Attested: Ptolemy 2,3,5 Ουαραρ estuary
Where: Beauly Firth, with mouth around NH666475 near Inverness, fed by the rivers Farrar and Glass.
Name Origin: Nicolaisen (2001: 231-235) singled out the Ουαραρ/Farrar for extended discussion as pre-Celtic. He cited its PIE root as *ṷer- ‘to moisten, to wet’ (which Watkins wrote *wē-r- and Pokorny wrote *aṷer-), with descendants that include urine. However, there was also the Greek word φαραγξ ‘cleft, chasm’, which might be appropriate for a river. That word appears to come from “pre-Greek”, like its relative, pharynx.
Notes: In discussing which ethnic groups could or could not have originated this name, Nicolaisen implicitly assumed they were local, but Ptolemy probably got his information from sailors, who presumably worked for the Romans. At the very least they would have filtered any name through their own language(s), which might have been North-Sea-Germanic, with words ancestral to fare etc. The river Var, in France near Nice where the ancient language is often described as Ligurian, is a close parallel; see Delamarre (2003:300).
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Last edited 9 August 2022 To main Menu