Settlement names ending in ‑sted
Many Danish settlement names have the ending ‑sted, e.g. Mønsted and Pjedsted. Despite the fact that sted is a well-known word in Danish, the meaning of the word is under debate as it appears in old settlement names. The basic meaning in these names is, however, 'site for settlement, settlement place.'
About a fourth of the names in ‑sted have personal names as first elements. This includes Haraldsted, which contains the male name Harald. Many of the personal names we find in the sted-names were no longer in use when the Viking Age began, but all together they are a little younger than the personal names we find in the lev-names. For that reason, the sted-names must be a little younger than the lev-names.
This overview of the most important Danish settlement names, provides a tool to place names in time. For instance it is now possible to ascertain that Hvessinge must be hundreds of years older than Glostrup although Hvessinge actually is a part of Glostup today.
However, many place names have a form in present time that does not immediately reveal from which words the name was originally formed. Some of these corrupt names look like other name types, and some have passed through independent changes. By examining the oldest written sources, it is often possible to see from which endings those names were formed originally.
Examples of this are Grænge on Lolland, which is an inge-name, and Klinting in Vestern Jutland, which is an um-name. Further to that Maglemer on Lolland is a tved-name, Gislev on Funen is originally formed from one word, and Græsted in Northern Zealand originally ended in ‑holt. In other words, a place name is never sure to consist of the words immediately obvious from the present day spelling.