weather.
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Last edited: 29 July 2019 To main Menu