Srnordiske Ord Scandinavian-only Words

 

Updated: 26.11.2012

 

Abbreviations used: arch. = archaic; BM = Norwegian Bokml; dial. = dialectal; hist. = historical; MDu = Middle Dutch; ME = Middle English; MHG = Middle High German; MLG = Middle Low German; NN = Norwegian Nynorsk; ODan. = Old Danish; OE = Old English; OFris = Old Frisian; OHG = Old High German; ON = Old Norse; ONorw. = Old Norwegian; OS = Old Saxon; OSwed. = Old Swedish.

 

**

 

This article aims to cover some of the better known or more interesting words in the Scandinavian languages which fulfill the following criteria:

 

i) Words which have no known or certain analogues or cognates in other Germanic languages, i.e. Scandinavian-only words (taking loans from Scandinavian into account!)

ii) Words which have cognate material in Germanic but are Scandinavian neologisms

iii) Words in Scandinavian which once had direct equivalents or cognates in other Germanic languages in earlier historical times but which are now obsolete in all but Scandinavian languages

iv) Words which have surviving cognates in other Germanic languages but which have taken on uniquely Scandinavian forms or meanings

 

Based on my use of the etymological dictionaries, I have concluded the following:

 

To i) belong: aka, at, aumr, aurrii, bardagi, beiskr, brkoter, dligr, drengr, ekki, elska, eyma, foss, gta, genta, glf, grein, gr, grss, hnn (and hn), hefnd, hera, hitta, hjalli, hrddur, hylle (?), hgri, kasta, keyra, kjt, kti, logn, lundr, lyndi, lyng, lti, lg, mjkr, mykr, ningr, oddi, orne, orrosta, ostr, pka, rannsaka, rn, refr, sef (?), sld, skei, spakr, sng, tjrn, vndr, ungr, yngd, yngsl.

 

To ii) belong: aldrigi, almenningr, angra, barsel, beizl, blna, bohagh, bndi, byg, daggry, dagverr, dofinn, drttning (and also to iii), dylja, eigi, einsligr, ekkja, engi, ftkr, flagi, fjs (< f-hs), fstri (?), gedda, gleyma (and also to iii), gluggr, ga, henda, hos, hrsla, hstr, mot, kensl, kerling, knrr, krka, kvistr, lfa, lykill/ngel, lsa, lgmar, mettr, nbi, nttverr, ok, stana, stafkarl, steik, systkin, tvilling, umbosmar, vitna, walmogha, erne (?), ordyn.

 

To iii) belong: ss, bakki, blyg, brhlaup, drka, eldr, elfr, f, fr/frj, fylki, galinn, geyja, glggr, grn, haf, helvti, hervirki, jtunn, kaupang, kona, lgr, loinn, lknir, myrkr, mli, nkkurr, skegg, sk, reyttr, rll, fa, vtta, yrnir.

 

To iv) belong: bjrn, byrja, drp, drepa, forellrar, fr, fr, grautr, grta, hestr, hla, hvla, kaka, kelda, kjklingr, knekkja, krefja, maki, mki, mrr, sem, skrma, sl, strr, tupp, sll, vargr, vatn, vzka, jrr, rn.

 

I cannot determine the category for andbo.

 

*Note: Norse forms in the dialects of Shetland and Orkney (of which there are many) have been excluded since these are so little known as to be of trifling use except in special studies of those dialects. Many are listed by de Vries and some are mentioned in passing by Thorsen.

 

*Note: ON, Proto-Norse and Common Scandinavian forms are approximated as far as my basic font allows; not all words appear as in the etymological dictionaries.

 

 

Old Norse (or ODan., OSwed., ONorw. where noted)

meaning

Swedish

Danish

Norwegian

Icelandic

Proto-Norse or Common Scandinavian (CS) (where known)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

------

dawn, daybreak

daggryning

daggry

daggry

-------

-------

------

------

tupp "cock, rooster"

-------

tupp (dial.) "rooster"

-------

-------

----------

-----------

barnsl christening celebration

barsel

birth

BM barsel

NN barnsl

christening celebration

--------

--------

*skrma

frighten, scare

skrmma "alarm, frighten, terrify"

skrmme "alarm, frighten, terrify"

skremme "alarm, frighten, terrify"

skrma

*skrman

aka

drive

ka

-------

ake ride; slide

aka

 

aldrigi

never

aldrig

aldrig

aldri

aldrei

*ni-aldr-gi, CS *ne aldri gi

almenningr

common land

allmnning

alminding

allmenning

almenningur general public

CS *almenningR

andbo

tool, utensil

--------

-----------

---------

---------

CS *andbo

angra

grieve, vex

ngra regret

angre regret

angre regret

angra trouble, bother

 

at

to (infinitive marker)

att

at

a

CS *at

aumr

miserable, unhappy, wretched

m sore, painful, tender; affectionate, fond

m sore, painful, tender; affectionate, fond

m sore, painful, tender; affectionate, fond

aumur

*auma-

aurrii

salmon-trout

rad, red (dial.)

rred

rret, aure; aurride (dial.)

urrii

CS *urrii

ss

beam; ridge

s

s

s

s

*saR

bakki

bank, ridge, hill

backe

bakke, banke

bakke

bakki

CS *bakki-, *banki-

bardagi

battle

------

------

bardage

bardagi

 

beiskr

bitter, acrid

besk

besk

BM besk NN beisk

 

beiskur

*baitska-

beizl

bridle

betsel

bidsel

BM bissel, NN beisl

beisl

CS *beitsl

bjrn

bear

bjrn

bjrn

bjrn

bjrn

*bernu

blna

turn blue, become livid

blna "turn blue"

blne "turn blue"

blne "have a bluish appearance"

blna

CS *blna

blyg

shame

blygd

blygd (arch.) "shyness"

NN blygd "shyness"

blyg, blygun

 

bohagh (OSwed.)

property

bohag

"household effects"

bohave "household effects"

BM bohave "household effects"

--------

CS *bo-haga

bndi

farmer, peasant

bonde

bonde

bonde

bndi

*bandi

brkoter (OSwed.)

multicoloured, varied

---------

broget "variegated"

broket

---------

*brkuhtu-

brhlaup, brullaup

wedding feast, bridal

brllop "wedding"

bryllup "wedding"

BM bryllup

NN brudlaup "wedding"

(brkaup)

*bri-hlaupa

byg

colonisation; abode, inhabited region

bygd

bygd

bygd

bygg

*biggwi-

byrja

begin

brja

----------

NN byrje; (BM begynne)

byrja

 

dagverr, dgurr

breakfast

dagvard

davre

dugurd, dagverd

dgurur

CS *dagwerR

dligr

bad, evil; poor, wretched

dlig

drlig

BM drlig

NN dleg

dligur

*dlgaR, CS *dligR

dofinn

benumbed, dead

duven "flat, stale"

doven "lazy"

doven "lazy"

dofinn

*duvina-, CS *dofinR

drp

homicide

drp

drab

drap

drp

*drpa-

drengr

bold man; attendant; fellow

drng "hired man"

dreng "boy, lad"

dreng "hired man; lad; bold man (arch.)"

drengur "boy, lad"

*drangiR, CS *drengR

drepa

kill, slay; beat

drpa

drbe

drepe

drepa

 

drttning

queen

drottning

dronning

dronning

drottning

*druhtininga, CS *drttning

dylja

conceal; disavow

dlja "conceal, hide"

dlge "conceal, hide"

BM dlge

NN dlja "conceal, hide"

dylja

*duljan

dna

pillow; feather-bed

dyna cushion

dyne

dyne eiderdown

dna

CS *dna

drka

worship

dyrka worship

dyrke worship; cultivate

dyrke worship; cultivate

drka

*diurikan

eigi

not

ej

ej

ei

eigi

*ne eigi

einsligr

single; private

enslig "solitary, lonely"

-------

BM enslig

NN einsleg "solitary, alone, single"

einslegur "private"

CS *einsligR

ekki, etki

not

icke

ikke

ikke, NN ikkje

ekki

*eittki

ekkja

widow

nka

enke

BM enke NN enkje, ekkje

ekkja

*aina-kjn, CS *enkja

eldr

fire, flame

eld

ild

eld, ild

eldur

 

elfr

river, stream

lv

elv

elv

elfur

 

elska

love

lska

elske

elske

elska

 

engi

no-one

ingen

ingen

ingen

enginn

*aingi

eyma

commiserate, pity

mma be sore, hurt; mma fr feel for, sympathize with

mme (sig) wince;  moan

mme (seg) complain,  groan

eyma

*aumian

f

get, receive

f

f

f

f

*fhan

ftkr

poor, impoverished

fattig

fattig

fattig, NN ftk

ftkur

*fwitkia-, CS *ftkR

flagi

companion, partner

-------

flle

BM felle

NN felage

flagi

*fehulagan-, CS *flagi

fjs

cowshed

-------

-------

fjs

fjs

CS *fhs

forellrar

forefathers, ancestors

frldrar

"parents"

forldre

"parents"

foreldre

"parents"

foreldrar parents

 

foss, fors

waterfall

fors

fos

foss

foss

 

fstri

foster-father/son/brother

----------

----------

fostre

fstri foster father

CS *fstri

fr

from

frn

fra

fra, NN fr

fr

*fr, *frn

fr/frj

seed

fr

fr

fr

fr/frj

 

fylki

district or county in Norway; battalion

fylke "county"

fylke "Norwegian county"

fylke "county; tribal district" (hist.)

fylki "state"

 

fr

sheep

fr

fr

fr

f

*fahaR

furfair

grandfather

---------

---------

---------

furfair

CS *furfair

galinn

enchanted, bewitched; mad, frantic

galen

gal

gal, galen

galinn "insane, daft; furious"

CS *galinR

gta

riddle, puzzle

gta

gde

gte

gta

 

gedda

pike

gdda

gedde

gjedde

gedda

*gaiin, CS *gedda

genta

girl, lass

jnta, gnta (dial.)

-------

BM jente NN gjente

"girl; housemaid"

genta

 

geyja

bark; scoff

g

g

BM gj NN gy

geygja

 

gleyma

forget

glmma

glemme

BM glemme NN glyme

gleyma

*glaumjan

gluggr

opening in a wall, window

glugg

glug

glugg, glugge

gluggi

 

glggr

clear, distinct

glgg (dial.) "lively, keen"

-------

glgg "quick-witted, sharp"

glggur "quick-witted, sharp, discerning"

 

glf

floor

golv

gulv

BM gulv NN golv

glf

CS *golf

grautr

oatmeal, mush

grt

grd

BM grt, NN graut

grautur

*grautiz

grein

branch

gren

gren

gren, grein

grein

CS *greinn

gr

intensity, vehemence; violence

(dial.) gresk, grisker "vehment, eager"

grisk, gridsk "greedy, avid"

NN gridug "dilligent, industrious", grisk "greedy"

gr

*griska-

grss

pig, hog

gris

gris

gris

grs

*grs, CS *grsR

grta

pot

gryta

gryde

gryte

grta

CS *grta

grn

spruce, fir

gran

gran

gran

greni, grn

 

ga

enrich, improve; increase

gda

fatten up; fertilize

gde

manure, fertilize

gj, NN gjde fatten up; fertilize

ga

 

haf

sea

hav

hav

hav

haf

 

hnn

he

han

han

han

hann

*hnaR

hefnd

revenge, vengeance

hmnd

hvn

BM hevn NN hemn, hemd

hevnd

*hamni-

helvti

hell

helvete

helvede

helvete

helvti

--------

henda

grip with the hand; concern; happen, occur

hnda happen, occur

hnde happen, occur

hende happen, occur

henda

*handian

hera

district

hrad

herred

herred

hjera

*harjaraa-

hervirki

ravaging, plundering

---------

hrvrk vandalism

hrverk plundering; vandalism

hervirki destruction

 

hestr

horse

hst

hest

hest  

hestur

*hhistaR

hitta

hit, meet, find

hitta

hitte

hitte

hitta

*hittan

hla

listen to, obey

lyda "obey, listen to"

lyde "obey"

BM lye

NN lyde "listen to"

hla

 

hos (OSwed.), hos (ODan.)

with, at the home of, chez

hos

hos

hos

----------

-----------

hn

she

hon

hun

hun

hn

*hnu

hrddr

afraid, frightened

rdd

rd

redd

hrddur

*hria-

hrsla

fear, fright

rdsla

rdsel

BM redsel NN redsle

hrsla

 

hstr (< hsfr)

mistress of the house; wife

hustru "wife"

hustru "wife"

hustru "wife"

hstru (arch.) "housewife"

CS *hstr

hvld; hvla

bed, place of rest; rest, repose

vila "rest, repose"

hvile "rest, repose"

BM hvile "repose, rest" NN kvile "repose, rest; bed"; BM hvil NN kvil "short rest"

hvld; hvla

 

hylle (OSwed.)

shelf

hylla

hylde

hyll

----------

*hulin, CS *hylla

hgri

right (spatial)

hger

hjre

hyre

hgri

comparative of *hqia-, CS *hgri

mot

against; in return

emot towards; against

imod towards; against

imot towards; against

mti

CS * mti

jtunn

giant

jtte

jtte

jette

jtunn

 

kaka

cake

kaka

kage

kake

kaka

CS *kaka

kasta

throw

kasta

kaste

kaste

kasta

*kasatjan

kaupang

town, trade centre

kping

kbing

kaupang

kaupangur

CS *kupangR

kelda

spring, source

klla

kilde

kilde, kjelde

kelda "piping system; waterhole; marsh"

*kaldon

kensl, kensla

recognition, knowledge; teaching

knsel, knsla "feeling, perception, sensation"

------

kjensel "recognition; feeling, touch", kjensle "feeling, sense"

kensl

 

kerling

old woman

krring "old woman; crone"

klling "hag, crone; old woman"

kjerring "old woman"

kerling

CS *kerling

keyra

drive, ride, hunt

kra

kre

BM kjre

NN kyre

keyra

*kaurian

kilingr

kid, young goat

killing

---------

killing

kilingur

CS *kilingR

kjarr

brushwood, thicket

------------

----------

BM kjerr NN kjrr

kjarr

 

kjklingr

chick

kyckling

kylling

kjukling, kylling

kjklingur

*keukalinga-, CS *kjklingR

kjt

meat, flesh

ktt

kd

kjtt

kjt, ket

*ketwu-

knekkja

crack, break, snap

kncka

knkke

BM knekke NN knekkje

kneikja

 

knrr

merchant ship

knarr (dial.)

knar (arch.)

knarr

knrr

*knarruR, CS *knrr

kona

woman; wife

kona "shrew; tart",

kone

kone

kona

 

krka

crow (cf. English crake)

krka

krage

krke

krka

CS *krka

krefja

demand, claim

krva

krve

kreve

krefja

 

kvistr

thin branch

kvist twig

kvist twig

kvist twig

kvistur

*kwistaR, CS *kvistR

kti

joy, gladness

cf. kttja "lust", kt "horny"

cf. kd "playful, frisky, gay, wanton"

kjte "gaiety; wantonness"; NN ktleik "gaiety"

kti "gaiety, fun"

CS *ktR

lgr

low

lg

lav

lav, lg

lgur/lr

*lga-

loinn

hairy, shaggy

luden

lodden

lodden

loinn

 

logn

calm, quiet, lull

lugn

lun

lugn, logn

logn

CS *lugna

lundr

grove

lund

lund

lund

lundur

*lunda-, CS *lundR

lfa

thick, dense hair

luva "woollen cap"

lue "shaggy hat"

lue, NN luva "cap"

lfa

*lv-

lykill

key

nyckel; lykil (dial.)

ngle; lgel (jysk)

nkkellykel (dial.)

lykill

*hnukila-; *lukila-

lyndi

disposition, character

lynne "disposition, temperament"

lynd (arch.), lynne (loan from Swed.)

BM lynne NN lynde

"disposition, temperament"

lyndi

 

lyng

heather

ljung

lyng

lyng

lyng

*lingwa-

lti

fault, defect, disgrace

lyte "fault, defect, blemish"

lyde "fault, defect, blemish, stain"

lyte "fault, defect, blemish"

lti

 

lknir

doctor, physician

lkare

lge

lege

lknir

 

lsa

lock

lsa

lse

BM lse

NN lse

lsa

 

lg

law

lag

lov

lov

lg

*lagu-, CS *lg

lgmar

lawyer; lawspeaker

lagmann "chief district judge"

lovmand (hist.) "lawman"

------

lgmaur "solicitor; barrister"

---------

maki

female mate

make "mate, match; husband, spouse"

mage "mate, match, equal; spouse"

make "mate, match, equal; spouse"

maki "spouse, equal"

 

mki (ONorw.)

seagull

mk(e) (dial.)

mge

mke

-------

*mwakan, CS *mki

ml

speech, language

ml speech; dialect

ml dialect

ml

ml

CS *ml

mettr

satisfied, full, sated

mtt

mt

mett

mettur

CS *mettR

mjkr

soft

mjuk

myg

myk, mjuk

mjkur

CS *mikR

mykr

dung

---------

mg

BN mkk NN mk

mykja cow dung

CS *mykR

myrkr

darkness

mrker

mrke

mrke, NN myrker

myrkur

*merkwiR

mrr

marsh, boggy heath

myr

myr (dial., literary)

myr, (dial.) myra

mri

CS *mrR

mli

speech, utterance

(genmle "reply, retort")

mle "speech, voice, utterance"

mle "speech, voice"

mli "voice; reputation"

*mlia-

nakkvarr, nkkurr

some, someone

ngon

nogen

noen, NN nokon

nokkur

Contraction of *ne wait ek hwariR (lit. "I know not whom")

nbi

neighbour

nabo

nabo

nabo

nbi

*nwaban-

nttverr, ntturr

supper

nattvard

nadver

nattverd

nttverur

*nahtuweruR, CS *nattwerR

ningr

dastard, niggard

niding

nidding

niding

ningur

CS *ningR

oddi

headland; odd number

udde

odde

odde

oddi

*uzan-

ok

and; but; also

och and

og and

og and

og also, and

 

orne (OSwed.)

boar

orne

orne

---------

-------

Perhaps *urRn

orrosta

battle

-------

-------

-------

orrusta

CS *orrosta

ostr

cheese

ost

ost

ost

ostur

*iustaR

pka

girl, lass

piga (hist.) "serving wench, maid"

pige

pike

pka "vulva"

 

rannsaka

investigate a house

rannsaka

ransage

ransake

rannsaka

*raznasakan, CS *rannsaka

rn

robbery, plunder

rn

ran

ran

rn

CS *rn

refr

fox

rv

rv

rev

refur

*rea-, CS *refR

reyna

try, test

rna

-------

reyne, ryne

reyna

 

rotinn

rotten

rutten

rdden

BM rtten

NN roten

rotinn

*rutana, CS *rotinR

rotna

rot

ruttna

rdne

BM rtne

NN rotne

rotna

*rutann

sef

rush

sv

siv

siv, sev

sef

*sva-

sem

as; who, which, that

som

som

som

sem

 

sld

herring

sill

sild

sild

sld

*sl

skegg

beard

skgg

skg

skjegg

skegg

CS *skegg

skei

longboat, galley

---------

---------

---------

-------

CS *skei

skipti

division; shift, change

skifte "change; distribution; partition"

skifte "shift, change; admin. division"

skifte "change, shift"

skipti

 

skgr

forest, wood

skog

skov

skog

skgur

CS *skogR

sk

cloud

sky

sky

sky

sk

*skeuja

sl

sun

sol

sol

sol

sl

 

spakr

wise; quiet, gentle

spak "docile; quiet"

spag "meek, submissive; mild"

spak "meek, submissive; mild"

spakur

CS *spakR

stana

stop, pause

stanna "halt, stop"

stadne (arch.)

stane (dial.) "halt, stop"

stana

 

stafkarl

beggar

stackare wretch

stakkel wretch

stakkar wretch

stafkarl

*stavakarla-, CS *stafkarl

steik

steak, roast

stek

steg

steik

steik

CS *steik

strr

large, big

stor

stor

stor

str

 

systkin

sibling

syskon

ssken

ssken, systkin

systkin

*swestrign, CS *systkin

sng

bed

sng

seng

seng

sng

*swinga-, CS *sing

tjrn

pond, small lake

tjrn

(dial.) tjrn

tjern, tjrn

tjrn

perhaps *terhn

tvilling

twin

tvilling

tvilling

tvilling

------

CS *twinlingR

umbosmar

commissary, steward

ombudsman "representative, ombudsman"

ombudsmand "comissioner"; "royal provost" (hist.)

BM ombudsmann, NN ombodsmann "comissioner"; "bailiff" (hist.)

umbosmaur "representative, solicitor"

CS *umbosmaR

unna

love

unna "not begrudge"

unde "not begrudge, give, grant"

unna "not begrudge; wish, grant (arch.)

unna "love, adore"

 

sll

unhappy

usel

usel, ussel

NN ussel

sll

*un-sliR, CS *slR

vanaligr

customary, usual

vanlig

vanlig

vanlig

vanalegur

*wanalkaR, CS *wanaligR

vargr

wolf; thief, miscreant, outlaw

varg "wolf"

varg (literary) "wolf; malefactor"

varg "wolf; outlaw"

vargur "wolf; hothead"

 

vatn

water; lake

vatten

vand

vatn

vatn

 

vndr

bad, wretched; wicked

ond

ond

ond, vond

vndur

*wnda-, CS *wndR

vitna

testify

vittna

vidne

vitne

vitna

From noun *witania-

vzka

fluid, liquid, moisture, water

vtska

vske

vske

-------

*wtiskn

walmogha (OSwed.)

poppy

vallmo

valmue

valmue

-------

 

enna

this

denne

denne

denne

-------

*anhi

erna

tern

trna

terne

terne

erna

*ernn, CS *erna

jrr

bull

tjur

tyr

NN tjor "ox"

jr "bull, ox"  

*euraR

ordyn (OSwed.), thordyn (ODan.)

thunder

tordn

torden

torden

-------

*unaradunja-

reyttr

exhausted, worn out, tired

trtt

trt

trett, trtt

reyttur

*rautiaR  related to verb *rautjan, CS *reyttR

 

rll

slave, thrall

trl

trl

trl, trell

rll

CS *rll

ungr

heavy

tung

tung

tung

ungur

 

fa

mound, knoll

tuva

tue

tuve, tue

fa

 

vtta

wash, launder

tvtta

tvtte

tvette, tvtte

vtta

*wahtian

yngd; yngsl

heaviness, illness, troubles;

burden, affliction

tynd "weight, load"

 

tyngde "heaviness, weight"; tyngsel "burden, weight"

 

tyngd "heaviness, mass";

BM tyngsel NN tynglse "burden, weight"

 

yngd "heaviness, weight; gravity"; ynglsi "burden, weight; torpor"

 

 

yrnir

hawthorn

trne, tjrne (dial.)

tjrn

tyrner (dial.)

yrnir

 

rn

eagle

rn

rn

rn

rn

*arnuR

 

 

 

The following three paragraphs follow Haugen (1984):

 

The major part of the vocabulary of Old Scandinavian belongs, not surprisingly, to the common Germanic word-stock. Some words have taken on peculiarly Scandinavian forms, e.g. those nouns formed with the addition of suffix -n in PN e.g. bernu, arnu > ON bjrn, rn (a side-form of ON ari "eagle" which answers to those in West Germanic which formed nouns from the same Germanic roots (beran, aran) without -n (therefore ber-, ar-)): German Br, Dutch beer, English bear, Frisian bear; German Aar, Dutch arend, English erne (OE earn "eagle" and Frisian earn being West Germanic exceptions which took the same path as the Proto-Norse forms); ON vatn (cf. German Wasser, Dutch water, English water, Frisian wetter). Another specifically Nordic productive element was *-in, which formed nouns appearing in ON as -i, e.g. adjective glar > noun glei, as well as the suffixing of *-nan to create inchoative verbs from adjectives, e.g. ON blna "turn blue", myrkna "darken", sortna "blacken" (from blr "blue", myrkr "dark, mirky", svartr "black" respectively).  The most common Germanic prefixes fell away in Common Scandinavian and one effect of this was to make some words ambiguous. These were often clarified by the use of adverbial particles, e.g. ON lka "open, close" is qualified in lka opp "open up" (cf. OE belcan "close", onlcan "open").

 

In addition to the c. 2,000 simplex words inherited from common Indo-European, it is estimated that c. 1,200 words (mostly nouns) exist in Scandinavian which have no known exact equivalents in West Germanic languages or Gothic (Peter Skautrup, Det danske sprogs historie, 4 vols. Kbenhavn, 1944-70, vol I, p.166). They probably arose during the Viking Age or early Middle Ages. Many can be counted as variants, derivatives or new usages of common Germanic words and a number may be explained by inadequate records from other Old Germanic dialects, but nevertheless we have to reckon with hundreds of words which are Nordic neologisms or else loanwords from sources unparalleled in other Germanic languages. Others probably existed in Common Germanic or had cognates in the oldest stages of West and East Germanic but were in these languages preferred formal variants or synonyms and hence they were outmoded. (Haugen notes that Common Scandinavian chose the -s suffix in Germanic leuhsa "light" (>CSc ljs > ON ljs) while West Germanic preferred -t (leuta becoming English light, German Licht etc.)). This is just one example of how such seeming differences or else major variant forms could have arisen in preliterate times. 

 

The arbitrariness of how some words may come to be the standard forms in Scandinavian in contrast to West Germanic is illustrated by the example of words meaning "wood" by Haugen. In Common Scandinavian there were four such words mrk, holt, vir and skogR. Today these mean respectively "open land" (except in Iceland where mrk still means "forest"), "grove" (cf. lund), "wood" (e.g. Danish ved) and "forest" (mainland skog, Icelandic skgur). Mrk, holt and vir have cognates in Germanic but skogR stands in uncertain ablaut relation to OE sceaga "thicket". The West Germanic languages' standard term for forest descended from Germanic waluz (OHG, OS wald, OE weald, German Wald, English weald) which in Common Scandinavian had already come to mean "plain" (cf. ON vllr, Icelandic vllur "plain", Norwegian voll "grassy field, meadow"). It not difficult to see how mrk could evolve in meaning from "forest" to "open land" (OE weald has partly done this to modern wold "open country") in areas where forest clearing occurred but it is much more difficult to explain why the forerunner to vllr has already in Common Scandinavian taken on the latter meaning but has never done so to any great extent in West Germanic.

 

Notes on the words in the word-list:

 

aurrii literally "the sand rider", was loaned into MLG as re "salmon" (de Vries).

bakki the ME word banke "slope" (> English bank) is presumably from older Danish banke; cf. OE bacca, bacce "ridge" (de Vries). Nielsen considers the form a side-form to Danish banke, with assimilation of -nk- to -kk-, a characteristic of Scandinavian (cf. drikke vs. drink).

bardagi is derived from ON berja "beat, strike" with the addition of suffix -dagi.

beiskr appears as a loan in ME as beggsk (later baiske), and survives in current northern English dialects as bask "very dry, bitter" (Thorsen); cf. Gothic baitrs "bitter".

bjrn cf. OE bera, OHG bero, MDu bere, German Br, Dutch beer, Frisian bear "bear"; also OE beorn "warrior, hero, doughty man"; the name in Germanic denoted "the brown" (Nielsen, de Vries); the form in -n is unique to Scandinavian;

blna an inchoate verb formed from ON blr "blue, swarthy, black".

blyg has a relation in OE blycgan "grow pale; make afraid" (de Vries).

bndi - borrowed into OE as bnda, bnda "householder, farmer, freeman" and ME bnde, bnde "farmer".

brhlaup - literally denoted the conveying home of the bride. OE brdhlp calques this Norse compound. Related compounds are OFris brlop, OS brdloht, MLG brtloft, OHG brthlauft, MHG brtlauf (de Vries).

byg from ON byggja, byggva "settle, inhabit, dwell", (cf. Norwegian bygge "build, dwell, settle down", Swedish bygga "build", Icelandic byggja "build, inhabit"), hence the ME verb biggen and northern dialect big "build, dwell"; cf. also OE ban "stay, dwell, live, inhabit"; byggja stands in uncertain ablaut relation to ON ba "dwell, live" (cf. Norwegian bo, bu "live, dwell") (de Vries).

byrja is etymologically related to Dutch beuren "lift", gebeuren "happen".

dagverr, dgurr a Scandinavian neologism (just as breakfast is unique to English), formed from ON dagr "day" and verr "mealtime, eating" (cf. Nynorsk verd "meal") - the etymology is disputed but links have been made with Gothic wairdus, OE werd, wird, OHG wirt "host, head of the household" (the Scandinavian words identical with these, e.g. vrd, vrd "host, landlord, innkeeper" are loans from MLG) (de Vries, Nielsen).

dligr derives from ON d "powerlessness, trance, faint" (Icelandic d "coma, unconsciousness", Norwegian Bokml dne "faint; fade", Nynorsk den "deceased") and is closely related to ON dinn "deceased", deyja "die" (hence dinn) the possible source of English die.

dofinn - cf. OFris dof "powerless", Dutch dof "dull, dim"; related to daufr "deaf" (de Vries).

drengr - loaned into OE as dreng "Viking warrior", appearing in ME as dreng, dring "doughty young man".

drttning - cf. OE dryhten "lord", OS druhtin "lord", OHG truhtn "lord"; unlike drttning, words of this root were exclusively masculine and were never extended to denote "queen".

einsligr a compound adjective of the elements ON einn in the genitive case "alone, single" and the adjective forming suffix -ligr (cf. English -ly, -like); the compound is unique to the Nordic languages, cf. German einsam, Dutch eenzaam.

ekki is a compound of eitt (neuter of the numeral einn "one") and the element -gi sometimes added enclictically to nouns or pronouns, often forming negatives (e.g. ON aldrigi, engi, hvergi) (de Vries, Nielsen).

ekkja from the PN form denoting "the lonely, solitary" derived from an adjective corresponding to Old Danish nk "singularly placed", ON einka "individual, separate" (Nielsen).

eldr once had relations in OE led (poetic), OS ld "fire, flame" and OE l "fire, burning", lan "burn"; the root is Indo-European but is not now known in Germanic outside the Scandinavian languages; English dialectal elding "fuel" is a derivative of a Scandinavian loan in eld-;

elfr has relations in MLG elve "riverbed" and MHG Elbe "the Elbe River" (from Germano-Latin Albis); traditionally it is ascribed to Latin albus "white", although other etymologies have been put forward.

elska derived from elskr "beloved, dearly valued" from a Germanic stem; the etymology is uncertain but usually explained in relation to ala (from Indo-European *al- "grow; nourish") and meaning "bring up, raise, rear" > "love" (de Vries, Nielsen).

ftkr from ON fr "few" (cf. mainland Scandinavian f "few", OE fea, OFris f, OS faho, OHG fao) and tkr "taking" a verbal adjective formed from taka - therefore "he who takes or receives little" (Nielsen, de Vries).

flagi is a late loan into OE as folaga and is found in ME forms as felawe, felage; it is a formation from flag "fellowship, partnership" and compounds the elements f "property, money; cattle" and lag "fellowship".

fjs is earlier fhs "sheep-house" (Haugen).

foss is found in ME as fors and continues in northen English dialects as force.

fylki may be the remnant of earlier compounds which had it as a second element, cf. OE gefylce "war band, host"; the related verb fylkja "array, draw up" (Danish, Norwegian fylke, Swedish fylka "array, draw up", Icelandic fylkja "muster a force, marshal") also has a parallel in OE fylcian "marshal"; the derivation ON fylking "battle array; host, legion" (Icelandic fylking "ranks, column") is found in the mainland languages in historical usage as fylking "phalanx"; the root is a formation on ON flk "people, nation, host"; the modern Scandinavian words (except in the case of the Norwegian fylke) are probably revived from Old Norse and are mainly confined to historical usage;

fr "sheep" from Germanic *fahaz "hide", in ablaut relation to ON fax "mane" and related to older Danish faet "sheep's hide with wool on it", cf. OE f(i)eht, OFris fecht, MDu vacht "fleece, pelt"; cf. the stem form ON f "livestock, goods, money" (Nynorsk fe, Swedish f "cattle"; Gothic fahu, OE foh (> fee), OS fehu, OHG feho (> German Vieh)) from Germanic *fehu- "clipped wooly animal, sheep, small livestock" (Nielsen, de Vries).

galinn has relations in OE and OHG galan "to sing"; galinn could also denote "enchanted" (i.e. from song or incantation), usually by malevolent supernatural forces or beings and this sense was connected to the meaning "mad, frantic".

gta survives in northern English dialect goadick "mystery, riddle, puzzle" (Skeat); the West Germanic equivalent is *rdilsi (< Germanic rdan) (Haugen). cf. German Rtsel, Dutch raadsel "puzzle, riddle, mystery" English riddle (< OE rdels "opinion, counsel; riddle"), OFris riedsal "riddle".

genta according to de Vries is related to Icelandic ganta "tease, mock", Nynorsk gantast "trifle, jest", ON gant "flirtation, dalliance", Danish gantes "flirt"; the word is a -t suffixed formation on ON gana "yawn, gape; stare" (de Vries, Nielsen).

geyja cf. OE gian "groan" (Haugen).

gleyma is a derivation originally implying "forgetfulness through revelry" from ON glaumr "merriment, revelry, noise", cf. OE glam (Nielsen).

gluggr related to glgg; cf. also glygg "opening; wind, storm (poet.)", Nynorsk glygge "gap in the cloud cover", i.e. caused by the wind; in ablaut relation to ON gla "shine, glow" (cf. OE glwan, OS glian, OHG gluoen "glow, shine") (Nielsen).

glggr is related to OE glaw "keen, wise, prudent" and OS and OHG glau "wise". It was borrowed into English, appearing in ME as gleg and is still found in northen English dialect glegg "clear-sighted, sharp" (de Vries, Thorsen).

glf provides ME golf "heap of sheafs", modern northern dialect goaf "haystore in a barn"; the etymology is uncertain (de Vries).

grein is found loaned into ME as grayne "twig" and survives in northern dialect grain, also "twig" (Thorsen).

gr the etymology is disputed - Alf Torp has linked it with Gothic gris "step, stride" while Wadstein has read *ga-hr and there a development of hr "storm; onset"; de Vries likes neither, preferring to associate it with grr "greed, hunger" which is at least logical. In this Nielsen agrees, since he links the word with Danish grdig.

grss was loaned into English, recorded in ME as grs, now surviving in northern dialect grice (Thorsen).

grn has provided MLG grne, Dutch green "fir tree"; de Vries considers it the same word as grn "moustache, lip" and related to greni "fir tree, spruce, pine"; the name of the tree stems from its overhang resembling the hair of the upper lip, cf. OHG grana "beard hair"; it is says Nielsen "et spec. nord. navn".

haf has cognates in poetic OE hf "ocean" and OFris hef, MLG (from which German Haff "lagoon") and MDu haf, from Germanic *hafa- but only now meaning "sea, ocean" in Scandinavian; it is closely related to ON hafn "harbour, haven" and has ousted the simplex form inherited from Indo-European ON marr "sea" in the modern Mainland languages (Latin mare, OHG mari, German Meer, OE and modern English mere, Dutch meer etc.).

hefnd - from the related verb hefna comes the ME verb hevenen "avenge" (de Vries).

hestr has relations in OE hengest "stallion", OFris hengst, hingst and OHG hengist "gelding", German Hengst "stallion".

hitta or a parallel Scandinavian form has given ME hitten, modern English hit.

hla provides ME len "listen" and modern dialectal lithe "listen". It is related to OE hldan "make a noise" and OS hldian "sound", among others (de Vries) - the West Germanic equivalents denote "make a noise, sound" - cf. ON hlja "sound", Icelandic hlja "cry out", Norwegian lyde, ljode "sound", Swedish ljuda "sound, make a noise".

hrddur is found borrowed into ME as red, radd (cf. Norwegian redd) (de Vries).

hrsla de Vries links the word (and the accompanying verbs hra "frighten", hrast "be afraid, fear, dread", cf. Bokml reddes, Nynorsk reddast "be frightened", Swedish rdas "fear, dread") with ON hrar "quick" (cf. Nynorsk rad "quick; direct", OE hre "quick", > modern rather) and thereto hrddr.

hstr is a phonological development of older Norse hsfr, Old Danish and Swedish hsfra (with this process having gone further in the modern mainland languages), after the stress fell on the initial syllables and the long vowels were shortened. The word gradually came to loose its semantic relation to hs "house" + fr "lady, wife" and the orthographic division in the word was lost, resulting in an unknown consonant cluster -sfr- and the subsequent exchange of the offending -f- for a more natural -t- (Nielsen); the word is originally a loan into the Scandinavian languages from MLG hsvrouwe "house-lady", whose constituents survive identically compounded in Dutch huisvrouw, German Hausfrau.

hvla "rest, repose" has direct relations in Gothic hveila and West Germanic OE and OS hwl, OFris hwle, MDu wijl, German Weile "while, time" (Nielsen, de Vries).

hgri a comparative "the more convenient" from the adjective hgr "easy, convenient" (Icelandic hgur "easy, convenient, possible", Danish hynde "cushion, bolster"), in ablaut relation to hagr "state, condition" (cf. Ice hagur "circumstances"; Danish behag "pleasure, liking" from MLG) (de Vries, Nielsen).

kaka provided ME kake "flat loaf, flat cake", English cake.

kaupang is probably an early loan from West-Germanic, in the which the word no longer exists. Cf. OE caping "marketplace" (perhaps loaned into West Scandinavian) and MLG kpinge "trade centre" (perhaps transmitted via East Scandinavian).

kelda or a corresponding form is the source of English dialectal kelda "spring"; Nielsen assigns it ablaut status in relation to Old Danish kaldr (ON kaldr) "cold", a belief also stated by de Vries, who discusses the word's unclear affinity to Germanic *welln (cf. OE wiella) and summises the North Germanic form *kalin has perhaps descended from *kvalin from associations with the forerunner of kaldr. cf. German Quelle "well, spring, source", from a source corresponding to Old Swedish kvild from *kveli. (Nielsen, de Vries)

kensl a derivation of the verb kenna "know, recognise; feel" (cf. Norwegian kjenne, Swedish knna "know, recognise; feel"; Gothic kannjan "make known", OE cennan "conceive, bring forth, declare", OFris kenna, OHG kennen "recognise", MLG kennen), a causative formed from the preterite of kunna "know, understand" (cf. Norwegian kunne, Swedish kunna, Icelandic kunna "know, know how"; Gothic kunnan, OE cunnan (> Scots. ken), OS, OHG kunnan, German knnen "know, know how, be able to") (de Vries, Nielsen).

kerling provides modern English carling, carline "fore-and-aft beam in a vessel, used for supporting the deck" (recorded in the 1300s); cf. the cognates and root form ON karl "man", OE ceorl "freeman of the lowest class, husbandman" (> English churl), OHG karl "man, husband" (> German Kerl "chap, fellow"), MLG kerle, Dutch kerel "man, chap", Norwegian kar, Swedish karl "man, chap, fellow".

keyra or a form corresponding to it supplies ME kairen, cairen "go, return", modern dialectal cair "drive" and MLG kren, keren "travel" (de Vries).

kjklingr - from Germanic *keuka-; West Germanic diminutive *keuk-na gives MLG kken, OE ccen (> chicken) and German Kchlein (Nielsen).

kjt is found as a loan in ME (ket) and survives in northern dialect ket "carrion" (Thorsen).

knekkja has relations in MLG knacken "bang", Dutch knakken "cleave in twain, break off, crack" (de Vries).

knrr is recorded loaned as cnearr into late OE; cf. Dutch knar "treestump" (de Vries).

kona cf. the related Gothic qin, OE cwene ("woman, wife; harlot" (> English quean)), OS quena, MLG quene, kone, MHG quene "woman, wife" from Germanic *kwenn; to Germanic *kwni- are ascribed Gothic qns "woman, wife", OS qun "wife", OE cwn "queen; consort, woman", (> English queen), Proto-Norse *kwni-, ON kvn "wife" (Nielsen); (cf. Icelandic kvendi "quean, hussy", kvenast "marry", archaic and poetic kvn "woman, wife").

krka first appears in 1300s ME as crake, identical with the modern word (an alternative derivation is the related ON krkr "raven";

kti a derivation (just as the accompanying verb kta "gladden") of the adjective ktr "merry, cheerful" (cf. Swedish kttja "lust", kt "horny", Danish kd "cheerful, playful, frisky, gay, wanton", Norwegian BM kjte "gaiety; wantoness", kt "frisky, boisterous; horny", NN ktleik "gaiety") - the etymology is uncertain (de Vries).

logn or a corresponding form is the source of ME lune "calm, still, rest", northern English dialectal lown "calm, still; sheltered" (de Vries); according to Wessn the underlying meaning of the word is "gleaming spot on the water" (therefore implying the water must be reasonably calm), later coming to denote a lull or calm in the wind, something of importance to seafarers.

lundr is still found in northern English dialect lum "grove" (Thorsen).

lfa cf. Swedish luv "fringe", Norwegian luv "shock of hair".

lykill/ngel etc. - the exact relations are disputed but the words are related and owe their differences in form to dialect considerations and phonological change.

lykill/ngel opinion is divided on whether ON lykill or Old Danish nykil, Old Swedish nykil represents the older form, the first may be the case since lykill is only now found at the margins of the North Germanic speaking area. Nor can agreement be found upon the precise nature of the relationship between the l- and n- forms. Nielsen derives nykil from PN *hnukila- (tool naming suffix *ila + ON hnka "sit cowering") and therefore meaning "bowed tool". Forms with l- are also attested in Old East Scandinavian: Old Danish lykil, lgel, Old Swedish lykil (whose descendants still exist in the dialects). The proto-form here is claimed to be PN *lukila- "locking tool" formed from *lkan "lock" (cf. OE lcan "lock, close"). As Nielsen himself puts it "Forholdet mellom de to former er omstridt og uklart" (p.309) and the issue has not been resolved.

lyndi stands in umlaut relation to lund, which in ON meant "mind, temper" (cf. Icelandic lund "temperament", Danish lune "mood, spirits, humour", Norwegian lune "mood, humour") and supplied ME lund "nature, condition" (de Vries).

lyng is found in loaned ME ling, modern northen English dialect ling "heather".

lti stands in umlaut relation to ON ljtr "ugly, hideous" (cf. NN ljot "ugly, hideous, disagreeable").

lsa stands in umlaut relation to ON lss "lock" from PN *lamsaR (cf. Icelansdic ls "lock", mainland Scandinavian ls "lock"). The corresponding mainland verbs Danish and Norwegian lse, Swedish lsa, have (or had) in Danish dialectal lse and Norwegian alternative form lse, older Swedish lsa, forms which more closely resemble the ON; rounding of the vowel to is the result of analogy with ls (Old Danish and Swedish las) (de Vries, Nielsen).

lg (or rather the unattested singular *lagu) supplied OE lagu, ME laghe "law" etc. and modern law.

lgmar was loaned in MLG as lochman.

maki provided ME loan make "mate, match, spouse" and modern English dialectal maik; it has direct cognates in OE gemcca "mate, equal, comrade; spouse" (> English match), OS gemako, OHG gimahho (but not a loan from OS as some have supposed), and is related to Germanic *makn "make, do" (de Vries).

mettr and the modern forms related to it are from a Germanic adjective formed on the forebear of ON matr food, Scandinavian mat, mad (cf. English meat) "food" or formed from the past participle to Germanic *matjan (cf. Icelandic metta "satisfy, satiate", OE mettan "feed") (Nielsen).

mjkr - gives rise by borrowing to ME moc, mk "meek, mild" and to modern meek.

myrkr cf. identical adjective myrkr from Germanic *merkwia-, (Icelandic merkur "dark, gloomy, obscure", NN myrk, Danish and BM mrk, Swedish mrk "dark, gloomy, mirky" (the modern English word is a loan from Old Scandinavian)) and OE mierce, OS mirki "darkness, murk" (de Vries); the root of the word (just as in morgen "morning") supposes a development of *mer- "flicker, shimmer, glitter" (Nielsen).

mrr - has given us ME mre, modern mire; related are OE meos, OHG mios, German mies "lousy, rotten", ON mosi "moss; moorland", Nowegian, Danish mose "bog, marsh; moss", Swedish mossa "moss", MLG and MDu mos "moss") (de Vries); moor is essentially West Germanic (Danish mor, Norwegian mor "humus" are loaned from MLG mr < OS mr, OE mr (> moor), German Moor is a loan from Low German), however it may partly be from a word derived from ON merja "crush" and found as modern Swedish and Norwegian dialect mor "mouldered, crumbled matter", Icelandic mor "peat, mud, sediment" (Nielsen).

mli stands in umlaut relation to ON ml "language, speech" (cf. Norwegian, Swedish ml "language; dialect", but the word also denotes "suit, action; case, affair" cf. NN ml "errand, matter", OE mel "council, meeting, assembly; speech", OS mathal "council, meeting,  assembly; speech", OHG madal "law assembly"); ON mla "speak" has direct equivalents in OE mlan, maelian "make a speech", OFris mlia, Gothic maljan (de Vries).

nttverr formed from a compound of ON ntt "night" (but here denoting "evening") and verr "mealtime, eating" (cf. Nynorsk verd "meal") - the etymology is disputed but links have been made with Gothic wairdus, OE werd, wird, OHG wirt "host, head of the household" (the Scandinavian words identical with these, e.g. vrd, vrd "host, landlord, innkeeper" are loans from MLG) (de Vries, Nielsen).

ningr was borrowed into OE (ning), and survives in northern dialect nithing "miser".

nkkurr the -n forms in modern NN nokon, BM noen, Danish nogen and Swedish ngon stem from the equivalents to the ON accusative singular nkkurn; cf. OE nthw "someone" (lit. "I know not whom") and therefore identical with the Common Scandinavian *ni-veit-ek-hvrir from which the ON form and the others descend, Latin nescio quis "I know not whom" (de Vries).

oddi - English odd is the result of its meaning of "odd number" being loaned from Norse; cf. the related ON oddr "point of a weapon, spear; spur; leader".

orrosta was loaned into late OE (orreste) but did not survive long, appearing only once in ME as orrest.

ostr was loaned into English and survives in northern dialect oast "round soft cheese".

pka may be a loanword from Finnish piika "serving wench" (Nielsen, de Vries).

rannsaka provided ME ransaken, modern ransack; rann "large house" is a purely Norse form but is perhaps related to OE rn "hall, large house" (de Vries).

rn was loaned into OE as rn "robbery, rapine".

refr is usually explained as "the red animal" the etymology has produced some wildly differing hypotheses, some linking it with Spanish, Portugeuse and Finnish words - all are guesses however; de Vries remarks, probably correctly, "das Wort ist aber nur Skand. bekannt..." (p. 436); Nielsen suggests it may be a word which in pre-literary times ousted the Scandinavian form of fox, since the latter word may have been a taboo word (p. 354); 

reyna has a known early cognate in runic Gothic raunijaR "tester"; cf. the derived noun ON raun "trial, test; experience; proof" (Icelandic raun "trial, experience; distress; truth", Swedish rn "discovery, observation; experience", NN ryna "experiment, trial", rynd "experience, reality" (< ON reynd "experience"), rynsle "experience, fact" and the verbs Swedish rna "meet with, come in for", Norwegian ryne "try, test, experience".

rotinn provided ME with roten, modern English with rotten; rotna is however not the source of English rot which stems the native OE verb rotian "rot, putrefy".

sld has been loaned to several Baltic languages and Russian. Perhaps related is Dutch zeelt "tench" (de Vries); Nielsen relates it to ON sl "sand launce" and suggests an Old Irish cognate; the etymology is disputed;  

skegg has a relation in OE sceagga "head-hair" (> modern shag "knotted tangle").

skipti - the corresponding ON verb skipta "divide; distribute; change, shift" was borrowed in the OE period as sciftan (ME skiften "change, move") and retains the Norse form today in dialectal skift "shift, move"; cognates are for example native OE sciftan "divide, arrange" (> modern shift), OFris skifta "decide, determine", MLG schiften, schichten "divide; arrange" (de Vries, Barnhart).

skgr stands in ablaut relation to OE sceaga "copse" (modern dial. shaw). The Norse word is found loaned in ME scgh, which has given rise to northern dialect skeugh.

*skrma is inferred from ON skrmast "flee, take to flight"; cf. MLG, MDu schromen "fear, be afraid" (de Vries), MDu schremen "scream" (Barnhart); English scream may be from the ON word or from a Low Germanic loan into OE which is not extant.

sl has a forebear in Gothic sugil, while the OE word sl is certainly influenced by the Norse form (cf. the native poetic OE sigel "sun", which is perhaps not related), note also Latin sol; as de Vries states it: "Die form mit l ist goto-nordisch, und daher nach England gelangt..." (p.529). The characterisic West Germanic form is sunna and is probably a development from the Indo-European form *sauel (de Vries);   

spakr is the origin of ME spac "sober, thoughtful" and modern northern dialect spack "wise". No relations are known in Germanic (de Vries, p. 531).

stana is a inchoative verb formed from stainn "stood still, stationary, stopped", the past particple of standa "stand";

stafkarl is a formation of stafr "staff, stick" and karl "fellow, chap" and this compound is obscured by the mutated modern Scandinavian forms;

strr is the origin of ME str, surviving in the northern dialectal adverbs store, stoore "very, much" and has cognates in OFris stor, OS stri, Dutch stoer "stalwart" (de Vries).

systkin is formed from systir with the Germanic suffixing element of belonging -n (Nielsen); the form systir with a -y- is a Nordic feature;

sng has a possible Germanic derivation of *sahia-wangiR "rigid grass pillow" (de Vries);

tjrn gave ME terne, tarne and modern dialectal tarn "small lake, pond"; the etymology is disputed but it may have distant relatives with the IE languages;

tupp is a Swedish and Norwegian dialectal only word; Wessn (1985) links it to topp in the sense of "crest, tuft";

tvilling a formation with -ling to forms corresponding to ON tvennr "twofold" (Nielsen);

umbosmar from ON umbo "charge, commission" (< bja um "commit to one's charge") and corresponding forms in Old East Norse (Nielsen); English ombudsman is a 20th century loan from Swedish;

unna has former cognates in OE unnan, OS unnan, OHG unnan "grant, bestow", MDu onnen and Dutch gunnen "grant" (de Vries);

sll is the origin of ME usell "wretched, miserable" and northern dialect oozly "slovenly, miserable". Related are OE unsle "bad", OHG unsalig "unhappy, miserable", Gothic unsls "bad, poor".

vargr has direct cognates in OE wearg "wolf; outlaw", OS warag "criminal, bandit", OHG warg, as well as the verbs Gothic gawarjan "curse", OE wiergan (through umlaut) "condemn, abuse, curse", wyrgan "strangle" (> modern worry), Dutch worgen "strangle", and a number of others in older Low Germanic languages; it is now a uniquely Nordic word to denote wolf;

vatn is a Scandinavian and Gothic ("goto-nordisch") form (from Germanic *watan-, an -n stem noun relic from an earlier syncopated case form), corresponding to Gotic wat, as opposed to the formally deviating forms of the West Germanic languages (Wasser, water etc. from Germanic variant *watar-); Danish vand was ealier ODan. watn, wadn;

vndr both de Vries and Nielsen connect the root to ON v "woe, calamity" and perhaps a past participle from a verb formed from v "blame"; an alternative interpretation points to ON v "nook, corner" (Nielsen);

vzka is related to vtr "wet", cf. Swedish, Norwegian vt, Danish vd "damp, moist, wet" and OE wt, OFris wt "moist, wet".

jrr is probably an s- lacking cognate (Germanic *aura-) to OE stor "steer", Gothic stuir, OHG stior, German Stier, developed from Germanic *steura- and answering to Latin taurus "bull"(de Vries, Nielsen); stjri is found as a name for an ox in ON;

ordyn, thordyn correspond to the compounding of Old Norse elements rr "Thor" (but here referring to thunder) and dynr "din, noise, clattering". In ON and modern Icelandic, the standard terms for "thunder" are ryma and ruma/ruma, the latter standing in umlaut relation to rymr "din, roar, rumble", with cognates in Latin, Old Irish (de Vries) and OE (rymme "force, power, might" among other meanings) - rr < *unnar and dynr stem from the same source.

reyttr is a past participle to ON reyta "strive hard" (and corresponding verbs in Old East Norse) that has been made into a common adjective;

rll gives rise to modern English thrall, first appearing as OE rl. Related is OHG drigil "servant" (de Vries).

ungr has some relations in Old Slavonic and the Baltic languages but appears to be a unique form within Germanic (de Vries, Nielsen);

vtta stands in an uncertain relation to ON v "wash" (Icelandic vo, Nynorsk, Swedish tv, Danish (arch., literary) to "wash", OE wan, OS thwahan, MDu dwahen, OHG dwahan, MHG dwahen (de Vries). 

yngd and yngsl stand in umlaut relation to ungr "heavy".

rn cf. OE earn, MLG arn, MDu aern, OHG arn;

 

Addendum:

 

drka has a relation in OE deran, dersian honour, praise (de Vries).

drepa has cognates in MLG drepen, OHG treffan hit (German treffen meet), OE drepan beat, hit; slay (Nielsen).

f has cognates in Gothic/OHG fhan, MHG vhen, OE fn, MLG vn, OFris f (Nielsen, de Vries).

forellrar has cognate words in MLG voreldern, German Voreltern forefathers (Nielsen).

fr appears in ME as fr, fr and modern English to and fro (de Vries).

fr/frj appears in ME fri seed, descendant; roe, and modern English fry roe (de Vries). The word had a relation in Gothic fraiw (Nielsen).

gedda appears in ME as gedd(e) and modern English dialect as ged (de Vries).

ga has cognates in MHG geten make good, OFris gda, MDu vergoeden recompense, replace (Nielsen, de Vries).

hnn (and hn) de Vries reports Das Wort is nur in Nordgerm. bezeugt.

helvti is a loan from OE hellewte, OS helliwti punishment in the underworld (de Vries).

henda has relations in OE gehenden hold, OFris henda catch (de Vries).

hera etymology is uncertain but the word is ausschliesslich Skand. (de Vries).

hos is an unstressed form of hus "house". The word can be considered an East Norse development (Nielsen).

jtunn cf. OE eoten giant.

kasta modern English cast is loaned from Old Norse.

krefja cf. OE crafian demand (de Vries).

lgr is loaned into OE as lh, and appeared in ME as lh, lg, giving rise to modern English low. It had relations in OFris lch, MLG lge, MDu lage, laech, lege, leech (de Vries).

loinn has relations in Gothic liudan, OE lodan, OS liodan and OHG liotan grow (de Vries).

lknir has etymologically related near-equivalents in Gothic lkeis, OS lki, OHG lchi, OE lce leech; doctor, modern English leech. Leech has been replaced by doctor in English. Cf. also MHG lchenre; related is OHG lchin health, MHG lchene consultation; witchcraft. The root is ultimately a common Germanic word meaning conjurer, physician (Nielsen).

mki is based on a common Germanic word, *mwa meaning "shrieking bird", cf. Germanic *mwan "shriek, cry". The first element is ON mr "sea-mew". German Mwe and Dutch meeuw are related words, cf. OHG mwen "cry, scream". Cf. also Swedish, and dialectal Norwegian, ms(e), which comes from the same root (Katlev, Wessn).

mykr English muck is a loan from Scandinavian.

nbi shows related developments in OE neahgebr (modern neighbour), MLG nber, OHG nhgibr, except in the Nordic word the second element is Old Norse b dwelling, household, cf. OE b, German Bau, rather than farmer (Nielsen).

ok has relations in OS k, OHG ouh (German auch), OE ac also and OE ac but. It appears in ME as occ and (Nielsen, de Vries).

sem has relations in OE same, OS sama, samo and OHG sama as well (de Vries).

skei is loaned into OE as scg, scei (de Vries).

sk appears in ME as ske, giving rise to modern sky. OE sco cloud is related (de Vries).

steik modern English steak is a loan from Scandinavian and appears in ME as steik (de Vries).

vitna has a related word in OE gewitnian punish (de Vries).

erna modern English tern is a loanword from Scandinavian.

fa has relations in OE f deciduous tuft, fel bush, brush (de Vries).

yrnir cf. OE weak noun yrne thornbush (de Vries).

 

 

 

*Sources:

 

Barnhart, Robert, K.: Chambers Dictionary of English Etymology, Chambers Harrap Publishers, Edinburgh, 1999;

Bardal, J./Jrgensen, N./Larsen, G. & Martinussen, B.: Nordiska: Vra Sprk frr och nu, Studentlitteratur, Lund, 1997;
Bergman, Gsta: Kortfattad Svensk Sprkhistoria, Stockholm, 1970;

Bjorvand, Harald & Lindeman, Frederik Otto: Vre Arveord. Etymologisk Ordbok. Oslo: Novus Forlag, 2000.

Bvarsson, rni: slensk Orabk, Menningarsjur/Ml og Menning, Reykjavk, 1996;

Clark-Hall, J.R.: A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary, University of Toronto Press, London, 1991;

Collins English Dictionary (Millennium Edition), HarperCollins Publishers, Glasgow, 1998;

"Danish" by Hartmut Haberland. In: Knig, E. & van der Auwera, J. (eds.): The Germanic Languages. London: Routledge, 1994. pp.313-48;

Haugen, Einar: Die skandinavischen Sprachen. Eine Einfhrung in ihre Geschichte. Hamburg: Helmut Buske Verlag, 1984.

Haugen, Einar: The Scandinavian Languages: An Introduction to their History, Cambridge, Mass: Harvard U.P., 1976;
Haugen, Einar: Norsk-engelsk Ordbok, Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 1993;

Heggstad, Leiv, Hdneb, Finn & Simensen, Erik: Norrn Ordbok, Det Norske Samlaget, Oslo, 1997;

Hutterer, Claus Jrgen: Die germanischen Sprachen: Ihre Geschichte in Grundzgen. Budapest: Akademiai Kiad, 1975;

Karker, Allan: Politikens Sproghistorie. Udviklingslinjer fr nudansk, Politikens Forlag, rhus, 1996;

Katlev, Jan: Politikens Etymologisk Ordbog, Politikens Forlag, Kbenhavn, 2000;

"Old and Middle Scandinavian" by Jan Terje Faarlund. In: Knig, E. & van der Auwera, J. (eds.): The Germanic Languages. London: Routledge, 1994. pp.38-71;

Landr, M.I. & Wangensteen, B. (red.): Bokmlsordboka. Definisjons- og rettskrivningsordbok, Universitetsforlaget, Oslo, 1996;

Magnsson, Haraldur: slensk-dnsk Orabk, Ml og Menning, Reykjavk, 1997;

Nielsen, Niels ge: Dansk Etymologisk Ordbog, Kbenhavn: Gyldendal, 1989;

Norsteds stora svensk-engelska ordbok, Norstedts Frlag AB, Stockholm, 1993;

Serjeantson, M.S.: A History of Foreign Words in English, London, 1935; (ch.4 "The Scandinavian Element");

Skautrup, Peter: Det danske sprogs historie, 4 vols. Kbenhavn, 1944-70;

Skeat, Walter W.: English Dialects from the Eighth Century until the Present Day, Cambridge University Press, 1912;

The Oxford-Duden German Dictionary. German<>English. Oxford U.P. & Dudenverlag, 1994;

Thorsen, Per: An Inquiry into the Scandinavian Elements in the Modern English Dialects (part I of the series "Anglo-Norse Studies"), Amsterdam: N.V. Swets en Zeitlinger, 1936;
Torp, Arne: Nordisk sprk i nordisk og germansk perspektiv, Oslo: Novus Forlag, 1998;

Vinterberg, H. & Bodelsen, C.A.: Dansk-engelsk ordbog, (Gyldendals store rde ordbger), Gyldendals, Kbenhavn, 1990;

de Vries, Jan: Altnordisches Etymologisches Wrterbuch. Zweite verbesserte Auflage. Leiden: Brill, 2000;

Wessn, Elias: De nordiska sprken, 6:e uppl. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1960;

Wessn, Elias: Vra ord, deras uttal och ursprung, Esselte Studium, Uppsala, 1985;

Zoga, Geir T.: A Concise Dictionary of Old Icelandic, London: Oxford University Press, 1961.

 

Edward Sproston 2012

 

E-mail the author

 

Free Counter
Free Counter