Tarbert (Scottish Gaelic: An Tairbeart) is a place name in Scotland and Ireland. Places named Tarbert are characterised by a narrow strip of land, or isthmus. This can be where two lochs nearly meet, or a causeway out to an island.
|Scots Gaelic:||An Tairbeart|
|Pronunciation:||[ən̪ˠ ˈt̪ʰaɾʲapərˠʃt̪] (listen)|
All placenames that variously show up as tarbert, tarbat or tarbet in their anglicised form derive from either the Irish or Scottish Gaelic an tairbeart, commonly translated as "the isthmus" today.
Both these words derive from two Old Irish elements, tar "across" and a nominalised form of the verb ber "to carry". The /ɾ/ in tar was assimilated to /ɾʲ/ as a result of being next to the historically palatal /bʲ/ in Old Irish, causing the change in spelling from tar to tair-. So the literal translation would be an "across-carrying". The reason for this is that all tarberts are in fact located at or near old portage sites.
In English language spellings the first syllable "tar" has generally remained constant but the second syllable "bert" has variously been spelled as "bart", "bert" "bat", "bad" etc.
Places named Tarbert include:
- Tarbert, Jura, on Jura
- Tarbert, Kintyre the town at the northern end of the Kintyre peninsula, Argyll
- Tarbert, Western Isles, a ferry port on the Isle of Harris
- Loch Tarbert, Jura, on the west coast of the island of Jura
- West Loch Tarbert, an inlet between North and South Harris
- East Loch Tarbert also by Harris in the Western Isles of Scotland
- West Loch Tarbert, Argyll in Argyll
- East Loch Tarbert, Argyll also in Argyll
- Glen Tarbert, between Loch Linnhe and Loch Sunart
- Tarbert Hill, above the town of West Kilbride
- Tarbert Bay, on the Isle of Canna
- Loch Tarbert, a sea loch on the Isle of Jura
- East Tarbert Bay and West Tarbert Bay on the Isle of Gigha
- East Tarbert Bay and West Tarbert Bay on the Mull of Galloway
- Tarbert, County Kerry, a ferry port on the estuary of the River Shannon in County Kerry.
- Tarbert, County Laois, a townland in County Laois
- Tarbert (disambiguation)
- Tarbet (disambiguation)
- Loch Torridon, the root of the name having a similar meaning to "tarbert"
- Eday, an Orkney island which has a name derived from the Old Norse eið, which also means "isthmus".
- Foclóir Póca An Gúm 1992
- Dwelly, E. The Illustrated Gaelic-English Dictionary 1901
- MacBain, A. (1911) An Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language Stirling. Eneas MacKay. 1982 edition by Gairm ISBN 0-901771-68-6.
- "Tarbert History: Who Named it, 'Tarbert'?" Archived 2008-12-20 at the Wayback Machine Tarbert.info. Retrieved 13 September 2008.