D&D toponymy - Convincing fantasy map place names

D&D toponymy - Convincing fantasy map place names

In essence this leads on from my previous post; 'creating realistic place names for fantasy maps'. 

So, that word, toponymy…sounds like something you’d want to see about getting cream for, from your doctor…thankfully it’s not. Toponymy is simply: the study of place names. The more accurate name and description of what we’re dealing with here is: 

Toponym: a place name, especially one derived from a topographical feature.

So, what I’ve laid out below is a list of the most common topographic features that you’re likely to have in your map or world; and the suffixes and prefixes that are commonly associated with them in place names. In most cases they are suffixes (added to the end of a word or name), but not always.

All of these are very much rooted in medieval British history, being a mix of Saxon, Norman, Pict and Celtic etc. If your worldbuilding project is inspired by something else, have a look at the previous article here, where you’ll find lots of resources that should help. 

The list is pretty long and ugly to look at, so feel free to

download a PDF version here.

Or continue scrolling down you masochist...and weepeth.


Mountains / Hills / Valleys 

Mountains and Hills
Crag - jutting rock
Stan - stoney
Bin/Ben - mountain/peak
Den/don - hill or down
Pen - headland or hilltop
Law/low - round hill
Knock - Hill
Berg/berry - Hill
Rig - ridge
Glen - valley
Combe - valley
Dale - valley
Strath/straw - wide valley
Field/feld - Open land


Water (Rivers, Lakes, Ports, Isles)

Afon - River
Aber - River mouth/ Meeting waters
Bourne - stream/river
Beck - stream
Mouth - River mouth
Upon/on - On (river name)
Ing - small stream
Ford/Forth - ford
Hithe - landing, wharf
Lin/Lynn - Lake
Tarn - Lake
Mere - Lake/pool
Pol - pool
Ports, Shores and Islands
Port - Port/Harbour
Aye/ey/y - Island
Holm - island
Inch - island
Wick - bay


Trees / Forests

Ock - Oak trees
Ash - Ash trees
Keth - wood
Firth - woodland
Weald/wold - high woodland
Shaw - wood
Hurst - wooded hill
Let/Leigh - woodland clearing



By - settlement/village
Car/caer - settlement
Thorpe - settlement
Tre/tra - settlement
Wich - settlement
Ey - enclosure
Worth/worth - enclosure
Chep/chipping - market
Cott - cottage
Ing - people of
Gate - road
Bury/borough/burgh - fortified enclosure
Dun/don - fort
Caster/cester/chester - fortification
Homesteads and Farms
Ham - farm/homestead
Ster - farm
Stoke - farmstead
Tun/ton - estate/homestead
Stead - enclosure/pasture
Eagles/Eccles - church
Kirk - church
Lan - church
Minster - large church or monastery
Stow - holy gathering place
There are a few that don’t really fit into the category of ‘topographic’, but you may find them very useful, so I’ve included them below:


More - large
Brad - broad
Cul - narrow
Lang - long



Nor - north
Ast - east
Wes - west
Sud/sut - south
Some might say all of the above is overkill, well what i say to that is……Burn the HERETICS!! Na, they might well be right, but it's this level of detail that just adds another layer of authenticity to worldbuilding and map making. And I’m just a nerd for this kind of shit. 
Hopefully you all find this useful. Godspeed!
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