An anglicisation of the Gaelic word srath, it is one of many that have been absorbed into the English language. It is commonly used in rural Scotland to describe a wide valley, even by non-Gaelic speakers.
It occurs in numerous place names within Scotland including Strathspey and Strathclyde. Internationally, many places with Scottish heritage also use the prefix, including Strath-Taieri in New Zealand; Strathalbyn in South Australia, Strathfield, a suburb of Sydney, Australia; Strathewen, Victoria, Australia; Strathpine, a suburb of Brisbane, Australia; and various places in Canada: Strathmore, Alberta; Strathcona; Strathroy, Ontario; and Strathburn, Ontario.
It also occurs in the names of five Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company liners, four of which, the Strathaird, the Strathnaver, the Stratheden and the Strathmore, carried thousands of migrants to Australia between the 1950s and the 1960s. The ships acted as troop carriers during the Second World War and the fifth ship, the Strathallan, sank in the Mediterranean in 1942 taking troops to the landings in North Africa.
The word is related to Old Welsh Ystrad, as in Ystrad Clud, the Old Welsh name for the Kingdom of Strathclyde.
- T. A. Gibson (1835). Etymological Geography: Being a Classified List of Terms of Most Frequent Occurrence, Entering, as Prefixes or Postfixes, into the Composition of Geographical Names. Oliver & Boyd. p. 23. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
- "The Strathallan Story". Archived from the original on 2007-10-09. Retrieved 2007-12-20.