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Word Origins: Norse Mythology


Word Origins: Norse Mythology

Word Origins: Norse Mythology

Learning Objectives

In this lesson, you will focus on the following objective: Examining words from Norse myth.

Norse Mythology

Word Origins

Word origins, or etymology, is the history and development of words.


Word Origins

To determine the meaning of an unfamiliar word in a reading passage, break the word into its parts—root, prefix, and suffix. If you recognize the root, you can probably figure out what the word means.

Literature Connection

The angry, noisy Thor was the Norse god of thunder. The English word Thursday (“Thor’s day”) comes from his name.
“The god Thor always resented the disdainful way he had been treated by King Liki of Outgard.”

 —Brian Branston, from “The Stealing of Thor’s Hammer”

Tracing the word origins, or etymology, of this word explains how this Norse name entered our language. Modern English has its roots in the language of the Anglo-Saxons who lived in England in the early Middle Ages. Viking peoples from Denmark and other Scandinavian countries later invaded and settled in England. Terms from the Vikings’ Old Norse language and mythology, like Thor, were assimilated into English.

“The Stealing of Thor’s Hammer” offers other examples of terms from Norse myths that have entered the English language. In the attempt to retrieve his hammer, Thor disguises himself as the beautiful goddess Freya. What day of the week takes its name from hers?

This chart shows the Old Norse origins of some English words.

English Word Old Norse Word
geyser n. a spring that produces jets of water geysa v. to gush; to rush forward
score n. twenty; a group of twenty items; a record mark skor n. notch; twenty
snub v. to rebuke; to neglect or treat rudely snubba v. to curse

Word Origins: Norse Mythology Quiz

Select the English words below with the meanings of the words from their Norse origins. Use a dictionary if you need help.

Mr. ‏El-Sayed Ramadan ‎ ‎


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