Settlement names ending in ‑løse

In the Danish Isles west of Jutland, especially on Zealand, there are some settlement names with the ending ‑løse, e.g. Ramløse and Værløse. In Jutland, however, you cannot find a place name that, with certainty, is formed with this ending.

Many of the first elements in the løse-names are so obscure that an interpretation is either uncertain or cannot be made at all. For that reason, the løse-names must originate from the time before the Viking Age; otherwise, the words from which the names are formed would have been recognisable to a greater extent.

In the Danish settlement names, the ending ‑løse has two different origins. A small part of the names are formed with the adjective løs which means 'lack of something.' This includes Sengeløse 'the place with lack of beds' and Særløse 'the place where the inhabitants lack shifts.' The greatest part of the løse-names, however, are formed with an old substantive, the Old Danish *løsa. It is related to the word lys 'light,' and it has the meaning of 'clearing, opening, field or meadow.' Today, some of the løse-names appear with the ending ‑(e)lse, e.g. Slagelse.