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Old Norse Online

Lesson 9

Todd B. Krause and Jonathan Slocum

Aesir and Vanir

The gods are divided into two major races or lineages, the Aesir and the Vanir. Reckoned among the Aesir are those gods best known from tellings and retellings of Norse myths. Chief among the Aesir is Odin, a divine father in much the same sense as Zeus or Jupiter. He is the god of poetic inspiration, mystery, and magic. He is invoked by warriors as their patron. He is married to the goddess Frigg, who knows men's fates. The god Thor is counted first among the sons of Odin. He is a warrior god and married to Sif. Bragi is another son of Odin, and also linked to poetic speech. He is married to the goddess Idunn, who keeps the apples of eternal youth. Odin's son Baldr, husband of Nanna, was killed by the blind god Hod. Tyr is also Odin's son, a god of war who lost his hand to the wolf Fenrir. Heimdall is the herald of the final battle, which brings destruction to the gods. His nemesis, Loki, is a fickle creature, part god, part demon. Loki married Sigyn, but produced with the giantess Angrboda three notorious offspring: the wolf Fenrir, the World Serpent Jormungand, and Hel, ruler of the other world.

The Vanir appear to be on equal footing with the Aesir. One of the Vanir, Njord, is god of seafaring, fishing and wealth. He married the contrariminded giantess Skadi. Njord begat the twins Freyr and Freyja, who were also lovers. Freyr married the giantess Gerd, and Freyja married Od. Both Freyr and Freyja are gods of fertility and produce.

Occupying a status somewhat beneath these two races are a number of other lesser deities: Hoenir, Kvasir, Gefjon, Vali, Vili, Ve, and Vidar, among others. Several types of supernatural creatures appear in Old Norse literature: dwarfs, elves, norns, trolls, witches, valkyries. Chief among such creatures are the jǫtnar, a term usually translated as 'giants', but whose physical features are variable enough that the term only loosely applies. These 'giants' are the age-old rivals of the gods, and many stories tell of the conflict between the races.

Odin and Thor

Odin figures prominently in Norse mythology. The roles, however, in which he is found are so numerous and varied that any attemps to specify Odin as god of one or two specifc subjects or areas are generally impossible or impractical, and basically fundamentally misguided. A survey of some examples from Odin's host of epithets shows how fluid and changing Norse conceptions of the gods could be. Notable epithets are Alfǫðr (All-father), Valfǫðr (Father of the Slain), Hangaguð (God of the Hanged), Haptaguð (God of Captives), Farmaguð (God of Cargoes). These are but a small fraction of a much larger collection. A list found in Grímnismál includes Hnikarr (Inflamer), Bileygr (Weak-eyed), Báleygr (Fiery-eyed), Bǫlverkr (Evil-doer), Síðhǫttr (Long-hood), Sigfǫðr (Father of Victory), Blindi (the Blind One), Gǫndlir (the One with the Magic Staff), Jálkr (Gelding), Kjalarr (Feeder), Viðurr (Destroyer), Yggr (Terror), Váfuðr (Wind), Veratýr (God of Men). Each of these presumably captures some characteristic or mythological exploit ascribed to Odin, and shows the malleable nature of the Norse belief system. Another common epithet, Grímr (the Masked One), along with Síðhǫttr above, probably describes Odin's propensity for traveling in disguise. The appellation Hár is alternately translated as 'the High One' or 'the Blind One', depending on the etymology chosen. The references to blindness speak of the eye Odin gave in exchange for a drink from the wisdom-giving well Mimisbrunn.

Lest the panoply of epithets leave the impression that Odin is pure enigma, a few of his more dominant characteristics may be pointed out. First and foremost, Odin is the patron of poets and kings, as well as warriors and those involved in magic. His patronage, however, is tinged with treachery and deceit. In some stories Odin will spur a faithful warrior to victory, only to see that he is cut down later to join Odin in Valhalla. His willingness to deceive is underscored by his use of disguises and false names, and his shape-changing ability. This underhandedness is countered by a constant devotion to knowledge, sacrificing himself on a tree for wisdom, and trading an eye for a draught from the well of knowledge. Odin questions the wise, makes the dead talk, and sends the ravens Hugin and Munin to all corners of the earth in search of news.

Thor, by contrast, is a straighforward warrior. He constantly battles the enemies of the gods. Thor carries three monikers of his warrior status: the hammer Mjollnir, a belt of strength, and iron gloves. Thor is unrivalled in strength among the gods. He is also renowned for his drinking prowess. Many of Thor's exploits center on his struggles with the jǫtnar, arch-rivals of the gods. He fought the giant Hrungnir, whose head and heart were stone. When Hrungnir threw his whetstone at Thor, he responed by casting Mjollnir, which split the whetstone in two. The hammer continued through and crushed Hrungnir's skull, killing him, but one piece of the whetstone struck Thor and lodged itself in his head. Thor also battled Jormungand, the World Serpent, a struggle which is depicted in many Viking Age carvings.

Curiously, Thor is the only god mentioned in memorial inscriptions. Sources say he commands the air, thunder and lightning, winds and rains, fair weather, and crops. He more than any other is taken as a personal god, and his name is found as part of many personal names: Þorsteinn, Þorfinnr, Þorgerðr, Þorgunnr. In a temple at Uppsala Thor's statue was placed between Odin and Freyr, signalling his prominence in that region over the other gods.

Baldr and Loki

Baldr and Loki have an intertwined history according to mythological tradition. Baldr is very much the pride of the gods, foremost in countenance, eloquence and grace. Little definite is known about him. Loki, by contrast, is a mischievous character, full of spite and an incessant troublemaker. Though his impetuous actions often get the gods into severe trouble, Loki's wit and cunning are just as often what save the gods from defeat.

One story tells of a dream Baldr has presaging his death. When his dream becomes known to the other gods, this begins the causal paradox which leads to his ultimate demise. In the effort to save Baldr from misfortune, Frigg is enlisted to obtain oaths from all creatures that they should not harm Baldr. This done, the gods soon take to sporting with Baldr, hurling all sorts of weapons at him, confident they will have no effect. When Loki learns of the oaths, he disguises himself and asks Frigg if anything has yet to swear an oath. She replies that the mistletoe seemed too young to be asked. Loki then takes a shaft of mistletoe and tricks the blind god Hod to shoot it at his brother Baldr, who is promptly killed. The hero Hermod eventually rides to the other world, securing permission from Hel for Baldr to return from the dead, on one condition: that every creature weep for him. All creatures do this, save one hard-hearted giantess, presumably Loki in disguise. Eventually the angry gods capture Loki and chain him to rocks, with a snake dripping poison from above. Loki's destined escape will signal final doom for the gods.

Reading and Textual Analysis

The following is from the Vǫluspá 'Prophecy of the Seeress', first poem of the Poetic Edda as found in the Codex Regius. Though the manuscript dates from the 1270s, most scholars agree that the poem itself was composed some time in the late 900s. The poem is a cosmogony, though at times cryptic and vague. It begins at the behest of Odin (here called Valfǫðr), who asked the prophetess to tell of the beginning as far back as she can remember. She begins with the creation of the earth, then of time. The gods reside in peace until the arrival of three giantesses. Dwarfs are mentioned, then the creation of man, then the fates. A woman of magic comes to the gods and spurs a war between the Aesir and Vanir. When peace comes, a giant offers to rebuild Asgard in exchange for the sun, moon, and Freyja. The poem goes on at length, eventually turning to events of the future, including Ragnarok, the Doom of the Gods, at which time Baldr will return from the other world.

1 - Hlióðs bið ec allar helgar kindir,
        meiri oc minni, mǫgo Heimdalar;
        vildo, at ec, Valfǫðr, vel fyrtelia
        forn spioll fira, þau er fremst um man.

  • hlióðs -- noun, neuter; genitive singular of <hljóð> silence, hearing -- for audience
  • bið -- verb; 1st singular present of <biðja> ask; beg; pray; bid -- bid
  • ec -- pronoun; nominative singular of <ek> I -- I
  • allar -- adjective; accusative plural feminine of <allr> all, whole; every -- (you) all
  • helgar -- adjective; weak accusative plural feminine of <heilagr> holy, sacred -- hallowed
  • kindir -- noun, feminine; accusative plural of <kind> kind, child; baby; offspring, progeny, family, kin -- beings
  • meiri -- comparative adjective; accusative plural feminine of <meiri> more, bigger -- great
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • minni -- comparative adjective; accusative plural feminine of <minni> less -- small
  • mǫgo -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <mǫgr> boy, son; (pl.) kindred -- kin
  • Heimdalar -- proper noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Heimdallr> Heimdall, World-radiance -- of Heimdall
  • vildo -- verb; 2nd singular present of <vilja> will, wish, be willing; intend + pronoun; nominative singular of <þú> thou, you -- you... desire
  • at -- conjunction; <at> that -- that
  • ec -- pronoun; nominative singular of <ek> I -- I
  • Valfǫðr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Valfǫðr> Valfothr, Father of the Slain, Odin -- Valfothr
  • vel -- adverb; <vel> well, readily, easily -- well
  • fyrtelia -- verb; infinitive of <fyrtelia (-talða)> recount, recite -- recount
  • forn -- adjective; accusative plural neuter of <forn> old, ancient -- the old
  • spioll -- noun, neuter; accusative plural of <spiall> spell, words, tiding; (pl.) tale -- tales
  • fira -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <firar> (pl.) men, people -- of men
  • þau -- demonstrative used as pronoun; accusative plural neuter of <> that -- which
  • er -- relative particle; <er> who, which; when -- ...
  • fremst -- adjective; accusative plural neuter of superlative of <framr> facing forwards, standing in front; outstanding, excellent; (superl.) farthest back in time, earliest -- first
  • um -- preposition; <um> over, across; through, throughout; round, about; concerning -- ...
  • man -- verb; 1st singular present of <muna> remember -- I... remember

2 - Ec man iotna, ár um borna,
        þá er forðom mic fœdda hǫfðo;
        nío man ec heima, nío íviðior,
        miotvið mœran fyr mold neðan.

  • ec -- pronoun; nominative singular of <ek> I -- I
  • man -- verb; 1st singular present of <muna> remember -- recall
  • iotna -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <iǫtunn> giant -- the giants
  • ár -- adverb; <ár> early, in the early morning; of yore, long ago -- ago
  • um -- preposition; <um> over, across; through, throughout; round, about; concerning -- long
  • borna -- past participle; accusative plural masculine of <bera> bear, bring, carry; wear; give birth to; overcome; endure; bear (witness) -- born
  • þá -- demonstrative used as pronoun; accusative plural masculine of <> that -- who
  • er -- relative particle; <er> who, which; when -- ...
  • forðom -- adverb; <forðum> formerly, some time ago -- ages prior
  • mic -- pronoun; accusative singular of <ek> I -- me
  • fœdda -- past participle; accusative singular feminine of <fœða (dd)> feed; nurse; rear, bring up -- fed
  • hǫfðo -- verb; 3rd plural past of <hafa (ð)> have, keep; hold; accept -- had
  • nío -- numeral; indeclinable of <nío> nine -- nine
  • man -- verb; 1st singular present of <muna> remember -- recall
  • ec -- pronoun; nominative singular of <ek> I -- I
  • heima -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <heimr> region; world -- regions
  • nío -- numeral; indeclinable of <nío> nine -- nine
  • íviðior -- noun, feminine; accusative plural of <íviðia> 'she who dwells in the wood', witch, giantess -- giantesses # There are variant readings: íviðiur, acc. pl. fem. of íviðia; or íviði, acc. pl. masc. of íviðir (pl.) 'innerwood, ribs, rafters, supports', which might here refer to the roots of the world ash.
  • miotvið -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <miǫtviðr> 'measure-tree', well-proportioned tree; tree which measures extent or limits of the world, tree which metes out fate -- measure-tree
  • mœran -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <mærr> famous -- the famous
  • fyr -- preposition; <fyrir> before, in front of; against; because of, for -- ...
  • mold -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <mold> soil, earth (as substance) -- the soil
  • neðan -- adverb; <neðan> from below or beneath, underneath -- beneath

3 - Ár var alda, þat er Ymir bygði,
        vara sandr né sær né svalar unnir;
        iorð fannz æva né upphiminn,
        gap var ginnunga, enn gras hvergi.

  • ár -- adverb; <ár> early, in the early morning; of yore, long ago -- early
  • var -- verb; 3rd singular past of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- it was
  • alda -- noun, feminine; genitive plural of <ǫld> age; mankind, humanity, world; (pl.) men, human beings -- in time
  • þat -- demonstrative used as pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <> that -- when
  • er -- relative particle; <er> who, which; when -- ...
  • Ymir -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Ymir> Ymir, a giant -- Ymir
  • bygði -- verb; 3rd singular past of <byggja (gð)> dwell, settle; build, inhabit -- settled
  • vara -- verb; 3rd singular past of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen + enclitic adverb; <a> not -- there was no
  • sandr -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <sandr> sand; beach, shore -- sand
  • -- adverb; <> not; nor -- nor
  • sær -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <sær (sævar)> sea, inlet of the sea; lake -- sea
  • -- adverb; <> not; nor -- nor
  • svalar -- adjective; nominative plural feminine of <svalr> cool, cold -- cold
  • unnir -- noun, feminine; nominative plural of <uðr> wave -- waves
  • iorð -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <jǫrð> earth, world; ground, soil -- earth
  • fannz -- verb; 3rd singular past middle of <finna> find, meet; discover; notice; invent -- was to be found
  • æva -- adverb; <æva> never; not at all -- no
  • -- adverb; <> not; nor -- nor
  • upphiminn -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <uphiminn> 'upper heaven', the heavens or sky above -- heavens above
  • gap -- noun, neuter; nominative singular of <gap> gap, gaping, chasm -- a chasm
  • var -- verb; 3rd singular past of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- there was
  • ginnunga -- noun, feminine; genitive plural of <ginnung> mighty space, abyss, void -- of void
  • enn -- adverb; <enn> still; also; yet; further; again; moreover; even -- still
  • gras -- noun, neuter; nominative singular of <gras> grass, pasture; vegetation -- grass
  • hvergi -- adverb; <hvergi> nowhere; not at all -- nowhere

4 - Áðr Burs synir bioðom um ypþo,
        þeir er miðgarð, mœran, scópo;
        sól scein sunnan á salar steina,
        þá var grund gróin grœnom lauki.

  • áðr -- adverb; <áðr> before, first; until -- first
  • Burs -- proper noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Burr> Bur, Odin's father -- of Bur
  • synir -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <sonr> son -- the sons
  • bioðom -- noun, feminine; dative plural of <biǫð> land -- the earth
  • um -- preposition; <um> over, across; through, throughout; round, about; concerning -- ...
  • ypþo -- verb; 3rd plural past of <yppa (pð)> lift, raise -- raised
  • þeir -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative plural masculine of <> that -- the ones
  • er -- relative particle; <er> who, which; when -- who
  • miðgarð -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <miðgarðr> Midgard, Middle-enclosure, the world of men -- midgard
  • mœran -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <mærr> famous -- the great
  • scópo -- verb; 3rd plural past of <skepia (skóp, skapða)> make, create; pronounce, impose, decree -- shaped
  • sól -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <sól> sun -- the sun
  • scein -- verb; 3rd singular past of <skína> shine, gleam -- shone
  • sunnan -- adverb; <sunnan> from the south -- from the south
  • á -- preposition; <á> on, upon; at, in; to, towards; by means of; during; in the manner of -- along
  • salar -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <salr> ground; hall; (pl.) a complex dwelling -- the ground's
  • steina -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <steinn> stone, rock -- stones
  • þá -- adverb; <þá> then -- then
  • var -- verb; 3rd singular past of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- was
  • grund -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <grund> ground, bottom; broad surface; surface of the earth, earth -- the soil
  • gróin -- past participle; nominative singular feminine of <gróa> grow -- overgrown
  • grœnom -- adjective; dative singular masculine of <grœnn> green -- with green
  • lauki -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <laukr> leek; (general) plant -- plants

5 - Sól varp sunnan, sinni mána,
        hendi inni hœgri um himinioður;
        sól þat né vissi, hvar hon sali átti,
        stiornor þat né visso, hvar þær staði átto,
        máni þat né vissi, hvat hann megins átti.

  • sól -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <sól> sun -- the sun
  • varp -- verb; 3rd singular past of <verpa> throw, cast -- cast
  • sunnan -- adverb; <sunnan> from the south -- from the south
  • sinni -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <sinni> companion -- companion
  • mána -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <máni> moon -- the moon's
  • hendi -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <hǫnd> hand, arm and hand; side, part -- hand
  • inni -- definite article; dative singular feminine of <inn> the -- its
  • hœgri -- adjective; dative singular feminine of comparative of <hœgr> comfortable; suitable, expedient; docile, affable; skilful, agile -- right # hǫnd in hœgri 'the more comfortable, skilful hand', i.e. 'the right hand'
  • um -- preposition; <um> over, across; through, throughout; round, about; concerning -- round
  • himinioður -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <himinioðurr> rim of heaven, horizon or precinct of heaven, sky -- heaven's rim
  • sól -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <sól> sun -- the sun
  • þat -- demonstrative used as pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <> that -- ...
  • -- adverb; <> not; nor -- not
  • vissi -- verb; 3rd singular past of <vita (ssi)> know, be aware of; understand; know how (to); know of; find out -- knew
  • hvar -- adverb; <hvar> where; everywhere -- where
  • hon -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <hann> this one -- she
  • sali -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <salr> ground; hall; (pl.) a complex dwelling -- lodging
  • átti -- verb; 3rd singular past of <eiga> own, have, possess; have in marriage; have the power to; have claim to; have duty to -- held
  • stiornor -- noun, feminine; nominative plural of <stiarna> star -- the stars
  • þat -- demonstrative used as pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <> that -- ...
  • -- adverb; <> not; nor -- not
  • visso -- verb; 3rd plural past of <vita (ssi)> know, be aware of; understand; know how (to); know of; find out -- knew
  • hvar -- adverb; <hvar> where; everywhere -- where
  • þær -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative plural feminine of <> that -- they
  • staði -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <staðr> place, spot, dwelling; part; way, respect -- dwellings
  • átto -- verb; 3rd plural past of <eiga> own, have, possess; have in marriage; have the power to; have claim to; have duty to -- had
  • máni -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <máni> moon -- the moon
  • þat -- demonstrative used as pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <> that -- ...
  • -- adverb; <> not; nor -- not
  • vissi -- verb; 3rd singular past of <vita (ssi)> know, be aware of; understand; know how (to); know of; find out -- knew
  • hvat -- pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <hverr> who, which, what; each, every -- what (deal)
  • hann -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <hann> this one -- he
  • megins -- noun, neuter; genitive singular of <megin> main, strength; supernatural strength -- of strength
  • átti -- verb; 3rd singular past of <eiga> own, have, possess; have in marriage; have the power to; have claim to; have duty to -- had

6 - Þá gengo regin ǫll á rǫcstóla,
        ginnheilog goð, oc um þat gættuz:
        nótt oc niðiom nǫfn um gáfo,
        morgin héto oc miðian dag,
        undorn oc aptan, árom at telia.

  • þá -- adverb; <þá> then -- then
  • gengo -- verb; 3rd plural past of <ganga> go, walk; advance; take place; extend; go on, last; turn out -- went
  • regin -- noun, neuter; nominative plural of <regin> (pl.) powers, rulers, gods -- the powers
  • ǫll -- adjective; nominative plural neuter of <allr> all, whole; every -- all
  • á -- preposition; <á> on, upon; at, in; to, towards; by means of; during; in the manner of -- to
  • rǫcstóla -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <rǫcstóll> judgement or council seat -- the seats of judgement
  • ginnheilog -- adjective; nominative plural neuter of <ginnheilagr> most holy, sacred -- sacred
  • goð -- noun, neuter; nominative plural of <guð> god -- gods
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • um -- preposition; <um> over, across; through, throughout; round, about; concerning -- on
  • þat -- demonstrative used as pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <> that -- that
  • gættuz -- verb; 3rd plural past middle of <gæta (tt)> attend to, tend, guard, watch over; keep watch -- deliberated
  • nótt -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <nótt> night -- to night
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • niðiom -- noun, neuter; dative plural of <nið> waning moon -- the moon's phases
  • nǫfn -- noun, neuter; accusative plural of <nafn> name -- names
  • um -- preposition; <um> over, across; through, throughout; round, about; concerning -- ...
  • gáfo -- verb; 3rd plural past of <gefa> give; give in marriage; (impers.) be obtainable -- they gave
  • morgin -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <morginn> morning -- morning
  • héto -- verb; 3rd plural past of <heita> to call, name; promise; be called, be named -- they named
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • miðian -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <miðr> middle, the middle of -- mid
  • dag -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <dagr> day -- day
  • undorn -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <undorn> the time before or after the midday meal -- afternoon
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • aptan -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <aptann> evening -- evening
  • árom -- noun, neuter; dative plural of <ár> year; (good) season -- the years
  • at -- preposition; <at> to, towards, against; at, in; from; according to; regarding; concerning; after -- to
  • telia -- verb; infinitive of <telja (talða)> reckon, count; trace; number, enumerate; recount; declare -- count out

7 - Hittuz æsir á Iðavelli,
        þeir er hǫrg oc hof há timbroðo;
        afla lǫgðo, auð smíðoðo,
        tangir scópo oc tól gorðo.

  • hittuz -- verb; 3rd plural past middle of <hitta (tt)> hit upon; find, meet -- met
  • æsir -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <áss> god -- the Aesir
  • á -- preposition; <á> on, upon; at, in; to, towards; by means of; during; in the manner of -- in
  • Iðavelli -- proper noun, masculine; dative singular of <Iðavǫllr> Ithavale -- Ithavale
  • þeir -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative plural masculine of <> that -- they
  • er -- relative particle; <er> who, which; when -- where
  • hǫrg -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <hǫrgr> outdoor sanctuary, (stone) altar, temple -- sanctuary
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • hof -- noun, neuter; accusative plural of <hof> farm, farmstead; temple -- houses
  • -- adjective; accusative plural neuter of <hár> tall, high; loud -- high
  • timbroðo -- verb; 3rd plural past of <timbra (að)> timber, build, construct -- constructed
  • afla -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <afl> hearth, fireplace or chimney of a forge -- hearths
  • lǫgðo -- verb; 3rd plural past of <leggja> lay, place, put; put down, lay down; move, bring; thrust, throw; make; give -- set
  • auð -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <auðr> wealth, riches, treasure; precious objects -- treasures
  • smíðoðo -- verb; 3rd plural past of <smíða (að)> forge, make, build -- forged
  • tangir -- noun, feminine; accusative plural of <tǫng> tong -- tongs
  • scópo -- verb; 3rd plural past of <skepia (skóp, skapða)> make, create; pronounce, impose, decree -- shaped
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • tól -- noun, neuter; accusative plural of <tól> tool -- tools
  • gorðo -- verb; 3rd plural past of <gøra> make, build; write, compose -- fashioned

8 - Teflðo í túni, teitir vóro,
        var þeim vættergis vant ór gulli,
        unz þriár qvómo þursa meyiar,
        ámátcar mioc, ór iotunheimom.

  • teflðo -- verb; 3rd plural past of <tefla (lð)> play at 'tables', play board games -- they played tables
  • í -- preposition; <í> in, within; among; during; into, onto -- on
  • túni -- noun, neuter; dative singular of <tún> courtyard, (enclosed) field; home meadow; (pl.) farmstead; abode -- the stead
  • teitir -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <teitr> cheerful, merry; frolicsome -- merry
  • vóro -- verb; 3rd plural past of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- were
  • var -- verb; 3rd singular past of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- had
  • þeim -- demonstrative used as pronoun; dative plural neuter of <> that -- they
  • vættergis -- pronoun; genitive singular neuter of <vætki> no one; not a whit, nothing -- no... of anything
  • vant -- adjective used as substantive; nominative singular neuter of <vanr> wanting, lacking (in), without -- lack
  • ór -- preposition; <ór> out of, from; of; with the material of -- ...
  • gulli -- noun, neuter; dative singular of <gull> gold -- golden
  • unz -- conjunction; <unz> until -- until
  • þriár -- numeral adjective; nominative plural feminine of <þrír> three -- three of
  • qvómo -- verb; 3rd plural past of <koma> come, arrive; reach; obtain; occur -- came
  • þursa -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <þurs> giant -- the giants'
  • meyiar -- noun, feminine; nominative plural of <mær> maiden -- maids
  • ámátcar -- adjective; nominative plural feminine of <ámáttugr> tremendously or overwhelmingly powerful; fearsome; loathesome -- powerful
  • mioc -- adverb; <mjǫk> much; very -- quite
  • ór -- preposition; <ór> out of, from; of; with the material of -- from
  • iotunheimom -- noun, masculine; dative plural of <iǫtunheimr> realm of the giants -- giantland

9 - Þá gengo regin ǫll á rǫcstóla,
        ginnheilog goð, oc um þat gættuz,
        hverr scyldi dverga dróttin scepia,
        ór Brimis blóði oc ór Bláins leggiom.

  • þá -- adverb; <þá> then -- then
  • gengo -- verb; 3rd plural past of <ganga> go, walk; advance; take place; extend; go on, last; turn out -- went
  • regin -- noun, neuter; nominative plural of <regin> (pl.) powers, rulers, gods -- the powers
  • ǫll -- adjective; nominative plural neuter of <allr> all, whole; every -- all
  • á -- preposition; <á> on, upon; at, in; to, towards; by means of; during; in the manner of -- to
  • rǫcstóla -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <rǫcstóll> judgement or council seat -- the seats of judgement
  • ginnheilog -- adjective; nominative plural neuter of <ginnheilagr> most holy, sacred -- sacred
  • goð -- noun, neuter; nominative plural of <guð> god -- gods
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • um -- preposition; <um> over, across; through, throughout; round, about; concerning -- on
  • þat -- demonstrative used as pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <> that -- that
  • gættuz -- verb; 3rd plural past middle of <gæta (tt)> attend to, tend, guard, watch over; keep watch -- deliberated
  • hverr -- pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <hverr> who, which, what; each, every -- who
  • scyldi -- verb; 3rd singular past subjunctive of <skulu> shall, must, ought -- should
  • dverga -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <dvergr> dwarf -- the dwarfs'
  • dróttin -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <dróttinn> leader of the host, lord -- lord
  • scepia -- verb; infinitive of <skepia (skóp, skapða)> make, create; pronounce, impose, decree -- fashion
  • ór -- preposition; <ór> out of, from; of; with the material of -- from
  • Brimis -- proper noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Brimir> sword; (name of a sword); (name of a giant) -- Brimir's
  • blóði -- noun, neuter; dative singular of <blóð> blood -- blood
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • ór -- preposition; <ór> out of, from; of; with the material of -- from
  • Bláins -- proper noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Bláinn> Blain -- Blain's
  • leggiom -- noun, masculine; dative plural of <leggr> hollow bone (of arms and legs); leg -- limbs

10 - Þar var Mótsognir mæztr um orðinn
        dverga allra, enn Durinn annarr;
        þeir manlícon mǫrg um gorðo,
        dvergar, ór iorðo, sem Durinn sagði.

  • þar -- adverb; <þar> there, in that place -- there
  • var -- verb; 3rd singular past of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- ...
  • Mótsognir -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Mótsognir> Motsognir -- Motsognir
  • mæztr -- superlative adjective; nominative singular masculine of <mestr> most, greatest -- the greatest
  • um -- preposition; <um> over, across; through, throughout; round, about; concerning -- ...
  • orðinn -- past participle; nominative singular masculine of <verða> happen, come to pass; befall; chance to be; become -- became
  • dverga -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <dvergr> dwarf -- the dwarfs
  • allra -- adjective; genitive plural masculine of <allr> all, whole; every -- of all
  • enn -- adverb; <enn> still; also; yet; further; again; moreover; even -- and
  • Durinn -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Durinn> Durin -- Durin
  • annarr -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <annarr> other, another; second, next; one (of two) -- second
  • þeir -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative plural masculine of <> that -- they
  • manlícon -- noun, neuter; accusative plural of <manlíkan> human likeness or form, being in human shape -- human form
  • mǫrg -- adjective; accusative plural neuter of <margr> many (a) -- many a
  • um -- preposition; <um> over, across; through, throughout; round, about; concerning -- ...
  • gorðo -- verb; 3rd plural past of <gøra> make, build; write, compose -- fashioned
  • dvergar -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <dvergr> dwarf -- those dwarfs
  • ór -- preposition; <ór> out of, from; of; with the material of -- from
  • iorðo -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <jǫrð> earth, world; ground, soil -- the earth
  • sem -- relative particle; <sem> as; as if, that; while; when; where -- as
  • Durinn -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Durinn> Durin -- Durin
  • sagði -- verb; 3rd singular past of <segja> say, speak; tell, tell of; relate -- said

11 - Nýi oc Niði, Norðri oc Suðri,
        Austri oc Vestri, Alþiófr, Dvalinn,
        Bívǫrr, Bávǫrr, Bǫmburr, Nóri,
        Án oc Ánarr, Ái, Miǫðvitnir.

  • Nýi -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Nýi> Nyi, New-moon -- New-moon
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • Niði -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Niði> Nithi, Waned-moon -- Waned-moon
  • Norðri -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Norðri> North -- North
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • Suðri -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Suðri> South -- South
  • Austri -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Austri> East -- East
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • Vestri -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Vestri> West -- West
  • Alþiófr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Alþiófr> Althjof, Great-thief -- Great-thief
  • Dvalinn -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Dvalinn> Dvalin, Delayer -- Delayer
  • Bívǫrr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Bívǫrr> Bivor -- Bivor
  • Bávǫrr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Bávǫrr> Bavor -- Bavor
  • Bǫmburr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Bǫmburr> Bombur -- Bombur
  • Nóri -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Nóri> Nori -- Nori
  • Án -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Án> An -- An
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • Ánarr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Ánarr> Anar -- Anar
  • Ái -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Ái> Ai, Great-grandfather -- Great-grandfather
  • Miǫðvitnir -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Miǫðvitnir> Mjothvitnir, Mead-wolf -- Mead-wolf

12 - Veigr oc Gandálfr, Vindálfr, Þráinn,
        Þeccr oc Þorinn, Þrór, Vitr oc Litr,
        Már oc Nýráðr -- nú hefi ec dverga
        -- Reginn oc Ráðsviðr -- rétt um talða.

  • Veigr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Veigr> Veig, Liquor -- Liquor
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • Gandálfr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Gandálfr> Gandalf, Staff-elf -- Staff-elf
  • Vindálfr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Vindálfr> Vindalf, Wind-elf -- Wind-elf
  • Þráinn -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Þráinn> Thrain -- Thrain
  • Þeccr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Þeccr> Thekk, Known -- Known
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • Þorinn -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Þorinn> Thorin -- Thorin
  • Þrór -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Þrór> Thror -- Thror
  • Vitr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Vitr> Vit, Color -- Color
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • Litr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Litr> Lit, Wise -- Wise
  • Már -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Már> Mar, Corpse -- Corpse
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • Nýráðr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Nýráðr> Nyrath, New-counsel -- New-counsel
  • -- adverb; <> now -- now
  • hefi -- verb; 1st singular present of <hafa (ð)> have, keep; hold; accept -- have
  • ec -- pronoun; nominative singular of <ek> I -- I
  • dverga -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <dvergr> dwarf -- the dwarfs
  • Reginn -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Reginn> Regin -- Regin
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • Ráðsviðr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Ráðsviðr> Rathsvith, Counsel-sharp -- Counsel-sharp
  • rétt -- adjective used as substantive; accusative singular neuter of <réttr> right, correct; just, fair; unswerving; direct -- rightly
  • um -- preposition; <um> over, across; through, throughout; round, about; concerning -- ...
  • talða -- past participle; accusative plural masculine of <telja (talða)> reckon, count; trace; number, enumerate; recount; declare -- reckoned

13 - Fíli, Kíli, Fundinn, Náli,
        Hepti, Víli, Hánarr, Svíurr,
        Frár, Hornbori, Frægr oc Lóni,
        Aurvangr, Iari, Eikinscialdi.

  • Fíli -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Fíli> Fili -- Fili
  • Kíli -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Kíli> Kili -- Kili
  • Fundinn -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Fundinn> Fundin, Foundling -- Foundling
  • Náli -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Náli> Nali -- Nali
  • Hepti -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Hepti> Hepti, Haft -- Haft
  • Víli -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Víli> Vili -- Vili
  • Hánarr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Hánarr> Hanar -- Hanar
  • Svíurr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Svíurr> Sviur -- Sviur
  • Frár -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Frár> Frar -- Frar
  • Hornbori -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Hornbori> Hornbori -- Hornbori
  • Frægr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Frægr> Fraeg -- Fraeg
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • Lóni -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Lóni> Loni, Sea-pool -- Sea-pool
  • Aurvangr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Aurvangr> Aurvang, Mudfield -- Mudfield
  • Iari -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Iari> Iari -- Iari
  • Eikinscialdi -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Eikinskialdi> Eikinskjald, Oakenshield -- Oakenshield

14 - Mál er, dverga í Dvalins liði
        lióna kindom til Lofars telia,
        þeir er sótto frá salar steini
        aurvanga siǫt til Iorovalla.

  • mál -- noun, neuter; nominative singular of <mál> speech, tale; information; period of time -- time
  • er -- verb; 3rd singular present of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- it is
  • dverga -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <dvergr> dwarf -- the dwarfs
  • í -- preposition; <í> in, within; among; during; into, onto -- in
  • Dvalins -- proper noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Dvalinn> Dvalin, Delayer -- Dvalin's
  • liði -- noun, neuter; dative singular of <lið> people; band, host; troops; herd; help, aid -- line
  • lióna -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <liónar> (pl.) people -- the lineages
  • kindom -- noun, feminine; dative plural of <kind> kind, child; baby; offspring, progeny, family, kin -- in families
  • til -- preposition; <til> in; of, concerning; on; as, for, to obtain; until, to, up to the time -- up to
  • Lofars -- proper noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Lofarr> Lofar -- Lofar
  • telia -- verb; infinitive of <telja (talða)> reckon, count; trace; number, enumerate; recount; declare -- to tally
  • þeir -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative plural masculine of <> that -- those
  • er -- relative particle; <er> who, which; when -- who
  • sótto -- verb; 3rd plural past of <sœkja> seek, go to fetch; visit; proceed -- sought
  • frá -- preposition; <frá> from; concerning -- from
  • salar -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <salr> ground; hall; (pl.) a complex dwelling -- the hall's
  • steini -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <steinn> stone, rock -- stone
  • aurvanga -- noun, masculine plural; genitive of <aurvangar> damp or muddy fields -- of muddy fields # Sometimes taken as the name Aurvangr above, though the ending presumably shows a change from strong to weak declension.
  • siǫt -- noun, neuter; accusative plural of <set> seat; raised floor along the sides of a hall -- the seats
  • til -- preposition; <til> in; of, concerning; on; as, for, to obtain; until, to, up to the time -- at
  • iorovalla -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <iǫrovǫllr> stony or gravelly field; Stonyvales -- stonyvales

15 - Þar var Draupnir oc Dólgþrasir,
        Hár, Haugspori, Hlévangr, Glói,
        Scirvir, Virvir, Scáfiðr, Ái,

  • þar -- adverb; <þar> there, in that place -- there
  • var -- verb; 3rd singular past of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- was
  • Draupnir -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Draupnir> Draupnir -- Draupnir
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • Dólgþrasir -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Dólgþrasir> Dolgthrasir -- Dolgthrasir
  • Hár -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Hár> Har, Greyhair -- Greyhair
  • Haugspori -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Haugspori> Haugspori, Mound-river -- Mound-river
  • Hlévangr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Hlévangr> Hlevang, Lee-plain -- Lee-plain
  • Glói -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Glói> Gloi, Glow -- Glow
  • Scirvir -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Skirvir> Skirvir -- Skirvir
  • Virvir -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Virvir> Virvir -- Virvir
  • Scáfiðr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Skáfiðr> Skafith -- Skafith
  • Ái -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Ái> Ai, Great-grandfather -- Great-grandfather

16 - Álfr oc Yngvi, Eikinscialdi,
        Fialarr oc Frosti, Finnr oc Ginnarr;
        þat mun uppi, meðan ǫld lifir,
        langniðia tal Lofars hafat.

  • Álfr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Álfr> Alf, Elf -- Elf
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • Yngvi -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Yngvi> Yngvi -- Yngvi
  • Eikinscialdi -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Eikinskialdi> Eikinskjald, Oakenshield -- Oakenshield
  • Fialarr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Fjalarr> Fjalar -- Fjalar
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • Frosti -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Frosti> Frosti, Frosty -- Frosty
  • Finnr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Finnr> Finn -- Finn
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • Ginnarr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Ginnarr> Ginnar, Betrayer -- Betrayer
  • þat -- demonstrative used as pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <> that -- that
  • mun -- verb; 3rd singular present of <munu> will, be about to; will be; must; might -- will
  • uppi -- adverb; <uppi> up -- remembered
  • meðan -- conjunction; <meðan> while, as long as, whilst -- as long as
  • ǫld -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <ǫld> age; mankind, humanity, world; (pl.) men, human beings -- mankind
  • lifir -- verb; 3rd singular present of <lifa (ð)> live -- lives
  • langniðia -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <langniðiar> (pl.) long line of forefathers or long line of descendants -- of... forefathers
  • tal -- noun, neuter; nominative singular of <tal> enumeration, list; conversation -- reckoning
  • Lofars -- proper noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Lofarr> Lofar -- Lofar's
  • hafat -- past participle; nominative singular neuter of <hafa (ð)> have, keep; hold; accept -- be

17 - Unz þrír qvómo ór því liði,
        ǫfligir oc ástgir, æsir, at húsi;
        fundo á landi, lítt megandi,
        Asc oc Emblo, ørlǫglausa.

  • unz -- conjunction; <unz> until -- until
  • þrír -- numeral adjective; nominative plural masculine of <þrír> three -- three
  • qvómo -- verb; 3rd plural past of <koma> come, arrive; reach; obtain; occur -- came
  • ór -- preposition; <ór> out of, from; of; with the material of -- of
  • því -- demonstrative used as adjective; dative singular neuter of <> that -- that
  • liði -- noun, neuter; dative singular of <lið> people; band, host; troops; herd; help, aid -- retinue
  • ǫfligir -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <ǫflugr> strong, powerful -- strong
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • ástgir -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <ástugr> loving, benevolent -- benevolent
  • æsir -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <áss> god -- gods
  • at -- preposition; <at> to, towards, against; at, in; from; according to; regarding; concerning; after -- to
  • húsi -- noun, neuter; dative singular of <hús> house; room of house; (pl.) farm -- the home
  • fundo -- verb; 3rd plural past of <finna> find, meet; discover; notice; invent -- they found
  • á -- preposition; <á> on, upon; at, in; to, towards; by means of; during; in the manner of -- on
  • landi -- noun, neuter; dative singular of <land> land -- the land
  • lítt -- adverb; <lítt> little -- little
  • megandi -- present participle; nominative plural masculine of <mega> be able to, can; may -- with... strength
  • asc -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <askr> ash tree; spear; Ash -- ash
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • Emblo -- proper noun, feminine; accusative singular of <Embla> Embla -- Embla
  • ørlǫglausa -- adjective; accusative plural masculine of <ørlǫglauss> fateless (i.e. on whom fate has not yet been imposed) -- fateless

18 - Ǫnd þau né átto, óð þau né hǫfðo,
        lá né læti né lito góða;
        ǫnd gaf Óðinn, óð gaf Hœnir,
        lá gaf Lóðurr oc lito góða.

  • ǫnd -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <ǫnd> breath -- breath
  • þau -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative plural neuter of <> that -- they
  • -- adverb; <> not; nor -- neither
  • átto -- verb; 3rd plural past of <eiga> own, have, possess; have in marriage; have the power to; have claim to; have duty to -- owned
  • óð -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <óðr> mental faculties, voice -- voice
  • þau -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative plural neuter of <> that -- they
  • -- adverb; <> not; nor -- nor
  • hǫfðo -- verb; 3rd plural past of <hafa (ð)> have, keep; hold; accept -- had
  • -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <> blood, ruddiness, vital warmth -- blood
  • -- adverb; <> not; nor -- nor
  • læti -- noun, neuter; accusative plural of <læti> (pl.) gestures, manner, bearing; voice -- bent
  • -- adverb; <> not; nor -- nor
  • lito -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <litr> looks, appearance; color(ing) -- bearing
  • góða -- adjective; accusative plural masculine of <góðr> good -- good
  • ǫnd -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <ǫnd> breath -- breath
  • gaf -- verb; 3rd singular past of <gefa> give; give in marriage; (impers.) be obtainable -- gave
  • Óðinn -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Óðinn> Othin, Odin -- Odin
  • óð -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <óðr> mental faculties, voice -- voice
  • gaf -- verb; 3rd singular past of <gefa> give; give in marriage; (impers.) be obtainable -- gave
  • Hœnir -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Hœnir> Hoenir -- Hoenir
  • -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <> blood, ruddiness, vital warmth -- blood
  • gaf -- verb; 3rd singular past of <gefa> give; give in marriage; (impers.) be obtainable -- gave
  • Lóðurr -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Lóðurr> Lothur -- Lothur
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • lito -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <litr> looks, appearance; color(ing) -- bearing
  • góða -- adjective; accusative plural masculine of <góðr> good -- good

19 - Asc veit ec standa, heitir Yggdrasill,
        hár baðmr, ausinn hvítaauri;
        þaðan koma dǫggvar, þærs í dala falla,
        stendr æ yfir, grœnn, urðar brunni.

  • asc -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <askr> ash tree; spear; Ash -- an ash
  • veit -- verb; 1st singular present of <vita (ssi)> know, be aware of; understand; know how (to); know of; find out -- know
  • ec -- pronoun; nominative singular of <ek> I -- I
  • standa -- verb; infinitive of <standa> stand (firm); get up; take up a position; be in a place; remain valid; be in a specified condition; trend, flow; weigh -- to stand
  • heitir -- verb; 3rd singular present of <heita> to call, name; promise; be called, be named -- it's name
  • Yggdrasill -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Yggdrasill> Yggdrasil -- Yggdrasil
  • hár -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <hár> tall, high; loud -- a high
  • baðmr -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <baðmr> tree -- tree
  • ausinn -- past participle; nominative singular masculine of <ausa> ladle; pour; water; (mid.) stream, flow -- watered
  • hvítaauri -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <hvítaaurr> white mud (?) -- with white-mud
  • þaðan -- adverb; <þaðan> thence -- thence
  • koma -- verb; 3rd plural present of <koma> come, arrive; reach; obtain; occur -- comes
  • dǫggvar -- noun, feminine; nominative plural of <dǫgg> (sg. and pl.) dew -- the dew
  • þærs -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative plural feminine of <> that + relative particle; <er> who, which; when -- which
  • í -- preposition; <í> in, within; among; during; into, onto -- in
  • dala -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <dalr> dale, dell, valley -- the dale
  • falla -- verb; 3rd plural present of <falla> fall, fall down; flow; be slain -- falls
  • stendr -- verb; 3rd singular present of <standa> stand (firm); get up; take up a position; be in a place; remain valid; be in a specified condition; trend, flow; weigh -- it stands
  • æ -- adverb; <æ> ever, always; forever -- ever
  • yfir -- preposition; <yfir> above, over, at; across, upon -- over
  • grœnn -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <grœnn> green -- green
  • urðar -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <urðr> weird, (dire) fate; undoing, ruin; (pl.) fates, powers of fate; (name of a norn) -- of fate
  • brunni -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <brunnr> burn, spring, well -- the well

20 - Þaðan koma meyiar, margs vitandi,
        þriár, ór þeim sæ, er und þolli stendr;
        Urð héto eina, aðra Verðandi
        -- scáro á scíði --, Sculd ina þriðio;
        þær lǫg lǫgðo, þær líf kuro
        alda bornom, ørlǫg seggia.

  • þaðan -- adverb; <þaðan> thence -- thence
  • koma -- verb; 3rd plural present of <koma> come, arrive; reach; obtain; occur -- come
  • meyiar -- noun, feminine; nominative plural of <mær> maiden -- maids
  • margs -- adjective used as substantive; genitive singular neuter of <margr> many (a) -- much
  • vitandi -- present participle; nominative plural feminine of <vita (ssi)> know, be aware of; understand; know how (to); know of; find out -- knowing
  • þriár -- numeral adjective; nominative plural feminine of <þrír> three -- three of
  • ór -- preposition; <ór> out of, from; of; with the material of -- from
  • þeim -- demonstrative used as adjective; dative singular masculine of <> that -- the
  • -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <sær (sævar)> sea, inlet of the sea; lake -- sea
  • er -- relative particle; <er> who, which; when -- which
  • und -- preposition; <undir> under, below; beneath; up to; behind -- under
  • þolli -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <þollr> tree (the ash Yggdrasil); post, pillar; beam -- the tree
  • stendr -- verb; 3rd singular present of <standa> stand (firm); get up; take up a position; be in a place; remain valid; be in a specified condition; trend, flow; weigh -- stands
  • urð -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <urðr> weird, (dire) fate; undoing, ruin; (pl.) fates, powers of fate; (name of a norn) -- fate
  • héto -- verb; 3rd plural past of <heita> to call, name; promise; be called, be named -- they called
  • eina -- pronoun; accusative singular feminine of <einn> one -- one
  • aðra -- pronoun; accusative singular feminine of <annarr> other, another; second, next; one (of two) -- the second
  • verðandi -- past participle; accusative singular feminine of <verða> happen, come to pass; befall; chance to be; become -- becoming
  • scáro -- verb; 3rd plural past of <skera> shear, cut; cut through; cut open, pierce; make incisions, carve -- they scribbled
  • á -- preposition; <á> on, upon; at, in; to, towards; by means of; during; in the manner of -- on
  • scíði -- noun, neuter; dative singular of <skíð> block of wood; wooden tablet or stave; one of the boards forming a door frame -- on staves
  • Sculd -- proper noun, feminine; accusative singular of <Sculd> (name of a norn); (name of a valkyrie); Shall -- Shall
  • ina -- definite article; accusative singular feminine of <inn> the -- the
  • þriðio -- adjective; weak accusative singular feminine of <þriði> third -- third
  • þær -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative plural feminine of <> that -- they
  • lǫg -- noun, neuter; accusative plural of <lag> lay, order, disposition; (pl.) preordained fate -- the fates
  • lǫgðo -- verb; 3rd plural past of <leggja> lay, place, put; put down, lay down; move, bring; thrust, throw; make; give -- fixed
  • þær -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative plural feminine of <> that -- they
  • líf -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <líf> life -- the course
  • kuro -- verb; 3rd plural past of <kiósa> choose, select; pick out something for someone, determine; acquire something for someone -- cut
  • alda -- noun, feminine; genitive plural of <ǫld> age; mankind, humanity, world; (pl.) men, human beings -- the ages'
  • bornom -- noun, neuter; dative plural of <barn> child -- children
  • ørlǫg -- noun, neuter; accusative plural of <ørlǫg> (pl.) destiny, fate; war -- the destinies
  • seggia -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <seggr> man; hero, warrior -- of warriors

21 - Þat man hon fólcvíg fyrst í heimi,
        er Gullveigo geirom studdo
        oc í hǫll Hárs hána brendo;
        þrysvar brendo, þrysvar borna,
        opt, ósialdan, þó hon enn lifir.

  • þat -- demonstrative used as adjective; accusative singular neuter of <> that -- that
  • man -- verb; 3rd singular present of <muna> remember -- remembers
  • hon -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <hann> this one -- she
  • fólcvíg -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <fólcvíg> troop-slaying, battle (between armies), war -- fight
  • fyrst -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <fyrstr> first, foremost, earliest -- first
  • í -- preposition; <í> in, within; among; during; into, onto -- in
  • heimi -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <heimr> region; world -- the land
  • er -- relative particle; <er> who, which; when -- when
  • Gullveigo -- proper noun, feminine; accusative singular of <Gullveig> Gullveig -- Gullveig
  • geirom -- noun, masculine; dative plural of <geirr> spear; point of anvil -- with spears
  • studdo -- verb; 3rd plural past of <styðja (dd)> support; provide with supports; use as a support; stab or pierce from all sides -- they... studded
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • í -- preposition; <í> in, within; among; during; into, onto -- in
  • hǫll -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <hǫll> hall -- hall
  • hárs -- adjective used as substantive; genitive singular masculine of <hárr> hoary, grey-haired, grey-bearded; (a name of Odin) -- grey-hair's
  • hána -- demonstrative used as pronoun; accusative singular feminine of <hann> this one -- her # Note long-vowel form.
  • brendo -- verb; 3rd plural past of <brenna (d)> (trans.) burn, light, set on fire -- burned
  • þrysvar -- adverb; <þrysvar> thrice -- thrice
  • brendo -- verb; 3rd plural past of <brenna (d)> (trans.) burn, light, set on fire -- they burned (her)
  • þrysvar -- adverb; <þrysvar> thrice -- thrice
  • borna -- past participle; accusative singular feminine of <bera> bear, bring, carry; wear; give birth to; overcome; endure; bear (witness) -- reborn
  • opt -- adverb; <opt> often, frequently; as often as possible, always -- again
  • ósialdan -- adverb; <ósjaldan> not seldom, repeatedly -- and again
  • þó -- adverb; <þó> yet, and yet; however, nevertheless -- though
  • hon -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <hann> this one -- she
  • enn -- adverb; <enn> still; also; yet; further; again; moreover; even -- still
  • lifir -- verb; 3rd singular present of <lifa (ð)> live -- lives

22 - Heiði hana héto, hvars til húsa kom,
        vǫlo velspá, vitti hon ganda;
        seið hon, hvars hon kunni, seið hon hugleikin,
        æ var hon angan illrar brúðar.

  • heiði -- adjective used as substantive; accusative singular feminine of <heiðr> bright, clear; Bright -- bright
  • hana -- demonstrative used as pronoun; accusative singular feminine of <hann> this one -- her
  • héto -- verb; 3rd plural past of <heita> to call, name; promise; be called, be named -- they called
  • hvars -- adverb; <hvar> where; everywhere + relative particle; <er> who, which; when -- where
  • til -- preposition; <til> in; of, concerning; on; as, for, to obtain; until, to, up to the time -- to
  • húsa -- noun, neuter; genitive plural of <hús> house; room of house; (pl.) farm -- houses
  • kom -- verb; 3rd singular past of <koma> come, arrive; reach; obtain; occur -- she came
  • vǫlo -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <vǫlva> seeress, prophetess, sorceress, soothsayer -- seeress
  • velspá -- adjective; accusative singular feminine of <velspár> prophesying well or rightly -- right-speaking
  • vitti -- verb; 3rd singular past of <vitta (tt)> enchant, conjure -- conjured
  • hon -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <hann> this one -- she
  • ganda -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <gandr> magic staff or spirit -- spirits
  • seið -- verb; 3rd singular past of <síða> practice sorcery; bewitch -- prophesied
  • hon -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <hann> this one -- she
  • hvars -- adverb; <hvar> where; everywhere + relative particle; <er> who, which; when -- wherever
  • hon -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <hann> this one -- she
  • kunni -- verb; 3rd singular past of <kunna> know, know how to; be able -- could
  • seið -- verb; 3rd singular past of <síða> practice sorcery; bewitch -- prophesied
  • hon -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <hann> this one -- she
  • hugleikin -- adjective; nominative singular feminine of <hugleikinn> entranced, in a trance; intense(ly) -- crazed # Alternatively, this could be two separate words, hug 'spirit' (object of seið) and leikin (past participle of leika 'play').
  • æ -- adverb; <æ> ever, always; forever -- ever
  • var -- verb; 3rd singular past of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- was
  • hon -- demonstrative used as pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <hann> this one -- she
  • angan -- noun, neuter; nominative singular of <angan> delight, joy -- the delight
  • illrar -- adjective; genitive singular feminine of <illr> bad, evil; ugly, unpleasing; difficult -- of a wicked
  • brúðar -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <brúðr> bride, young married woman; wife -- wife

23 - Þá gengo regin ǫll á rǫcstóla,
        ginnheilog goð, oc um þat gættuz,
        hvárt scyldo æsir afráð gialda
        eða scyldo goðin ǫll gildi eiga.

  • þá -- adverb; <þá> then -- then
  • gengo -- verb; 3rd plural past of <ganga> go, walk; advance; take place; extend; go on, last; turn out -- went
  • regin -- noun, neuter; nominative plural of <regin> (pl.) powers, rulers, gods -- the powers
  • ǫll -- adjective; nominative plural neuter of <allr> all, whole; every -- all
  • á -- preposition; <á> on, upon; at, in; to, towards; by means of; during; in the manner of -- to
  • rǫcstóla -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <rǫcstóll> judgement or council seat -- the seats of judgement
  • ginnheilog -- adjective; nominative plural neuter of <ginnheilagr> most holy, sacred -- sacred
  • goð -- noun, neuter; nominative plural of <guð> god -- gods
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • um -- preposition; <um> over, across; through, throughout; round, about; concerning -- on
  • þat -- demonstrative used as pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <> that -- that
  • gættuz -- verb; 3rd plural past middle of <gæta (tt)> attend to, tend, guard, watch over; keep watch -- deliberated
  • hvárt -- conjunction; <hvárt> whether; (introduces direct question); however -- whether
  • scyldo -- verb; 3rd singular past of <skulu> shall, must, ought -- should
  • æsir -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <áss> god -- the Aesir
  • afráð -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <afráð> payment, tribute; heavy penalty or toll -- tribute
  • gialda -- verb; infinitive of <gjalda> repay, requite; pay compensation; give something as recompense for something; atone or pay for -- pay
  • eða -- conjunction; <eða> or; and; but -- or (whether)
  • scyldo -- verb; 3rd singular past of <skulu> shall, must, ought -- should
  • goðin -- noun, neuter; nominative plural of <guð> god + definite article; nominative plural neuter of <inn> the -- the gods
  • ǫll -- adjective; nominative plural neuter of <allr> all, whole; every -- all
  • gildi -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <gildi> recompense, return; payment due, tribute, offerings or compensation -- offerings
  • eiga -- verb; infinitive of <eiga> own, have, possess; have in marriage; have the power to; have claim to; have duty to -- receive

24 - Fleygði Óðinn oc í fólc um scaut,
        þat var enn fólcvíg fyrst í heimi;
        brotinn var borðveggr borgar ása,
        knátto vanir vígspá vǫllo sporna.

  • fleygði -- verb; 3rd singular past of <fleygja (gð)> let something fly; shoot; hurl -- let loose
  • Óðinn -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Óðinn> Othin, Odin -- Odin
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • í -- preposition; <í> in, within; among; during; into, onto -- among
  • fólc -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <fólk> troop, host of warriors; men -- the people
  • um -- preposition; <um> over, across; through, throughout; round, about; concerning -- ...
  • scaut -- verb; 3rd singular past of <skjóta> shoot, throw -- shot
  • þat -- demonstrative used as adjective; accusative singular neuter of <> that -- that
  • var -- verb; 3rd singular past of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- was
  • enn -- adverb; <enn> still; also; yet; further; again; moreover; even -- ...
  • fólcvíg -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <fólcvíg> troop-slaying, battle (between armies), war -- fight
  • fyrst -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <fyrstr> first, foremost, earliest -- the first
  • í -- preposition; <í> in, within; among; during; into, onto -- in
  • heimi -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <heimr> region; world -- the land
  • brotinn -- past participle; nominative singular masculine of <brjóta> (trans.) break, destroy; distribute; (mid.) exert oneself -- broken
  • var -- verb; 3rd singular past of <vera> be; stay; be done; happen -- was
  • borðveggr -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <borðveggr> board wall, wall made of planks -- board wall
  • borgar -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <borg> castle, fortress; funeral pyre -- of the... barricade
  • ása -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <áss> god -- Aesir's
  • knátto -- verb; 3rd plural past of <kná (knátta)> can, be in a position to; may -- could
  • vanir -- noun, masculine; nominative plural <vanir> (pl.) Vanir (race of gods) -- Vanir
  • vígspá -- adjective; weak nominative plural masculine of <vígspár> death-proclaiming -- the death-proclaiming
  • vǫllo -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <vǫllr> level ground, ground; plain; field -- the vale
  • sporna -- verb; infinitive of <sporna (að)> spurn, tread upon -- tread

25 - Þá gengo regin ǫll á rǫcstóla,
        ginnheilog goð, oc um þat gættuz,
        hverir hefði lopt alt lævi blandit
        eða ætt iotuns Óðs mey gefna.

  • þá -- adverb; <þá> then -- then
  • gengo -- verb; 3rd plural past of <ganga> go, walk; advance; take place; extend; go on, last; turn out -- went
  • regin -- noun, neuter; nominative plural of <regin> (pl.) powers, rulers, gods -- the powers
  • ǫll -- adjective; nominative plural neuter of <allr> all, whole; every -- all
  • á -- preposition; <á> on, upon; at, in; to, towards; by means of; during; in the manner of -- to
  • rǫcstóla -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <rǫcstóll> judgement or council seat -- the seats of judgement
  • ginnheilog -- adjective; nominative plural neuter of <ginnheilagr> most holy, sacred -- sacred
  • goð -- noun, neuter; nominative plural of <guð> god -- gods
  • oc -- conjunction; <ok> and, also; but, though -- and
  • um -- preposition; <um> over, across; through, throughout; round, about; concerning -- on
  • þat -- demonstrative used as pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <> that -- that
  • gættuz -- verb; 3rd plural past middle of <gæta (tt)> attend to, tend, guard, watch over; keep watch -- deliberated
  • hverir -- pronoun; nominative plural masculine of <hverr> who, which, what; each, every -- who
  • hefði -- verb; 3rd plural past subjunctive of <hafa (ð)> have, keep; hold; accept -- had
  • lopt -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <lopt> air, sky; upper room -- the air
  • alt -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <allr> all, whole; every -- all
  • lævi -- noun, neuter; dative singular of <> harm, destruction, misfortune -- with misfortune
  • blandit -- past participle; accusative singular neuter of <blanda (blett, -að)> blend, mix -- mixed
  • eða -- conjunction; <eða> or; and; but -- or
  • ætt -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <ætt> direction, region; family, line; stock, tribe; ancestry -- to the... race
  • iotuns -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <jǫtunn> giant -- giant's
  • óðs -- adjective used as substantive; genitive singular masculine of <óðr> wood, raving, frenzied, raging, mad with fear; enraged; (name of Freyja's husband or lover) Od -- Od's
  • mey -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <mær> maiden -- maid
  • gefna -- past participle; accusative singular feminine of <gefa> give; give in marriage; (impers.) be obtainable -- given

Lesson Text

1 Hlióðs bið ec allar helgar kindir,
        meiri oc minni, mǫgo Heimdalar;
        vildo, at ec, Valfǫðr, vel fyrtelia
        forn spioll fira, þau er fremst um man.

2 Ec man iotna, ár um borna,
        þá er forðom mic fœdda hǫfðo;
        nío man ec heima, nío íviðior,
        miotvið mœran fyr mold neðan.

3 Ár var alda, þat er Ymir bygði,
        vara sandr né sær né svalar unnir;
        iorð fannz æva né upphiminn,
        gap var ginnunga, enn gras hvergi.

4 Áðr Burs synir bioðom um ypþo,
        þeir er miðgarð, mœran, scópo;
        sól scein sunnan á salar steina,
        þá var grund gróin grœnom lauki.

5 Sól varp sunnan, sinni mána,
        hendi inni hœgri um himinioður;
        sól þat né vissi, hvar hon sali átti,
        stiornor þat né visso, hvar þær staði átto,
        máni þat né vissi, hvat hann megins átti.

6 Þá gengo regin ǫll á rǫcstóla,
        ginnheilog goð, oc um þat gættuz:
        nótt oc niðiom nǫfn um gáfo,
        morgin héto oc miðian dag,
        undorn oc aptan, árom at telia.

7 Hittuz æsir á Iðavelli,
        þeir er hǫrg oc hof há timbroðo;
        afla lǫgðo, auð smíðoðo,
        tangir scópo oc tól gorðo.

8 Teflðo í túni, teitir vóro,
        var þeim vættergis vant ór gulli,
        unz þriár qvómo þursa meyiar,
        ámátcar mioc, ór iotunheimom.

9 Þá gengo regin ǫll á rǫcstóla,
        ginnheilog goð, oc um þat gættuz,
        hverr scyldi dverga dróttin scepia,
        ór Brimis blóði oc ór Bláins leggiom.

10 Þar var Mótsognir mæztr um orðinn
        dverga allra, enn Durinn annarr;
        þeir manlícon mǫrg um gorðo,
        dvergar, ór iorðo, sem Durinn sagði.

11 Nýi oc Niði, Norðri oc Suðri,
        Austri oc Vestri, Alþiófr, Dvalinn,
        Bívǫrr, Bávǫrr, Bǫmburr, Nóri,
        Án oc Ánarr, Ái, Miǫðvitnir.

12 Veigr oc Gandálfr, Vindálfr, Þráinn,
        Þeccr oc Þorinn, Þrór, Vitr oc Litr,
        Már oc Nýráðr -- nú hefi ec dverga
        -- Reginn oc Ráðsviðr -- rétt um talða.

13 Fíli, Kíli, Fundinn, Náli,
        Hepti, Víli, Hánarr, Svíurr,
        Frár, Hornbori, Frægr oc Lóni,
        Aurvangr, Iari, Eikinscialdi.

14 Mál er, dverga í Dvalins liði
        lióna kindom til Lofars telia,
        þeir er sótto frá salar steini
        aurvanga siǫt til Iorovalla.

15 Þar var Draupnir oc Dólgþrasir,
        Hár, Haugspori, Hlévangr, Glói,
        Scirvir, Virvir, Scáfiðr, Ái,

16 Álfr oc Yngvi, Eikinscialdi,
        Fialarr oc Frosti, Finnr oc Ginnarr;
        þat mun uppi, meðan ǫld lifir,
        langniðia tal Lofars hafat.

17 Unz þrír qvómo ór því liði,
        ǫfligir oc ástgir, æsir, at húsi;
        fundo á landi, lítt megandi,
        Asc oc Emblo, ørlǫglausa.

18 Ǫnd þau né átto, óð þau né hǫfðo,
        lá né læti né lito góða;
        ǫnd gaf Óðinn, óð gaf Hœnir,
        lá gaf Lóðurr oc lito góða.

19 Asc veit ec standa, heitir Yggdrasill,
        hár baðmr, ausinn hvítaauri;
        þaðan koma dǫggvar, þærs í dala falla,
        stendr æ yfir, grœnn, urðar brunni.

20 Þaðan koma meyiar, margs vitandi,
        þriár, ór þeim sæ, er und þolli stendr;
        Urð héto eina, aðra Verðandi
        -- scáro á scíði --, Sculd ina þriðio;
        þær lǫg lǫgðo, þær líf kuro
        alda bornom, ørlǫg seggia.

21 Þat man hon fólcvíg fyrst í heimi,
        er Gullveigo geirom studdo
        oc í hǫll Hárs hána brendo;
        þrysvar brendo, þrysvar borna,
        opt, ósialdan, þó hon enn lifir.

22 Heiði hana héto, hvars til húsa kom,
        vǫlo velspá, vitti hon ganda;
        seið hon, hvars hon kunni, seið hon hugleikin,
        æ var hon angan illrar brúðar.

23 Þá gengo regin ǫll á rǫcstóla,
        ginnheilog goð, oc um þat gættuz,
        hvárt scyldo æsir afráð gialda
        eða scyldo goðin ǫll gildi eiga.

24 Fleygði Óðinn oc í fólc um scaut,
        þat var enn fólcvíg fyrst í heimi;
        brotinn var borðveggr borgar ása,
        knátto vanir vígspá vǫllo sporna.

25 Þá gengo regin ǫll á rǫcstóla,
        ginnheilog goð, oc um þat gættuz,
        hverir hefði lopt alt lævi blandit
        eða ætt iotuns Óðs mey gefna.

Translation

1 For audience I bid you all, hallowed beings,
great and small, kin of Heimdall;
you, Valfothr, desire that I well recount
the old tales of men, which I first remember.
2 I recall the giants, born long ago,
who had fed me ages prior;
nine regions I recall, nine giantesses,
the famous measure-tree beneath the soil.
3 It was early in time, when Ymir settled,
there was no sand nor sea nor cold waves;
no earth was to be found nor heavens above,
there was a chasm of void, still grass nowhere.
4 First the sons of Bur raised the earth,
the ones who shaped the great Midgard;
the sun shone from the south along the ground's stones,
then was the soil overgrown with green plants.
5 The sun, the moon's companion, cast from the south
its right hand round heaven's rim;
the sun knew not where she held lodging,
the stars knew not where they had dwellings,
the moon knew not what deal of strength he had.
6 Then all the powers went to the seats of judgement,
sacred gods, and deliberated on that:
to night and the moon's phases they gave names,
they named morning and midday,
afternoon and evening, to count out the years.
7 The Aesir met in Ithavale,
where they constructed high houses and sanctuary,
set hearths, forged treasures,
shaped tongs and fashioned tools.
8 They played tables on the stead, were merry,
they had no lack of anything golden,
until came three of the giants' maids,
quite powerful, from Giantland.
9 Then all the powers went to the seats of judgement,
sacred gods, and deliberated on that,
who should fashion the dwarfs' lord,
from Brimir's blood and from Blain's limbs.
10 There Motsognir became the greatest
of all the dwarfs, and Durin second;
they fashioned many a human form
from the earth, those dwarfs, as Durin said.
11 New-moon and Waned-moon, North and South,
East and West, Great-thief, Delayer,
Bivor, Bavor, Bombur, Nori,
An and Anar, Great-grandfather, Mead-wolf.
12 Liquor and Staff-elf, Wind-elf and Thrain,
Known and Thorin, Thror, Color and Wise,
Corpse and New-counsel -- now I have
-- Regin and Counsel-sharp -- rightly reckoned the dwarfs.
13 Fili, Kili, Foundling, Nali,
Haft, Vili, Hanar, Sviur,
Frar, Hornbori, Fraeg and Sea-pool,
Mudfield, Iari, Oakenshield.
14 It is time to tally the dwarfs in Dvalin's
line, the lineages in families up to Lofar,
those who sought from the hall's stone
the seats of muddy fields at Stonyvales.
15 There was Draupnir and Dolgthrasir,
Greyhair, Mound-river, Lee-plain, Glow,
Skirvir, Virvir, Skafith, Great-grandfather,
16 Elf and Yngvi, Oakenshield,
Fjalar and Frosty, Finn and Betrayer;
that reckoning, as long as mankind lives,
of Lofar's forefathers will be remembered.
17 Until three of that retinue came,
strong and benevolent gods, to the home;
they found on the land, with little strength,
fateless Ash and Embla.
18 Neither owned they breath, nor had they voice,
blood nor bent, nor good bearing;
Odin gave breath, Hoenir gave voice,
Lothur gave blood and good bearing.
19 I know an ash to stand, it's name Yggdrasil,
a high tree, watered with white-mud;
thence comes the dew, which falls in the dale,
green it stands ever over the well of fate.
20 Thence come three maids, knowing much,
from the sea which stands under the tree;
Fate they called one, Becoming the second
-- they scribbled on staves --, Shall the third;
they fixed the fates, they cut the course
for the ages' children, the destinies of warriors.
21 She remembers that fight first in the land,
when they studded Gullveig with spears
and in Grey-hair's hall burned her;
thrice they burned her, thrice reborn
again and again, though she still lives.
22 The called her Bright, where she came to houses,
right-speaking seeress, spirits she conjured;
she prophesied, wherever she could, crazed she prophesied,
ever was she the delight of a wicked wife.
23 Then all the powers went to the seats of judgement,
sacred gods, and deliberated on that,
whether the Aesir should pay tribute
or whether all the gods should receive offerings.
24 Odin let loose and shot among the people,
that was the first fight in the land;
broken was the board wall of the Aesir's barricade,
the death-proclaiming Vanir could tread the vale.
25 Then all the powers went to the seats of judgement,
sacred gods, and deliberated on that,
who had mixed all the air with misfortune
or given Od's maid to the giant's race.

Grammar

41. Second Weak Conjugation

The second weak conjugation comprises verbs containing a thematic -a- suffixed to the root: kall-a- 'call', kast-a- 'cast'. The thematic -a- appears in all forms, except when dropped before a following vowel, or when changed to -u- by u-umlaut. The verb kalla, kallaði 'call', stem kall-a-, illustrates the forms of the second weak conjugation. The active forms are as follows.

Weak II   Indicative   Subjunctive   Imperative
(kall-a-)            
             
Present            
1 Sg.   kalla   kalla    
2   kallar   kallir   kalla
3   kallar   kalli    
             
1 Pl.   kǫllum   kallim   kǫllum
2   kallið   kallið   kallið
3   kalla   kalli    
             
Past            
1 Sg.   kallaða   kallaða    
2   kallaðir   kallaðir    
3   kallaði   kallaði    
             
1 Pl.   kǫlluðum   kallaðim    
2   kǫlluðuð   kallaðið    
3   kǫlluðu   kallaði    
             
Infinitive   kalla        
             
Pres. Ptc.   kallandi        
             
Past Ptc.   kallaðr        

The middle forms are as follows.

Weak II   Indicative   Subjunctive   Imperative
(kall-a-)            
             
Present            
1 Sg.   kǫllumk   kǫllumk    
2   kallask   kallisk   kallask
3   kallask   kallisk    
             
1 Pl.   kǫllumsk   kallimsk   kǫllumsk
2   kallizk   kallizk   kallizk
3   kallask   kallisk    
             
Past            
1 Sg.   kǫlluðumk   kǫlluðumk    
2   kallaðisk   kallaðisk    
3   kallaðisk   kallaðisk    
             
1 Pl.   kǫlluðumsk   kallaðimsk    
2   kǫlluðuzk   kallaðizk    
3   kǫlluðusk   kallaðisk    
             
Infinitive   kallask        
             
Pres. Ptc.   kallandisk        
             
Past Ptc.   kallazk        
42. Third Weak Conjugation

The third weak conjugation comprises verbs containing a thematic -i- suffixed to the root: lif-i- 'live', þor-i- 'dare', ná-i- 'reach'. The thematic -i- appears in all present forms, except when dropped before a following vowel. Note that the -i- does not cause fronting of the root vowel. Verbs ending in -á drop the thematic -i- in the 3rd person plural (only), as well as the 3rd person plural ending -a. The thematic -i- does not appear in the past forms. The indicative forms of ná-i- illustrate the peculiarities of roots ending in -á:

-i-   Present   Past
         
1 Sg.   nái   náða
2   náir   náðir
3   náir   náði
         
1 Pl.   ná(u)m   náðum
2   náið   náðuð
3     náðu
         

The verb vaka, vakði 'wake', stem vak-i-, illustrates the typical forms of the third weak conjugation. The active forms are as follows.

Weak III   Indicative   Subjunctive   Imperative
(vak-i-)            
             
Present            
1 Sg.   vaki   vaka    
2   vakir   vakir   vaki
3   vakir   vaki    
             
1 Pl.   vǫkum   vakim   vǫkum
2   vakið   vakið   vakið
3   vaka   vaki    
             
Past            
1 Sg.   vakða   vekða    
2   vakðir   vekðir    
3   vakði   vekði    
             
1 Pl.   vǫkðum   vekðim    
2   vakðuð   vekðið    
3   vakðu   vekði    
             
Infinitive   vaka        
             
Pres. Ptc.   vakandi        
             
Past Ptc.   vakat (nt.)        

The middle forms are as follows.

Weak III   Indicative   Subjunctive   Imperative
(vak-i-)            
             
Present            
1 Sg.   vǫkumk   vǫkumk    
2   vakisk   vakisk   vakisk
3   vakisk   vakisk    
             
1 Pl.   vǫkumsk   vakimsk   vǫkumsk
2   vakizk   vakizk   vakizk
3   vakask   vakisk    
             
Past            
1 Sg.   vǫkðumk   vekðumk    
2   vakðisk   vekðisk    
3   vakðisk   vekðisk    
             
1 Pl.   vǫkðumsk   vekðimsk    
2   vakðuzk   vekðizk    
3   vakðusk   vekðisk    
             
Infinitive   vakask        
             
Pres. Ptc.   vakandisk        
             
Past Ptc.   vakazk        
43. Preterite-Present Verbs

The term preterite-present refers to a small class of verbs whose 'present' forms take the endings of the strong preterite. That is to say, preterite-present verbs in prehistoric times formed a strong past tense which subsequently took on a present sense. The original present tense formations were lost. By the time of the Old Norse texts, these verbs form a new past tense based on the model of the weak verbs. Thus from a synchronic point of view, the ON preterite-presents form a present tense with the endings and ablaut of the strong past tense of other verbs, and form a past tense using the endings of the weak past.

This innovation in the past tense also extends to the infinitive of some verbs. The verbs munu 'will', skulu 'shall', and *knega 'know, be able' have past infinitives built with the weak dental suffix: mundu, skyldu, knáttu. As with their Modern English counterparts shall and can, these verbs are often used as modal auxiliaries. In particular, the past infinitives often occur in this role, presenting difficulties for rendering in Modern English, which does not have equivalent forms for these modal verbs. It is often expedient to re-render the basic meaning in English. For example, munu 'will' may be first thought of as 'be going to', so that mundu would then be equivalent to 'to have been going to'.

Because of their origin as strong pasts, the present forms of the preterite-presents fall into the same ablaut categories as the other strong verbs. The ablaut survives in the vocalic alternation between singular and plural forms in the present of these verbs. However no preterite-present shows the ablaut pattern of the second class, and by the time of the ON texts analogic changes have slightly shifted ablaut patterns so that no verb of the sixth class appears. The remaining exemplars of the various classes are given in the following sections.

43.1. The First Gradation

The first class of preterite-presents contains the verbs vita 'know' and eiga 'have, own'. Their principal parts are as follows:

Infin.   1st Sg. Pres.   1st Pl. Pres.   1st Sg. Past   Past Ptcple
                 
vita 'know'   veit   vitum   vissa   vitaðr
eiga 'have'   á   eigum   átta   áttr
                 

Their conjugations are given below.

Class I   Present       Past    
Indicative                
1 Sg.   veit   á   vissa   átta
2   veizt   átt   vissir   áttir
3   veit   á   vissi   átti
                 
1 Pl.   vitum   eigum   vissum   áttum
2   vituð   eiguð   vissuð   áttuð
3   vitu   eigu   vissu   áttu
                 
Subjunctive                
1 Sg.   vita   eiga   vissa   ætta
2   vitir   eigir   vissir   ættir
3   viti   eigi   vissi   ætti
                 
1 Pl.   vitim   eigim   vissim   ættim
2   vitið   eigið   vissið   ættið
3   viti   eigi   vissi   ætti
                 
Imperative                
2 Sg.   vit   eig        
                 
1 Pl.   vitum   eigum        
2   vituð   eiguð        
                 
Infinitive   vita   eiga        
                 
Participle   vitandi   eigandi   vitaðr   áttr
                 
43.2. The Third Gradation

The third class of preterite-presents contains the verbs unna 'love', kunna 'know, be able', and þurfa 'need'. Their principal parts are as follows:

Infin.   1st Sg. Pres.   1st Pl. Pres.   1st Sg. Past   Past Ptcple
                 
unna 'love'   ann   unnum   unna   unn(a)t
kunna 'be able'   kann   kunnum   kunna   kunnat
þurfa 'need'   þarf   þurfum   þurfta   þurft
                 

Note that the verbs unna and kunna show no sign of -ð- in the new past tense forms, except for the stems unnað- and kunnað- of the past participles. The conjugations are given below.

Class III   Present           Past        
Indicative                        
1 Sg.   ann   kann   þarf   unna   kunna   þurfta
2   annt   kannt   þarft   unnir   kunnir   þurftir
3   ann   kann   þarf   unni   kunni   þurfti
                         
1 Pl.   unnum   kunnum   þurfum   unnum   kunnum   þurftum
2   unnið   kunnuð   þurfuð   unnuð   kunnuð   þurftuð
3   unna   kunnu   þurfu   unnu   kunnu   þurftu
                         
Subjunctive                        
1 Sg.   unna   kunna   þurfa   ynna   kynna   þyrfta
2   unnir   kunnir   þurfir   ynnir   kynnir   þyrftir
3   unni   kunni   þurfi   ynni   kynni   þyrfti
                         
1 Pl.   unnim   kunnim   þurfim   ynnim   kynnim   þyrftim
2   unnið   kunnið   þurfið   ynnið   kynnið   þyrftið
3   unni   kunni   þurfi   ynni   kynni   þyrfti
                         
Imperative                        
2 Sg.   unn   kunn   -            
                         
1 Pl.   unnum   kunnum   -            
2   unnuð   kunnuð   -            
                         
Infinitive   unna   kunna   þurfa            
                         
Participle   unnandi   kunnandi   þurfandi   unn(a)t   kunnat   þurft
                         

Note the present plural forms unnið and unna of the verb unna 'love'.

43.3. The Fourth Gradation

The fourth class of preterite-presents contains the verbs muna 'remember', munu 'will' (earlier mono), and skulu 'shall' (earlier skolo). Their principal parts are as follows:

Infin.   1st Sg. Pres.   1st Pl. Pres.   1st Sg. Past   Past Ptcple
                 
muna 'remember'   man   munum   munda   munaðr
munu 'will'   mun   munum   munda   -
skulu 'shall'   skal   skulum   skylda   skyldr
                 

The past participle of munu is not attested. The conjugations are given below.

Class IV   Present           Past        
Indicative                        
1 Sg.   man   mun   skal   munda   munda   skylda
2   mant   munt   skalt   mundir   mundir   skyldir
3   man   mun   skal   mundi   mundi   skyldi
                         
1 Pl.   munum   munum   skulum   mundum   mundum   skyldum
2   munið   munuð   skuluð   munduð   munduð   skylduð
3   muna   munu   skulu   mundu   mundu   skyldu
                         
Subjunctive                        
1 Sg.   muna   myna   skyla   mynda   mynda   skylda
2   munir   mynir   skylir   myndir   myndir   skyldir
3   muni   myni   skyli   myndi   myndi   skyldi
                         
1 Pl.   munim   mynim   skylim   myndim   myndim   skyldim
2   munið   mynið   skylið   myndið   myndið   skyldið
3   muni   myni   skyli   myndi   myndi   skyldi
                         
Imperative                        
2 Sg.   mun   -   -            
                         
1 Pl.   munum   -   -            
2   munuð   -   -            
                         
Infinitive   muna   munu   skulu   -   mundu   skyldu
                         
Participle   munandi   -   skulandi   munaðr   -   skyldr
                         

One also finds subjunctive forms of munu 'will' without fronting, hence present subjunctive myna or muna, past subjunctive mynda or munda. Similarly, one finds present subjunctive forms of skulu 'shall' without fronting: skyla or skula. Under the influence of Norwegian, munu 'will' begins to display alternate present singular forms man, mant, man after the fourteenth century. Note the present plural forms munið and muna of muna 'remember'.

43.4. The Fifth Gradation

The fifth class of preterite-presents contains the verbs mega 'be able' and knáttu 'know, be able' (earlier knǫ́tto; the present infinitive *knega is unattested). Their principal parts are as follows:

Infin.   1st Sg. Pres.   1st Pl. Pres.   1st Sg. Past   Past Ptcple
                 
mega 'be able'     megum   mátta   mátt
knáttu 'know'   kná   knegum   knátta   -
                 

Their conjugations are given below.

Class V   Present       Past    
Indicative                
1 Sg.     kná   mátta   knátta
2   mátt   knátt   máttir   knáttir
3     kná   mátti   knátti
                 
1 Pl.   megum   knegum   máttum   knáttum
2   meguð   kneguð   máttuð   knáttuð
3   megu   knegu   máttu   knáttu
                 
Subjunctive                
1 Sg.   mega   knega   mætta   knætta
2   megir   knegir   mættir   knættir
3   megi   knegi   mætti   knætti
                 
1 Pl.   megim   knegim   mættim   knættim
2   megið   knegið   mættið   knættið
3   megi   knegi   mætti   knætti
                 
Imperative                
2 Sg.   -   -        
                 
1 Pl.   -   -        
2   -   -        
                 
Infinitive   mega   *knega   -   knáttu
                 
Participle   megandi   -   mátt   -
                 

The verb knáttu 'know (how to)' (cf. Old English cnāwan 'know') frequently appears in poetry, but not so in prose.

44. Anomalous Verbs: valda, vilja, vera

A few verbs do not fall easily into the conjugational patterns discussed so far, but are nevertheless so common that they deserve special mention. The verb valda 'cause; dominate' has present stem vald- and past participle stem valdin- and follows the formation of the seventh class verb halda. The past forms are built from the stem oll- in the singular, and from ull- in the plural, and they take the endings of a weak verb. In later ON literature analogical forms began to creep in, such as volla and volda in the past indicative, and vylda in the past subjunctive.

The verb vilja 'want' conjugates in the present according the pattern of short-stem, class I weak verbs (e.g. verja or telja), with the -r of the 2 and 3 sg. assimilating to the preceding -l. The 2 sg. ending -t is occasionally found, as with preterite-present verbs. The past tense follows the weak verbs. The past participle stem is vilja-, and there is a past infinitive vildu.

The most conspicuous anomalous verb is vera 'be', which in Old Norse is a suppletive system of two stems: *(e)s- in the present, *wes- in the past. Earlier forms showing -s- before it changed to -r- are common, particularly in poetry. The earlier forms of vera, ert, er, var, vart are respectively vesa, est, es, vas, vast. The later forms become dominant by roughly 1100. Forms of vera are often found in combination with the preceding word: nús < nú es 'now is', þaz < þat es 'that is', vér(r)óm < vér erum 'we are', þeir(r)ó < þeir ero 'they are', sælirró < sælir ero 'are blessed'. Note that forms of the present subjunctive of vera can be confused with present forms of sjá 'see' (cf. Section 31).

The forms of these three verbs are given below.

Anomalous   Present   Past       Present   Past       Present   Past
Indicative                                
1 Sg.   veld   olla       vil   vilda       em   var
2   veldr   ollir       vill, vilt   vildir       ert   vart
3   veldr   olli       vill   vildi       er   var
                                 
1 Pl.   vǫldum   ullum       viljum   vildum       erum   várum
2   valdið   ulluð       vilið   vilduð       eruð   váruð
3   valda   ullu       vilja   vildu       eru   váru
                                 
Subjunctive                                
1 Sg.   valda   ylla       vilja   vilda       sjá,   væra
2   valdir   yllir       vilir   vildir       sér   værir
3   valdi   ylli       vili   vildi         væri
                                 
1 Pl.   valdim   yllim       vilim   vildim       sém   værim
2   valdið   yllið       vilið   vildið       séð, sét   værið
3   valdi   ylli       vili   vildi         væri
                                 
Imperative                                
2 Sg.                           ver    
                                 
2 Pl.                           verið    
                                 
Infinitive   valda           vilja   vildu       vera    
                                 
Participle   valdandi   valdit       viljandi   viljat           verit
                                 
45. Word Derivation
45.1. Derived Verbs

Weak verbs with thematic vowel -a- are often derived from nominal or adjectival stems. For example, kalla 'to call' < kall 'a call'; sanna 'to prove' < sannr 'true'. A smaller fraction of these thematic-a verbs are derived from other verbal stems. These typically display an n-suffix, which in Old Norse has an inchoative sense. Consider the following examples.

Infinitive   Meaning   Stem   Derivative   Meaning
                 
sofa   'sleep'   svef-, sof-   sofna   'fall asleep'
vaka   'be awake'   vak-i-   vakna   'awaken' (intrans.)
þegja   'be silent'   þag-i/j-   þagna   'fall silent'
brjóta   'break' (trans.)   brot- (past ptc.)   brotna   'fall apart, break'
                 

The n-suffix was not restricted to verbs derived from other verbs. Some are derived from adjectives, such as batna 'get better' from betri (< bat- + -ri).

Numerous i/j-thematic verbs are causatives derived from other strong verbs. Usually intransitive strong verbs are subject to this derivation, and the new verb is built to the stem which appears in the past singular of the strong verb. Consider the following examples.

Infinitive   Meaning   Stem   Derivative   Meaning   Stem
                     
sitja   'sit'   sitj-   setja   'set'   sat-i/j-
liggja   'lie'   lig(g)j-   leggja   'lay'   lag(g)-i/j-
skjalla   'clash'   skell-   skella   'cause to clash'   skall-i/j-
hlaupa   'leap'   hljóp-/hlaup-   hleypa   'make leap'   hlaup-i/j-
                     

Semantic changes may over time obscure the causative relation between two verbs linked through this process. For example:

Infinitive   Meaning   Stem   Derivative   Meaning   Stem
                     
hefja   'heave, raise'   hafj-   hœfa   'hit'   hóf-i/j-
fara   'go'   far-   fœra   'move, bring'   fór-i/j-
ríða   'ride'   ríð-   reiða   'carry on horseback'   reið-i/j-
                     

Some examples grouped according to conjugation class of the original strong verb are as follows.

Class   Infinitive   Meaning   Derivative   Meaning
                 
I   blíkja   'shine'   bleikja   'bleach'
    ríða   'ride'   reiða   'let ride'
    drífa   'drive'   dreifa   'disperse'
II   fljúga   'fly'   fleygja   'let fly'
    brjóta   'break' (tr.)   breyta   'alter'
    kjósa   'choose'   keyra   'spur'
III   drekka   'drink'   drekkja   'soak'
    sleppa   'slip'   sleppa   'let slip'
    brenna   'burn' (intr.)   brenna   'burn' (tr.)
IV   sofa   'sleep'   svefja   'calm'
V   sitja   'sit'   setja   'set'
    liggja   'lie'   leggja   'lay'
VI   hlæja   'laugh'   hlœgja   'gladden'
    fara   'go'   fœra   'bring'
VII   hlaupa   'leap'   hleypa   'make run'
    búa   'reside'   byggva   'settle'
    falla   'fall'   fella   'fell'
                 

As with the thematic-a verbs, the verbs in i/j may be derived from adjectival or nominal stems. For example, nafn 'a name' > nefna (nafn-i/j-) 'to name'; kapp 'a contest' > keppa (kapp-i/j-) 'to compete'.

A few consonantal suffixes are used to derive verbs:

  • n: samna 'gather' (< saman 'together'), fagna 'please', brotna 'break';
  • l: hǫndla 'seize', sǫngla 'jingle';
  • g: nauðga 'compel', vingask 'become friendly', kvángask 'get married';
  • k: þurka 'desiccate'.
45.2. Derived Nouns and Adjectives

There is a wide array of derivational processes producing nouns and adjectives from verbs. Nouns and adjectives may correspond to any of the principal parts of a given strong verb. For example, to the strong verb rjóða 'make red' correspond the noun roði 'redness' and adjectives rauðr 'red' and rjóðr.

Suffixation is the most general means of derivation. Typically the addition of suffixes is accompanied by changes to the original stem. The stem vowel is fronted in nouns derived by the suffixation of -ð, -ing, and -ling. For example, hár (-) 'high' > hæð 'height'; Hjarðarholt (holt-/hult-) 'Herd's Wood' > Hjarðhyltingr 'man from Herd's Wood'; Kaldbakr (bak-) 'Cold Back' > Kaldbeklingr 'man from Cold Back'.

Likewise adjectives derived by addition of -ð or zero show i-umlaut of the stem vowel. For example, auga (auga-) 'eye' > eygr, eygðr 'eyed'; hár (hár-) 'hair' > hærðr 'haired'; sund (sund-) 'swimming' > syndr 'able to swim'. Fronting also occurs with the suffix -sk, e.g. Ísland (land-) 'Iceland' > íslenzkr 'Icelandic', but this is not always the case (cf. danskr 'Danish'). The suffix -in often occurs with i-umlaut: happ 'luck' > heppinn 'lucky'. As expected, suffixes containing u generally lead to u-umlaut in the stem vowel: vǫldugr 'mighty' built to the stem vald-.

Several suffixes are commonly used to form adjectives:

  • ð: generally past participles of weak verbs, e.g. taliðr 'spoken', heyrðr 'heard', kallaðr 'called'. Note also the adjective dauðr 'dead'.
  • n: generally past participles of strong verbs, e.g. gefinn 'given', gripinn 'grasped', feginn 'gladdened', eiginn 'own'. Note also forn 'old'.
  • nd: present participles, e.g. gefandi 'giving'. Some original present participles have already been nominalized by the time of ON, e.g. bóndi 'farmer' (cf. búa 'have a household').
  • l: e.g. gamall 'old', mikill 'big', gjǫfall 'munificent'.
  • r: e.g. bitr (gen. bitrs) 'biting', digr (gen. digrs) 'thick'.
  • m: e.g. varm 'warm'.
  • g: e.g. blóðugr 'bloody', móðugr 'moody', máttigr 'mighty'.
  • isk: e.g. bernskr 'childish', danskr 'Danish', himneskr 'heavenly'.
  • ótt: e.g. skjǫldóttr 'spotted', bǫllóttr 'round'.
  • legr, ligr: e.g. fróðligr 'inquisitive', líkamligr 'lovely', árligr 'yearly'.
  • samr: e.g. friðsamr 'peaceful', iðjusamr 'industrious'.
45.3. Compounds

Old Norse makes frequent use of compound words. For the most part compounds are built from two or three elements. The first element is commonly a noun, adjective, or preposition. The second element is usually noun, adjective, or verb. Compound nouns whose first element is in the genitive case are particularly common in ON. For example, vikustef 'week's notice', hellusteinn 'flat stone', handarkriki 'armpit', brúnamikill 'bushy-browed'. As such, these represent phrases frozen and treated as a unit in both form and sense. Other compounds contain an uninflected first element. Such compounds may be nouns, e.g. tanngarðr 'row of teeth', herklæði 'suit of armor', útibúr 'storehouse'; verbs, e.g. fyrirbjóða 'forbid', varðveita 'preserve', fulltingja 'support'; or adjectives, e.g. rauðskeggjaðr 'red-bearded', bláeygr 'blue-eyed'.

Compounds whose second element is a substantive often occur as exocentric (Skt. bahuvrīhi) adjectives. These adjectives modify another noun by describing some attribute of that noun. Examples in Modern English are blackbelt (i.e. 'one whose belt is black'), Blackbeard (i.e. 'the one whose beard is black'), one-eyed, highbrow, etc. Note these compounds do not describe the noun represented by the second element per se, but rather they describe someone or something related to an element of the compound (hence exocentric). For instance blackbelt does not refer to a belt, but rather to a person who possesses a belt of a certain kind. Examples in ON are bægifótr 'lame', ferfœtr 'four-footed', fagreygr 'fair-eyed', fámennr 'having few followers'.

The following are frequently found as the second element of compound adjectives.

  • gengr: e.g. arfgengr 'entitled to inherit', ógengr 'impassable'.
  • sæll: e.g. sigrsæll 'victorious'.
  • fœrr: e.g. þingfœrr 'able to go to a public assembly'.