Seventh United Nations Conference on the
Standardization of Geographical Names
New York, 13-22 January 1998
Document E/CONF.91/INF/16
Item 5 (e)
of the Provisional Agenda


(Second Edition, October 1997)


  1. Languages
  2. Names authorities and names standardization
  3. Source materials
  4. Glossary of appellatives, adjectives and other words necessary for the understanding of maps
  5. Abbreviations used in maps

Annex: Administrative division of Estonia


1.1 General remarks

The official language of the Republic of Estonia (in Estonian: Eesti Vabariik, short form: Eesti) is Estonian. The language is spoken in Estonia by about 963,000 people or 61.5% of the population (census 1989). In 1945 the percentage of Estonians was 97.3. Historical territorial minorities are Swedes and Russians (see 1.3). A vast proportion of non-Estonians have immigrated into Estonia since 1940; they have mainly settled in the big industrial towns of the North-East and the capital Tallinn. According to the last census in 1989 there were 475,000 (30.3%) Russians, 48,000 (3.1%) Ukrainians, 28,000 (1.8%) Belorussians, 17,000 (1.1%) Finns.

Although the national language is Estonian, other languages may be used locally. The Constitution provides that in the municipalities where the majority of the population are non-Estonians, official documentation may also be in the language of the majority.

Despite the size of the immigrant population, place names in actual usage have been only monolingual (in Estonian, with few exceptions) since the 1920s.

1.2 National language - Estonian

Estonian is a Finno-Ugrian language using the Roman alphabet.

1.2.1 The alphabet

A a H h O o Ž ž* Ö ö
B b I i P p T t Ü ü
(C c) J j (Q q) U u (X x)
D d K k R r V v (Y y)
E e L l
S s (W w)
F f* M m Š š* Õ õ
G g N n Z z* Ä ä

The letters shown in parentheses appear only in names of foreign origin. w was used in older orthography instead of v and it still appears in some family names. In alphabetic ordering w is regarded as variant of v and names with these letters are grouped together. The letters indicated by an asterisk (*) represent sounds that appear in loanwords only.

The vowels õ, ä, ö and ü represent independent sounds and should be distinguished from the vowels o, a and u. Due to technical inadequacy the letter õ ('o with tilde') may in some typewritten or printed texts appear as ô, ó, ò or even ö, but in correct usage this must be avoided.

In recent maps on South-East Estonia (Võrumaa), the acute accent (´) is used after some consonants to denote their palatalization, e.g. Kol´o, Mar´amäe. Though this is not considered to be part of normal orthography, this sign has been accepted as essential in writing dialectal names.

1.2.2 Spelling rules for the Estonian geographical names Capitalization

Place names always begin with a capital letter. If the generic term is written as a separate word, it begins with a small letter: Tallinna laht, Pärnu jõgi, Kihnu saar. If the name consists of more than one word, all words except for the pure generic term are written with a capital initial: Taani Kuninga aed, Suur Tütarsaar. Use of hyphen

The hyphen is used:

(a) if the name is preceded by a qualifying word, like Suur(e)- 'Great', Vana- 'Old', Põhja- 'Northern', Ala- 'Lower', etc., incl. the name of a wider locality used to qualify a too frequent name: Vana-Võidu, Vastse-Roosa, Põhja-Tartumaa, Suur-Patarei, Hiiu-Suurtüki, Iru-Lepiku.

Exceptionally, the hyphen is not used, if the qualifying word is an adjective that can be declined: Suur Munamägi (Adessive: Suurel Munamäel), Väike Tütarsaar (Adessive: Väiksel Tütarsaarel). Usually the second part of those names is a compound word containing a generic term (here: -saar, -mägi).

(b) if the name is a copulative compound name (like Austria-Hungary, Baden-Württemberg, etc.): Kohtla-Järve, Karksi-Nuia, Abja-Paluoja; Use of one or two words

Characteristic of Estonian place names is the presence of elliptical names. Most of the names of populated places and many other place names are elliptical, i.e. they usually appear without a generic term. The generic term is used if confusion may arise, e.g. in official sources. In genuine Estonian elliptical names the nominative form coincides with the genitive form and the names end with a vowel (-a, -e, -i, -o, -u, exceptional vowels see 1.2.5).

A. As a rule, the specific part of the name and the generic term are written as one word: Emajõgi, Munamägi, Põhjalaht, Lasnamägi, Loodeots, Pelgurand, Mõisaküla, Rannavärav, Suveaed, Rohukabjasoo, Tähigenotsumägi, Loodekarjamaa (generic part underlined). Exceptions to the rule are listed below (rules B-E).

B. With all the potentially elliptical names, when the generic term is used, it is written as a separate word: Peipsi järv (=Peipsi), Tartu linn (=Tartu), Aakre küla (=Aakre), Räpina alev (=Räpina), Surju mõis (=Surju), Kihnu saar (=Kihnu).

C. In names of streets, squares and other address units the generic term is written as separate word: Harju tänav, Vabaduse väljak, Estonia puiestee, Lossi plats, Suitsu põik, Järve tee.

D. If the specific part is a declinable adjective, it is written separately: Suur väin (Inessive: Suures väinas), Väike Emajõgi (Adessive: Väikesel Emajõel), Vaikne järv (Adessive: Vaiksel järvel). In Estonian place names, however, adjectives often combine with the appellatives as compact names: Valgjärv, Suurjärv, Vanaküla, Uuemõisa, Kõverlaid.

E. The generic term is also written separately, if the place name is a clear secondary name, i.e. arises from another geographical name: Pärnu jõgi (< town name Pärnu), Endla järv (< village name Endla), Kihnu väin (< island of Kihnu).

1.2.3 Pronunciation of Estonian geographical names

The main stress in Estonian place names is invariably on the first syllable. A weaker secondary stress may occur on the second, third or fourth syllable of a word, unless it is a short final syllable.

The pronunciation of Estonian is regular. The following notes are, however, important for the pronunciation of Estonian names.

A. n before g and k is pronounced [n»]: Angerja ['an».ger.ja], Kunksilla ['kun»k.,].

Notes for HTML edition:
denotes IPA symbol No. 119 - ENG, i.e 'n' with a tail below right.
a stands in IPA for a symbol No. 305 - CURSIVE A.
¥ denotes a vowel No. 315 - RAM'S HORNS (close-mid back vowel).
S in IPA examples stands for symbol No. 134 - ESH, and
Z for symbol No. 135 - YOGH (zh).
Characters b, d, g should have in full IPA transcription rings below or above to denote voiceless or half-voiced sounds.

B. b, d, g, s are pronounced voiceless or, between vowels, as half-voiced, weakened tenues. In genuine Estonian names b, d, g are not used in an initial position.

C. With sounds l, n, s, t weak palatalization may occur which is not reflected in the orthography: Kantküla ['kanjt.,]. Palatalization is almost regular in consonant clusters preceding i or j: Väljaküla ['vælj.ja.,], Kõltsi ['k¥]. In clusters only the first consonant can be palatalized.

D. Vowel and consonant lengths are significant. Long consonants and vowels are represented by double letters: Saaremaa [',ma:], Pööraküla ['pø:.ra.,], Kõnnu ['k¥], Tallinn ['talj.,lin:].

E. Long stressed syllables in Estonian can have either light or heavy accent which in most cases is not reflected in the orthography. In the case of simple sound sequences the light accent corresponds to long and the heavy accent to overlong vowels or consonants, e.g. Kääniku ['kæ:.nik.ku] - light accent or long [æ:], Vääna ['væ:'.na] - heavy accent or overlong [æ:']. No regular rules can be given to identify correct accent from spelling, but usually names will be understood even if pronounced with an incorrect accent.

F. Vowel letter sequences denote diphthongs and the vowels in diphthongs are pronounced the same way as they would be pronounced separately. There are 26 diphthongs in Estonian: ae, ai, ao, au, ea, ei, eo, iu, oa, oe, oi, ou, ui, õa, õe, õi, õo, õu, äe, äi, äo, äu, öa, öe, öi, üi.

G. As a rule, the vowels õ, ä, ö, ü and o (except in the southern dialects), long vowels and diphthongs appear only in the first syllable of a non-compound word. If they appear in other syllables, they signify that the word is compound.

The following table gives an idea about the relationship between letters and sounds in Estonian. The letters in parentheses are used only in loanwords.

Spelling Pronunciation IPA alphabet Spelling Pronunciation IPA alphabet Spelling Pronunciation IPA alphabet
a a l l,lj t t, tt, tj, tjt
aa a: m m u u
b p, b n n, nj uu u:
d t, d, dj ng n»g v v
e e nk n»k, n»kk õ ¥
ee e: o o õõ ¥:
(f) f oo o: ä æ
g k, g p p, pp ää æ:
h h r r ö ø
i i s s, sj, z, zj öö ø:
ii i: (š) S ü y
j j (z) s, z üü y:, yi
k k, kk (ž) S, Z

1.2.4 Linguistic strata recognizable in Estonian place names

A. Swedish substratum is found, apart from the main Swedish-populated territories, in the coastal area of North Estonia, in the western county of Läänemaa, the islands of Hiiumaa and Saaremaa.

B. For centuries German was the language of the upper class and many places had, besides Estonian names, distinct German variants, no longer used in the post-World War II period. The names of German origin in Estonian usage (e.g. Heimtali, Vardi, Voorbahi) usually proceed from the names of country estates, landlords' family names etc. and they appear throughout Estonia. Those names are often significantly adapted, e.g. Stackelberg -> Taagepera.

C. In the areas bordering with Russia and Latvia substrata of Russian or Latvian origin are encountered respectively.

1.2.5 Estonian dialects

The Estonian dialects are usually divided into 3 groups: the northern dialects, the southern dialects and the north-east coastal dialect. They differ in phonology, morphology and lexis, esp. the southern dialects from the others. The literary language is based mainly on the central dialect of the northern group.

Local dialects are reflected to a certain extent in normalized place names. Dialectal features are preserved mainly in names containing local dialect words. Names of minor places tend to reflect more local colour than those with an established literary tradition. In writing place names the guiding principle has been that names are spelled as far as possible according to their actual local pronunciation.

Since 1995 an even more favourable attitude towards dialectal features in place names has been adopted. On the Basic Map series of 1 : 20,000 the names of Võrumaa have been written close to their local usage. The main differences from Standard Estonian are the following:

A. Vowel harmony is being preserved; in non-compound names only front vowels (ä, e, ö, ü) or back vowels (a, õ, o, u) may occur, e.g. Härmä {Härma}, Sepä {Sepa}, Söödä {Sööda}, Mürgü {Mürgi}, Tammõ {Tamme}, Holsta, Põrstõ {Põrste}, Tsutsu; i is neutral, occurring in both environments (Silla, Niidü {Niidu}). Vowel harmony is not complete, however; o occurs in words with front vowels instead of ö (Käätso, Peedo), also, syllables he, gu, ku may appear in words with front vowels.

In curly brackets, variants are given that would have appeared in standard orthography before the new approach.

B. Raised heavy-accent long vowels ee, oo, öö are written ii, uu, üü: Tiidlä {Teedla}, Suuveere {Sooveere}, Tüütsmanni {Töötsmanni}.

C. Affricate ds is used instead of ts in certain syllables: Madsa, Nedsäjä.

D. Palatalization is marked with an acute accent: Mar´a {Marja}, Kar´a {Karja}, Ton´a {Tonja}, Hul´aku {Hulaku}, Kol´o {Kolo}.

E. Local generic terms are used, if the specific part and generic term are written as one word: Kirbumõts (cf. Väherü mets), Põdrasuu (cf. Ragandi soo).

Not all local features are preserved, however, e.g. the raised back vowel [ i ] is written as õ (Nõnova, Võõlastõ); also, laryngeal stop [?] (q in Võru local orthography) at the end of names (rarely occurring in older recordings) is neither reflected (Hindsa, Määsi).

1.3 Place names in minority languages

The new Law on Place Names (see section 2) states (Articles 14 and 16) that place names of Estonia's historical minorities shall be entitled to official approval and use on maps, road signs, etc. In certain cases two parallel names are allowed, one in the language of the local majority, the other in the language of the local minority. Linguistic situation prior to September 1939 will be taken into account when deciding the priority of local languages.

1.3.1 Swedish

Swedish, a Germanic language that belongs to the Indo-European family, used to be spoken before World War II by some 8000 people on the north-west coast of Estonia (the islands of Vormsi, Osmussaar, Pakri, Naissaar and Ruhnu, Noarootsi Peninsula). Most of the Swedes were forced to emigrate to Sweden in 1944, at present there are only a few hundred persons able to speak Swedish. These areas have now been resettled mainly by Estonians. The place names in Vormsi (Swedish: Ormsö), Ruhnu (Runö), Osmussaar (Odensholm), Pakri (Rågö) and Riguldi (Rickul) are mostly Swedish while in Noarootsi (Nuckö), Risti (Kors) and Naissaar (Nargö) the toponymy is mixed. The standardization of the local names has posed problems because of the archaic nature of the Swedish dialects spoken in Estonia. After consultations with Swedish and Finnish-Swedish name experts initial approach has been to keep to the traditional (standard) spellings for names of populated places (e.g. in Vormsi Norrby, Borrby, Rälby, Saxby) while those of natural features would be represented in a more dialectal way: Austurgrunne {Östergrundet}, Västurvike {Västerviken}, Håubjärre {Högberget}, Äustrnäse {Östernäset}.

In curly brackets variants are shown as they would appear in Standard Swedish.

1.3.2 Russian

Russian, a Slavonic language, is spoken as a minority language by the descendants of Old Orthodox believers on the north and west coast of Lake Peipsi, also by New Orthodox Russians in some border areas with Russia. Villages inhabited mainly by Russians include Permisküla (in Russian, according to the 1987 UN romanization system: Verhnee Selo), Vasknarva (Syrenec), Alajõe (Olešnicy), Kolkja (Kol'ki), Varnja (Voron'ja), Piiri (on Piirissaar, Meža), Beresje (Berez'e), Kuksina (Kuvšinovo). Russian uses the Cyrillic alphabet. The Russian place names are written in Estonian texts according to a transcription table using the letters from the Estonian alphabet proper, e.g. Smolnitsa (in 1987 UN system: Smol'nica).

Since 1940, especially in the 1960s and 1970s, large numbers of people have immigrated into Estonia from parts of the Soviet Union. Their lingua franca usually is Russian and they make up the vast majority of the present-day non-Estonian population. They have mainly settled in the big industrial cities of the North-East (Narva, Sillamäe, Kohtla-Järve, Jõhvi), the capital Tallinn and the town and peninsula of Paldiski. The toponymy has not been much influenced by the population.


Basic principles in the standardization of Estonia's geographical names are laid down in the Law on Place Names, adopted on 11 December 1996. Based on some of the earlier legal acts (Language Law of 1995, Law on the Administrative Division of Estonia's Territory, 1995) this law incorporates all the main rules of names standardization. Short summary of the law is as follows.

Article 5 determines the competence in approving place names. The Government is responsible for names of administrative units, also for names of populated places. The names of parish and town districts, land register units and minor places are approved by the local government councils or their organs. Various ministers also have responsibility over features falling under their jurisdiction.

The Place Names Board is formed (Art. 6) to advise the Government and other names authorities in name matters.

Various requirements are to be followed in approving geographical names: publicity of naming procedures (Art. 11), giving reasons for changing names (Art. 10), etc. The place names of Estonia are in the Estonian language but exceptions may be allowed that are historically and culturally motivated (Art. 14, see also 1.3). The spelling of Estonian place names will comply with the rules for the Estonian orthography but may reflect the local (dialectal) sound structure (Art. 15). The spelling of one and the same specific part of a name will be harmonized. In certain cases parallel official names are allowed, either with Estonian and non-Estonian name variants or double Estonian names (Art. 16). Names with long-standing local usage and wide distribution as well as those with more historical and cultural value shall be preferred in approving new official names (Art. 17).

Official place names will be stored in the National Place Names Register, due to be formed at the national cartographic database (Art. 19).

Articles of the Law also deal with the use of place names in addresses (Art. 20), the use in texts, signs, etc. (Art. 21), the use of non-official place names (Art. 22), revision of place names (Art. 24), etc.

The Place Names Board of Estonia (kohanimenõukogu, address: Pikk 57, EE-0001 Tallinn;, formed on 17 June 1997 and succeeding the former Governmental Place Names Committee, is the main advisory body and coordinator of the place names standardization activities in Estonia. The Board is responsible to the Minister of the Interior who is also the Board's Chairman. The Board consists of representatives of various ministries as well as name experts from scientific institutions, publishing companies, etc. The Board's statements are required before various name decisions are made.

The Institute of Estonian Language (Eesti Keele Instituut, address: Roosikrantsi 6, EE-0001 Tallinn) is the Office for Onomastic Expertise being the main research centre for names in Estonia. The basis of the onomastic research and the treatment of names is field research which has been conducted since the 1920s. As a result, a total of up to 500,000 commented entries have been included in the place names archives. The collections are arranged according to the ecclesiastical parishes that have been the most significant and stable territorial units in Estonia throughout history. In addition, there is a general card index listing all the collected place names in alphabetical order with references to the parishes where they occur. Efforts are made to continue the field investigation of names. Apart from the collection, a computerized database (presently ca 40,000 entries) has been formed which contains mostly names from official sources, older maps, etc.

The Võru Institute (Võru Instituut / Võro Instituut´, address: Jüri 12, EE-2710 Võru) has been active in collecting place names of South-East Estonia (Võrumaa) and standardizing the Võru-based local form of the names. It also participates in the national mapping programme by providing names for the Basic Map of Estonia.


3.1 Maps

The production of official maps of Estonia is coordinated by the National Land Board (address: Mustamäe tee 51, EE-0006 Tallinn) and the maps are prepared mainly by AS Eesti Kaardikeskus (Estonian Map Centre, address: Mustamäe tee 33, EE-0006 Tallinn). These include: a) the basic map, 1 : 10,000 and 1 : 20,000, on appr 470 sheets (during 1992 - 2006, by October 1997 64 sheets published); b) digital cartographic database for maps 1 : 50,000, on 112 sheets (production completed, 13 sheets printed); c) a topographic map, 1 : 200,000, on 4 sheets (printed 1992). Various other maps have been compiled for specific purposes (border zone maps etc.) but till now there are no large-scale printed maps in Estonian available that would cover the whole of Estonia. The earlier Soviet topographic maps are not reliable especially in the spelling of names.

The National Maritime Board and AS Regio have issued 9 marine charts on scale 1 : 100,000 that cover virtually all of Estonian territorial waters. In addition two more general sea charts 1 : 250,000 have been printed, covering the Gulf of Finland.

Private companies have published various general and specialized maps of Estonia. AS Regio (address: Tähe 118, EE-2400 Tartu; has published the Estonian Road Atlas 1 : 150,000 (1997, also available in digital format) with an index of 11,000 place names, Eestimaa / Estonia (wall map 1 : 300,000; 1995), maps on Estonian Waters (1 : 400,000; 1991), Estonian Mires (1 : 400,000; 1993), General Map of Estonia (1 : 400,000; 1992). AS E.O. Map (address: Kreutzwaldi 5, 2B7, EE-2400 Tartu; publishes mainly county and town maps. The names on all the mentioned maps are not always linguistically checked.

3.2 Gazetteers

The names of villages and other rural settlements were first standardized in 1977 in the course of a rural settlement reform (the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet 25.02.1977). The results were published in Eesti NSV territooriumi administratiivne jaotus ja maa-asulad, Tallinn 1978 (The Administrative Division of the Territory and the Rural Settlements of the Estonian SSR) which contains 3500 names. Before the end of 1997 a new list of populated places is expected to be endorsed, increasing the number of settlements to 4500.

Official names have also been established for rivers and streams, published in Eesti NSV jõgede, ojade ja kraavide ametlik nimestik, Tallinn 1986 (Official Gazetteer of Rivers, Brooks and Ditches of the Estonian SSR), containing 1755 names. This source has been criticized for having too artificial names and avoiding popular usage of names. Revision of the gazetteer is likely.

Lists of other names have been published as well, e.g. Eesti NSV järvede nimestik by Ilmar Kask (list of lakes, Tallinn 1964; newer version of the list is published in Eesti NSV järved ja nende kaitse by Aare Mäemets, Tallinn 1977), Eesti sood by U. Valk (list of mires, Tallinn 1988) but they have had no official status. Besides, these sources suffer from the same shortcomings as the list of rivers and streams.


In parentheses the genitive form of the word is given, if different from the nominative. If the genitive form differs only in a vowel being added to the end of the word, only the vowel is shown, otherwise the word is spelled out in full. Some words are given in the genitive form only, as the nominative form is rarely, if ever, used in names. Plural nominative forms may be created adding -d to the singular genitive forms, e.g. järved, saared, etc. For words typically used in dialects only, superscript symbols have been added: D - dialectal (general), S - South Estonian dialects, V - Võru dialect.

abajas (abaja) 'cove, inlet'
aedlinn(a) 'garden city, garden suburb'
ala- 'lower'
alev(i) 'borough' /second-degree urban settlement/
alevik(u) 'small borough' /third-degree urban settlement/
allikas (allika) 'spring'
alt- 'lower'
aru 'dry meadow'
asula 'populated place, settlement'
asundus(e) 'settlement'
ede-S see ees-
edela /Gen./ 'south-west(ern)'
ees-, ede-S 'front, fore-'
heinamaa 'meadow, hayfield'
holm(i)D 'islet, peninsula'
ida 'east, eastern'
jaam(a) 'station'
juga (joa) 'waterfall'
jõesuu 'river mouth'
jõgi (jõe, jõõV) 'river'
järv(e) 'lake'
kaasik(u) 'birch wood'
kabel(i) 'chapel'
kadastik(u) 'juniper scrub'
kaev(u) 'well'
kaevandus(e) 'mine'
kagu 'south-east(ern)'
kai 'quay, wharf'
kaitseala 'reservation'
kallas (kalda) 'shore, bank'
kalmistu 'cemetery'
kanal(i) 'canal'
kare 'islet'
kari 'reef, rocky islet'
kari (karja) 'cattle'
karjamaa 'pasture'
kerik see kirik
kesk- 'central, middle'
kihelkond (kihelkonna) '(ecclesiastical) parish'
kirde /Gen./ 'north-east(ern)'
kirik(u), kerik (kerigu)V 'church'
kivi 'stone, boulder'
koppel (kopli) 'enclosure, paddock'
korgõV see kõrge
kosk (kose) 'rapids'
kraav(i) 'ditch'
kund (kunnu)V 'wilderness, waste land'
kurk (kurgu) 'strait'
kuusik(u) 'spruce wood'
kõnd (kõnnu) 'wilderness, waste land'
kõrge, korgõV 'high'
kõrgustik(u) 'upland'
küla, küläV 'village, hamlet'
külanõukogu 'village soviet, rural municipality' /1945 - 1990, since 1990 cf. vald/
laas (laane, laanõV) 'primeval forest'
laht (lahe) 'bay, gulf'
lai(a), lai (laja)D 'broad, wide'
laid (laiu) 'islet'
lamm(i) 'valley flat'
land (lannu)V 'pool, puddle, muddy pond'
lennujaam(a) 'airport'
lennuväli (lennuvälja) 'airfield'
lepik(u) 'alder grove'
liiv(a) 'sand'
linn(a) 'town'
linnus(e) 'castle, stronghold'
lood (loo) 'rocky islet; alvar'
loode /Gen./ 'north-west(ern)'
looduskaitseala 'nature reservation'
loss(i) 'castle'
luht (luha) 'water meadow'
lõpp (lõpe) 'cove'
lõugas (lõuka) 'cove, inlet'
lõuna 'south, southern'
läte (lätte) 'source, spring'
lääne /Gen./ 'west, western'
maa 'land, county'
maakond (maakonna) 'county'
maalinn(a) 'fenced stronghold'
maantee 'road, highway'
madal(a) 'shoal, shallow'
madalik(u) 'lowland'
majakas (majaka) 'lighthouse'
majand(i) 'enterprise, farm'
meri (mere) 'sea'
mets(a), mõts(a)V 'wood, forest'
must(a) 'black'
muul(i) 'pier'
mõis(a) '(country) estate, manor'
mõts(a)V see mets(a)
mäe- 'upper'
mägi (mäe) 'hill'
männik(u) 'pine wood'
neem(e) 'cape, foreland'
niit (niidu, niidüV) 'meadow'
nina 'cape, foreland'
nukk (nuki) 'cape, promontory'
nurm(e), nurm(õ)V 'field, pasture'
nõmm(e) 'heath'
oja 'brook, stream'
org (oru) 'valley'
ots(a) 'end, cape'
palu, paloV 'low meadow or forest'
pank (panga) 'steep limestone coast, rocky cape'
park (pargi) 'park'
pea, pääS 'head, point, end'
peakraav(i) 'main ditch, canal'
pealt- 'upper'
peatus(e) 'stop'
pere 'family, household'
piir(i) 'border, boundary'
pikk (pika), pitk(a)D 'long'
plats(i) 'square'
poolsaar(e) 'peninsula'
puiestee 'avenue, boulevard'
põhja /Gen./ 'north, northern'
põik (põigu) 'lane, crossroad'
põld (põllu) 'field'
pää see pea
raba 'bog, swamp'
rahu 'reef'
rahvuspark (rahvuspargi) 'national park'
rajoon(i) 'district' /1950 - 1990, since 1990 cf. maakond/
rand (ranna) 'shore, coast, beach'
raudtee 'railway'
saar(e), saar(õ)V 'island'
saarestik(u) 'archipelago'
sadam(a) 'harbour; port'
saun(a) 'small farm, cottage; bath-house'
soo, suuV 'swamp, marsh, mire'
sild (silla) 'bridge'
suu 'mouth'
suuV see soo
suur(e), suur(õ)V 'great, large'
säär(e) 'narrow foreland'
taga- 'hind'
talu, taloV 'house, farm'
tammik(u) 'oak grove'
tee 'street, way'
tehas(e) 'works, factory'
tiik (tiigi) 'pond'
tulepaak (tulepaagi) 'beacon'
tuletorn(i) 'lighthouse'
tuulik(u) 'windmill'
tänav(a) 'street'
uus (uue) 'new'
vabrik(u) 'factory'
vahe- 'middle'
vahtnõ (vahtsõ)V see vastne (vastse)S
vald (valla) '(civil) parish, rural municipality'
valge, valg- 'white'
vana 'old'
vastne (vastse)S, vahtnõ (vahtsõ)V 'new'
veehoidla 'water reservoir'
veski 'mill'
viik (viigi)D 'bay, cove'
voor(e) 'hill, drumlin'
väike (väikse, väikese), väikuV, väikoV 'small, little'
väin(a) 'strait, sound'
väli (välja, välläV) 'field, plain'
väljak(u) 'square'
ülem- 'upper'


Abbreviation Estonian English
A asfalt, betoon asphalt or concrete pavement
a-k alevik small borough, rural settlement
all allikas spring, source
as asundus settlement (old term)
bass bassein pool
gar garaaž garage
hgl haigla hospital
hot hotell hotel
j jõgi river
jhv jahuveski flour mill
jm jaam station
jsk jaoskond department, ward
jv järv lake
K kruuskate gravel pavement
kan kanal canal
klm kalmistu cemetery
kpl kauplus shop
kr kraav ditch
krk kirik church
krd kordon cordon
l laht bay, gulf
LK, lka looduskaitseala nature reservation
M munakivisillutis cobblestone pavement
m mägi hill
mk metskond forest district
mnt maantee road, highway
ms mõis (country) estate
mtsn metsnik forester, head gamekeeper
mv, mtsv metsavaht gamekeeper
n neem cape, foreland
nav navigatsioonimärk navigation aid
o oja brook, river
p põld field
pkr peakraav main ditch, canal
prv piirivalve borderguard
prügi prügimägi dumping ground
ps poolsaar peninsula
pst puiestee avenue, boulevard
põlevk põlevkivikarjäär oil shale quarry
rhvm rahvamaja, klubi culture house, club
s saar island
sd sadam port
SEJ soojuselektrijaam thermal power plant
sjsk sidejaoskond post office
std staadion stadium
t talu farm, house
th tehas plant
tk tiik pond
tlt tuletorn lighthouse
tn tänav street
vh veehoidla water reservoir
vk väljak square
vlm vallamaja parish (municipality) house
vtn veetorn water tower

Annex: Administrative division of Estonia

Prepared by Peeter Päll
© Institute of Estonian Language, 1997

Homepage of the Place Names Board of Estonia