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Posted by Rupert Wilson on August 06, 2003

In Reply to: Edinburgh posted by Word Camel on August 04, 2003

The name 'Auld Reekie' originates from the time when Edinburgh was coal-fired and consequently had a smoky atmosphere.

It doesn't mean 'reek' (smell) but rather 'smoke', the connection being the German word 'Rauch' for smoke. Presumably, there is a Norse (Viking) word which is similar and which passed into the Gaelic vernacular.

London was known as 'The Big Smoke' or 'The Smoke' for the same reason.

But why not Glasgow, Leeds,Huddersfield or Birmingham, where the smoky atmosphere must have been equally marked? More wind?

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