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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sròn a Chorra Bhuilg, a typical promontory, in the Scottish Highlands.

A promontory is a prominent mass of land which overlooks lower lying land or a body of water (when it may be called a peninsula or headland).

Most promontories are formed either from a hard ridge of rock that has resisted the erosive forces that have removed the softer rock to the sides of it, or are the high ground that remains between two river valleys where they form a confluence.

Throughout history many forts and castles have been built upon promontories because of their natural defensive properties. The promontory forts in Ireland are an example of this.


A promontory often has a shape resembling that of a nose. The word is an anglicised form of Latin promontorium, which is said to be derived from either mons (mountain)[1] or *munctor (nose)[2]

The Germanic word for a promontory is ness, also related to nose, and found throughout Germanic countries (also written nes, næs and näs), but often relating to a peninsula.

In the Scottish Highlands a number of hills are called a mull or sròn, the Gaelic word for nose.


  1. ^ Webster's Dictionary, 1913, as cited on
  2. ^ Niels Åge Nielsen: Dansk Etymologisk Ordbog, 4th edition, 2nd print, Gyldendal, Copenhagen, 1991, ISBN 87-7789-000-0

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