Fearless Norse Words Found in Everyday English

All English words come from somewhere. While lots of words find their roots in German or French, you can also find Norse words used in English. Explore several lists of viking words and their meanings.

norse word gear gorva fighting armor norse word gear gorva fighting armor
Advertisement

Norse Words in English

It might be hard to believe but many common words in the English language have roots in Old Norse. The etymology of these words dates back to as early as A.D. 1,000. Explore a few common words used in the English language that find their roots in the Norse language.

English Word

Old Norse Word

Norse Meaning

anger

angr

hostility or displeasure

bait

beit

food to entice prey

cast

kasta

to throw

fellow

felagi

partner, colleague

hit

hitta

come upon, find

ill

illr

evil

lift

lypta

raise up

loan

lan

lend

meek

mjukr

soft, gentle

scrap

skrap

tiny piece

skill

skil

knowledge

thrift

thrifta

grasp, hold

thrive

thrifta

grasp, hold

ugly

ugga

to dread

Viking Words for Objects and Animals

Interested in finding out a few English words for objects that came from the Viking language? Look no further than this list of animals and objects that find their roots in the Norse language.

English Word

Old Norse Word

Norse Meaning

axle

qxultre

pin that wheels move on

bag

baggi

sack

ball

bqllr

to blow

bull

boli

male bovine

egg

ey

from female animals

plow

ploh

agricultural implement

raft

raptr

floating platform

reindeer

hreinn

deer-like animal

skirt

vanr

lacking

sky

sky

area overhead, clouds

wand

vqndr

rod, switch

window

vindr

wind

Norse Verbs in English

Not only do we get a few different nouns from the Norse language, but there are also some verbs too. Find out just what verbs had their beginnings in the Norse language. The way Vikings used them might be a bit different than they are used today.

English Word

Old Norse Word

Norse Meaning

billow

bylgja

a wave

call

kalla

cry out

gawk

ga

rever or worship

get

geta

obtain, guess

raise

reisa

lift up

seem

soemr

fitting

snub

snubba

chide, check

stagger

staka

push

take

taka

grasp

want

vanr

lacking

whirl

hvirfla

turn about

Viking Words for Warriors and War

Vikings were fierce warriors. And they didn’t have a lack of words you would use for warriors or wars. Explore this list of interesting words related to war with Viking beginnings.

English Word

Old Norse Word

Norse Meaning

berserk

berserkr

wild warrior

die

deyja

dead

gear

gorva

fighting armor

knife

knifr

cutting instrument

ransack

rannsaka

seek

scathe

skathi

scar, scorch

skill

skil

discernment

slaughter

slatr

butcher meat

sly

sloegr

cunning

snare

snara

noose

thwart

thvert

obstinate

trust

traustr

strong

Advertisement

Old Norse Phrases

Old Norse words are fun, but you can also find some common phrases that came from Norse. Dive into these interesting Old Norse phrases that can still be used today.

  • A fair wind at our back is best.
  • Better to fight and fall than live without hope.
  • Fear not death for the hour of your doom is set and none may escape it.
  • If you cannot bite, never show your teeth.
  • It is darkest before dawn.
  • Kinsmen to kinsmen should be true.
  • Not every cloud which darkens the day brings rain.
  • Time runs like the river current.

Using Norse Words

Many times you don’t think about the etymology of words. However, many different words in the English language can find their roots in other languages. Ready to explore more language fun? Keep your search of languages going by looking at a list of Norwegian words.