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ea (n.)

the usual Old English word for "river, running water" (still in use in Lancashire, according to OED), from Proto-Germanic *ahwo- (source also of Old Frisian a, Old Saxon aha, Old High German aha, German ahe-, Old Dutch aha, Old Norse ó "water"), from PIE root *ekweh- "water" (see aqua-). "The standard word in place-names for river denoting a watercourse of greater size than a broc or a burna" [Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names].