The name ‘Solway’ (recorded as Sulewad in 1218) is of Scandinavian origin, and was originally the name of a ford across the mud flats at Eskmouth. The second element of the name is Old Norse vað ‘ford’ (cognate with English wade). The first element is probably Old Norse súl ‘pillar’, referring to the Lochmaben Stane, though súla ‘solan goose’ is also possible. Súl and súla both have long vowels, but the early spellings of Solway indicate a short vowel in the first element. This may be due to the shortening of an originally long vowel in the Middle English period but may also represent an original short vowel. If this is the case, the first element may be *sulr, an unrecorded word cognate with Old English sol ‘muddy, pool’ or a derivative of sulla ‘to swill’.