A loch (usually "Lough" as a name element outside Scotland) is a body of water which is either:
* a lake or;
* a sea inlet, which may be also a firth, fjord, estuary or bay.

Sea-inlet lochs are often called "sea lochs".


This name for a body of water is GaelicThe word has currency in the following languages: Scottish Gaelic, Irish, Manx and Lowland Scots; in addition to Scottish English, Irish English and Standard English.] in origin and is applied to most lakes in Scotland and to many sea inlets in the west and north of Scotland. For a list, see "List of lochs in Scotland".

As a name element "Loch" has become "Lough" for many bodies of water in Ireland and for some in the north of England. However, reference to the latter as "lochs" or "loughs" (lower case initial), rather than as "lakes", "inlets" and so on, is unusual. For lists, see "List of Irish loughs" and "List of English loughs".

Although there is no strict size definition, a small loch is often known as a lochan (so spelled also in Scottish Gaelic; in Irish it is spelled lochán).

Perhaps the most famous Scottish loch is Loch Ness, although there are other large examples such as Loch Awe, Loch Lomond and Loch Tay.

Examples of sea lochs in Scotland include Loch Long, Loch Fyne, Loch Linnhe, Loch Eriboll, Loch Tristan, Trisloch.

The uses of lochs

Some new reservoirs for hydroelectric schemes have been given names faithful to the names for natural bodies of water - for example: the Loch Sloy scheme, and Lochs Laggan and Treig (which form part of the Lochaber hydroelectric scheme near Fort William). Other expanses are simply called reservoirs, eg: Blackwater Reservoir above Kinlochleven.

cottish lakes

Scotland has only one natural water body actually called a lake, the Lake of Menteith, an Anglicisation of the Scots "Laich o Menteith" meaning a "low-lying bit of land in Menteith", and applied to the loch there because of the similarity of the sounds of the words "laich" and "lake". The Lake of the Hirsel, Pressmennan Lake and Lake Louise, (In the grounds of Skibo Castle), are other bodies of water in Scotland which are called lakes and all are man-made. Most Scots will be quick to correct anyone who refers to "lochs" as "lakes".

The word "loch" is used as a shibboleth to identify natives of England, because the hard "ch" (IPA2|x) sound is used in Scotland whereas most English people pronounce the word like "lock".

Lochs beyond Scotland and Ireland

As "loch" is a common Gaelic word, it is also found as the root of several Manx placenames.

The US naval port of Pearl Harbor, located on the south coast of the main Hawaiian island of Oahu, is one of a complex of sea inlets. Several of these are named as lochs, viz. South East Loch, Merry Loch, East Loch, Middle Loch and West Loch.

Brenton Loch in the Falkland Islands is a sea loch, near Lafonia, East Falkland.

See also

* Lough
* Firth
* Fjord
* Estuary
* Bay
* Ria


External links

* [http://www.uklakes.net/ UKLakes Online Database]
* [http://www.rewindstudios.co.uk/ Beautiful video of Loch Morar, Scotland]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Loch — (et) …   Kölsch Dialekt Lexikon

  • Loch — (althd. für ‚Öffnung‘) bezeichnet: allgemein in einem Material einen offenen Hohlraum in der Geographie Vertiefungen oder Einbrüche, siehe Senke (Geographie) im Schottischen ein See oder Fjord, siehe Liste schottischer Lochs in der Archäologie… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Loch Bà — von der A82 fotografiert Geographische Lage Rannoch Moor, Highland, Schottland Zuflüsse River Bá, Loch …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • loch — LOCH, lochuri, s.n. Instrument cu care se măsoară distanţa parcursă de o navă şi viteza de deplasare a acesteia. [pr.: loc] – Din fr. loch. Trimis de LauraGellner, 25.05.2004. Sursa: DEX 98  loch s. n. [pron. fr. loc], pl. lóchuri …   Dicționar Român

  • Loch — Loch: Mhd. loch, ahd. loh »Verschluss; Versteck; Höhle, Loch; Gefängnis«, got. usluk »Öffnung«, engl. lock »Verschluss, Schloss, Sperre«, schwed. lock »Verschluss, Deckel« gehören zu einem im Dt. untergegangenen gemeingerm. Verb mit der Bedeutung …   Das Herkunftswörterbuch

  • Loch — Sn std. (8. Jh.), mhd. loch, ahd. loh Loch, Öffnung, Höhle Stammwort. Aus g. * luka n. Schluß, Verschluß , auch in afr. lok Schloß , ae. loc Verschluß , anord. lok Ende, Schluß , gt. uslūk Eröffnung . Abstraktum zu g. * lūk a Vst. verschließen in …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • loch — (n.) late 14c., from Gael. loch lake, narrow arm of the sea, cognate with O.Ir. loch body of water, lake, Bret. lagen, Anglo Ir. lough, L. lacus (see LAKE (Cf. lake) (1)). The Loch Ness monster is first attested 1933 …   Etymology dictionary

  • Loch — (l[o^]k), n. [Gael. & Olr. loch. See {Lake} of water.] A lake; a bay or arm of the sea. [Scot.] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Loch — [lɔk] der; [s], s <aus gleichbed. schott. loch, dies aus altir. loch (verwandt mit lat. lacus »See«)> Binnensee, ↑Fjord in Schottland …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • Loch — (l[o^]k), n. [F. looch, Ar. la [=u]g, an electuary, or any medicine which may be licked or sucked, fr. la [=u]q to lick.] (Med.) A kind of medicine to be taken by licking with the tongue; a lambative; a lincture. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Loch [2] — Loch (spr. Loch), 1) in Schottland so v.w. Landsee od. Meerbusen, die bedentendsten L. Lagan (spr Läggan, 11/2 Meile lang, 1/4 Meile breit), L. Lochy (41/2Meile lang, 1/2 breit), L. Nees (6 Meilen lang, 1/2 breit, nie zufrierend, auf der Ostseite …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.