Scandinavian country from Dane, the people's name, + Danish mark "border" (see mark (n.1)). The modern form is attested from late 14c. (from earlier Denemarke, c. 1200, from Old English Dene-mearce), but originally it meant western Scandinavia generally, "the lands of the Danes and Northmen." As an adjective, Middle English had Dene-marchish.
Entries linking to Denmark
"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).
"trace, impression," Old English mearc (West Saxon), merc (Mercian) "boundary, limit; sign, landmark," from Proto-Germanic *markō (source also of Old Norse merki "boundary, sign," mörk "forest," which often marked a frontier; Old Frisian merke, Gothic marka "boundary, frontier," Dutch merk "mark, brand," German Mark "boundary, boundary land"), from PIE root *merg- "boundary, border." Influenced by, and partly from, Scandinavian cognates. The Germanic word was borrowed widely and early in Romanic (compare marque; march (n.2), marquis).
The primary sense "boundary" had evolved by Old English through "pillar, post, etc. as a sign of a boundary," through "a sign in general," then to "impression or trace forming a sign." Meaning "any visible trace or impression" is recorded by c. 1200. Meaning "a cross or other character made by an illiterate person as a signature" is from late Old English. Sense of "line drawn to indicate the starting point of a race" (as in on your marks..., which is by 1890) is attested by 1887.
The Middle English sense of "target" (c. 1200) is the notion in marksman and slang sense "victim of a swindle" (1883). The notion of "sign, token" is behind the meaning "a characteristic property, a distinctive feature" (1520s), also that of "numerical award given by a teacher" (by 1829). To make (one's) mark "attain distinction" is by 1847.
In medieval England and in Germany, "a tract of land held in common by a community," hence Mark of Brandenburg, etc.
It forms all or part of: Cymric; demarcation; Denmark; emarginate; landmark; march (v.) "walk with regular tread;" march (n.2) "boundary;" marchioness; margin; margrave; mark (n.1) "trace, impression;" mark (n.2) "unit of money or weight;" marque; marquee; marquetry; marquis; remark; remarkable.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Latin margo "margin;" Avestan mareza- "border;" Old Irish mruig, Irish bruig "borderland," Welsh bro "district;" Old English mearc "boundary, sign, limit, mark," Gothic marka "boundary, frontier."