1765, from Late Latin Scandinavia (Pliny), Skandinovia (Pomponius Mela), name of a large and fruitful island vaguely located in northern Europe, a mistake (with unetymological -n-) for Scadinavia, which is from a Germanic source (compare Old English Scedenig, Old Norse Skaney "south end of Sweden"), from Proto-Germanic *skadinaujo "Scadia island." The first element is of uncertain origin; the second element is from *aujo "thing on the water" (from PIE root *akwā- "water;" see aqua-). It might have been an island when the word was formed; the coastlines and drainage of the Baltic Sea changed dramatically after the melting of the ice caps.
updated on January 16, 2022
Dictionary entries near Scandinavia