There is a large number of streets in the UK whose names end in -hurst, for example Ravenhurst, Gathurst, Oakhurst, Amhurst, Bonehurst, Eaglehurst, etc.

Is there a common meaning for this -hurst ending? How old are these names?

  • sweet question, especially for anyone who ever lived in Darlinghurst!
    – Fattie
    Sep 22, 2014 at 10:50

4 Answers 4


One reference: hurst = wooded hill. In street names, it's likely to be a modern invention; in place names, it may well survive from antiquity.

It's a Saxon word, and would thus probably occur more in Southern England than the Danelaw in the north. OED has

Etymology: Old English hyrst < Old Germanic type *hursti-z, whence Old High German, Middle High German hurst, German dialect horst ‘heap, cluster, thicket, top of rock, sandbank’ (Flügel); Middle Low German horst hill, wooded or bushy eminence, small wood, Low German horst, host, a bushy piece of land surrounded with marsh, a wooded eminence, East Frisian hörst, horst, höst, thicket, copse, sandy eminence (probably formerly overgrown with brushwood); Middle Dutch horst (Kilian horscht, horst) thicket of brushwood. In the forms -hurst, -hirst, -herst, a frequent element in place-names, as in Hawkhurst, Chislehurst, Ferniehirst, Amherst. (So -horst in Dutch and Low German.)

Icelandic hrjóstr rough place, barren rocky place, Norwegian dialect rust, ryst, little wood, thicket, clump of alders and dwarf birch, wooded tract on a mountain, lateral ridge of a mountain, Faroese rust ridge, show similarity of sense, but are difficult to connect phonologically.


Hurst appears to mean a wooded hill according to this site. It is an old part of a name but only local research could tell you whether a road was ancient or had just been given a name made up from old roots to imbue a sense of history and rootedness.


Hurst (and also hirst and sometimes corrupted over time to est) comes from the Old English hyrst which could mean a copse, a hill or both; a hill with a copse on it.

In English names then, it suggests an origin prior to the Battle of Hastings and the coming of the Normans, though the existence of such names in America and Australia should be enough to demonstrate that it's possible for somewhere with that name to have been founded after 1066, and just named in imitation of the form used elsewhere.


As I understood it, and was told as a small child, "Hurst" was a small clearing (smaller than a field or meadow), generally along side a body of water, like a river or lake. I was also told that "Hyrst" is the stone below and what the mill stone/"grindstone" travels in to crush/grind the grain. Even here in the U.S. (across the "pond" as some might say) there are many place names and different spellings attached to "Hurst". Michael Jackson lived at 4641 "Hayvenhurst" Ave. in the San Fernando Valley and there is a "Havenhurst" Street and Apartment complex in Hollywood. I believe that the British Military Academy is located at "Sandhurst" which would sort of contradict some of the other "sandy" definitions I have read. I understand there are many other variations of spellings and definitions too. There is a city in Texas named "Hurst" (and an auto transmission company). I like the "Urban Dictionary's" definition but have no idea how they got that...

  • Thank you for your information. I suppose I would cite "oral history" as my sourcing in how I understand this word and as was told to me by my father as he was told by his father and so forth. There is a "FairHURST" Hall located near Parbold in England. I have also had the definition I understand confirmed by others (being an unusual last name) with others sharing this surname whom have a tendency to contact those with that same surname while in travel (general verbal confirmation?). However, I would suppose that a true definition is in the usage of that language and of those words within it. Aug 7, 2016 at 18:52

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