List of English words of Old Norse origin

List Of English Words Of Old Norse Origin

List of English words of Old Norse origin

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Words of Old Norse origin that have entered the English language, primarily from the colonisation of eastern and northern England between 865–954 CE (see e.g. Danelaw). Old Norse (abbreviated in dictionaries as ON) existed in its spoken and written form from c. 100 CE, until its spread from Scandinavia to colonies as far west as Greenland and far east as Russia and the Baltic region (spoken by Swedish settlers).

The language diverged into West Norse (Norway, Faroe Islands, Iceland, and Greenland) and East Norse (Denmark and Sweden). With some minor regional variations in loan words, both West Norse and East Norse are essentially the same. The Vikings who raided and later settled in Great Britain came mainly from Norway and Denmark.

Note: this list is incomplete. Some of these words (such as "Ragnarök") are much later borrowings used to discuss Old Norse concepts.


ado: influenced by Norse "at" ("to", infinitive marker) which was used with English "do" in certain English dialects
  • á ("=in, on, to") + lopt ("=air, atmosphere, sky, heaven, upper floor, loft")
  • English provenance = c 1200 CE
  • angr ("=trouble, affliction"); root ang (="strait, straitened, troubled"); related to anga, plural öngur (="straits, anguish")
  • English provenance = c 1250 CE
  • agi......
  • ...

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