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English nameKinlochleven
Gaelic nameCeann Loch Lìobhann
Meaninghead of Loch Leven
Genitive formCheann Loch Lìobhann

Location and type of place name

LocationLochaber, Highland
Local authorityHighland ~ A’ Ghàidhealtachd
Parish post 1891Kilmallie
County post 1891Inverness-shire ~ Siorrachd Inbhir Nis
Topographical feature typeSettlement ~ Tuineachadh
Postcode areaPH50
Relevant main roadsA82
OS sheet number392
OS grid referenceNN185615
Type of namePlace ~ Àite


Element meaningG ceann ~ head; loch ~ loch; Lìobhann ~ river name
Element typetopographywater

External Resources

OS mapsGazetteer for Scotland

Further Information

Language notesG nom. sg. ceann, masc. ‘head, end’ + gen. sg. loch, masc. ‘loch’ + gen. sg. of Lìobhann river name
Kean-Loch-Moir c. 1590 Pont map 13
Kinloch Beg 1875 OS 6 inch 1st edn.
Leven = Leamhann Dwelly 1912
Leven = Leamhain gen. Leamhna Watson 1926, 19
Ceann Loch Lìobhann Mac an Tàilleir
Ceann Loch Lìobhann TM.
Additional infoThis place used to be called Kinlochbeg or Ceann Loch Beag, ‘little loch end’, in the late Nineteenth Century before the settlement was built up. Kinlochmore on the other side still exists, and was the larger settlement. Only Kinlochmore is mentioned in the Ordnance Survey Name books for this area (reel 102, 165).
There are two main orthographical variants of this name: Leamhan(n) and Lìobhan(n). The first variant was adopted predominantly by scholars, on the belief that the name Leven was cognate with Gaelic leamhan, ‘elm’. This is now considered doubtful.
Lìobhan or Lìobhann more accurately represents the first syllable, which is long. Like Nevis, since this term is lexically obscure, there is debate whether the central fricative should be spelled -bh- or -mh-. The former is more established.
Informant TM, when asked, said the orthography was correct, and that although Lìobhainn would be expected in this position Lìobhann was in fact used. This is expected for river-names or loch-names.
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