Etymology
Advertisement
Viking (n.)

Scandinavian pirate, 1801, vikingr, in "The History of the Anglo-Saxons" by English historian Sharon H. Turner; he suggested the second element might be connected to king: But this later was dismissed as incorrect. The form viking is attested in 1820, in Jamieson's notes to "The Bruce."

The name by which the pirates were at first distinguished was Vikingr, which perhaps originally meant kings of the bays. It was in bays that they ambushed, to dart upon the passing voyager. [Turner]

The word is a historians' revival; it was not used in Middle English, but it was reintroduced from Old Norse vikingr "freebooter, sea-rover, pirate, viking," which usually is explained as meaning properly "one who came from the fjords," from vik "creek, inlet, small bay" (cognate with Old English wic, Middle High German wich "bay," and second element in Reykjavik).

But Old English wicing and Old Frisian wizing are almost 300 years older than the earliest attestation of the Old Norse word, and probably derive from wic "village, camp" (large temporary camps were a feature of the Viking raids), related to Latin vicus "village, habitation" (from PIE root *weik- (1) "clan").

The connection between the Norse and Old English words is still much debated. The period of Viking activity was roughly 8c. to 11c. In the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the raiding armies generally were referred to as þa Deniscan "the Danes," while those who settled in England were identified by their place of settlement. Old Norse viking (n.) meant "freebooting voyage, piracy;" one would "go on a viking" (fara í viking).

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
Guernsey 

Channel Island, the name is Viking. The second element of the name is Old Norse ey "island" (compare Jersey); the first element uncertain, traditionally meaning "green," but perhaps rather representing a Viking personal name, such as Grani.

Like neighboring Jersey, its name also was taken as the word for a coarse, close-fitting vest of wool (1839), worn originally by seamen, and in Australia the word supplies many of the usages of jersey in U.S. As a type of cattle bred there, from 1784.

Related entries & more 
Scarborough 

place in Yorkshire, earlier Scarðabork, etc., apparently a viking name, from Old Norse and meaning "fortified place of (a man called) Skarthi," who is identified in old chronicles as Thorgils Skarthi, literally "Thorgils Harelip," from Old Norse skartð "notch, hack (in the edge of a thing); mountain pass." It has been noted that a literal reading of the name as "gap-hill" suits the location. Scarborough warning "short notice or none" is from 1540s.

Related entries & more 
Skraeling (n.)

1767, Norse name for inhabitants of Greenland encountered by the Viking settlers there, from Old Norse Skræingjar (plural), apparently literally "little men" (compare Icelandic skrælna "shrink"); another term for them was smair menn. The name may have been used first in reference to the inhabitants of Vineland (who would have been Indians), then transferred to Eskimos, who adopted it into their own language as Kalaleq.

Hans Egede, who published a dictionary of Greenland Eskimo in 1739, says that the Eskimos themselves told him that they got the name from the Norsemen who once lived in Greenland. [Gordon, p.217-8]
Related entries & more 
Dane (n.)

"native or inhabitant of Denmark," early 14c. (in plural, Danes), from Danish Daner, (Medieval Latin Dani), which is perhaps ultimately from a source related to Old High German tanar "sand bank," in reference to their homeland, or from Proto-Germanic *den- "low ground," for the same reason.

It replaced Old English Dene (plural), which was used of Northmen generally. Shakespeare has Dansker "a Dane" (c. 1600). Dane was applied by 1774 to a breed of large dogs.

Danegeld (attested from 1086; it was first imposed in 991) supposedly originally was a tax to pay for protection from the Northmen (either to outfit defensive armies or to buy peace), continued under later kings for other purposes. Danelaw (c. 1050) was "the body of Danish law in force over that large part of England under Viking rule after Alfred's treaty in 878;" the application to the land itself is modern (1837, Danelagh).

Related entries & more 
Advertisement