The English Language

Borrowed Words From

73 Words Listed

Norse Language Notes

Norse is the extinct language of the Vikings (or Norsemen) from Scandinavia. It is an Indo-European language.

Many of the words are to do with warfare or fighting ("berserk", "club", "knife"). Some of the words from Norse look as if they should be part of the original English vocabulary ("they", "their", "take", "want"). Many words describe household, farming or family items ("husband", "plough", "window").

anger grief  
axle ox tree  
bait cause to bite  
berserk   The name of a warrior who fought with frenzied fury.
blunder stumble around blindly  
bore wave Tidal estuary wave.
bulk cargo  
by-law town law Used in the UK.
cast   As in 'cast off' from the shore in a boat.
club   Item used for hitting. One of many fighting words from Norse.
creek   Short arm of a river; inlet on sea coast.
dirt excrement Used in UK for something unclean; used in USA for the noun, 'soil'.
dregs   As in 'sediment'.
egg   As produced by females.
get obtain Past form is 'got' in UK, 'gotten' in USA.
gosling   Young goose.
haggle   A dispute about price.
hit meet with As in 'to strike an object'.
husband house owner  
knife   The original pronunciation was KNIFR.
lad male servant Used in UK for 'young boy' or 'youth'.
lathe   Machine used for shaping materials.
law from 'lagu', laid down  
litmus moss dye Dye that responds to acidity.
loose untrue  
mistake take wrongly  
muck dung  
mug   Viking drinking vessel.
oaf goblin  
odd   Something left over.
plough   Instrument for cutting furrows in land. Spelt 'plow' in USA.
raft   For floating on water.
ransack house seek To search a house thoroughly.
reindeer   Subarctic deer.
root   Part of a plant.
ruck pile UK slang for a fight; used in Rugby for a pile up of bodies.
rune magic sign An early European alphabet.
scarf   A type of wood joint. Many Norse words begin with SC- or SK-.
scrap   A small piece of something. The same root as 'scrape'.
seem honour  
skate   A type of fish.
skill distinction In the sense of expertise.
skin   Animal or human covering.
skirt shirt English words beginning with SH- are usually from the same root as Norse SK-.
sky cloud  
slaughter butcher's meat  
sleuth trail  
snub chide A rebuff.
steak roast on a spit  
stumble trip  
thrift   The same root as 'thrive'.
troll   Mythological Viking dwarf.
ugly to dread  
wand   Magician's stick.
want lacking  
weak pliant  
window wind eye  

[Borrowed Words (Norman French)] [Borrowed Words (Norwegian)]

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An Indo-European language spoken in Norway.

A short history of the world's most widespread language from its Anglo Saxon origins via Norman and Latin influences to Modern English.

The most widely studied family of languages and the family with the largest number of speakers. Languages include English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Russian, Greek, Hindi, Bengali; and the classical languages of Latin, Sanskrit, and Persian.

First names from the Norse language of the Vikings.