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Viking names

What were the Vikings' names?

Nordic names are popular like never before, you see more and more new parents naming their children with names that relate to the Viking Age. This can be clearly seen on Statistics Denmark's website, where especially the 2 Nordic names such as Freja and Frey have increased enormously in recent years. The names both originate from Nordic mythology and are directly linked to fertility and the gods of the same Nordic name. One of the other Nordic names to be found at the top of the list is Viggo - which means warrior.

One must, however, be a little careful about naming one's children after our Nordic gods, e.g. Sif, Thor, Frej or Balder. In the Creation of Nordic mythology, the gods became angry if a farmer named his children after the sun and the moon, and punished the children so that in future they would steer the chariot with the sun and the moon over the sky, respectively. (Read the whole creation story here.) So as a precaution, call your child by a derived name of the Nordic gods.


We know the names that certainly date from the Viking Age, among other things. from the runic inscriptions and foreign accounts from after the Viking Age, i.a. of Adam of Bremen and Saxo. Many well-known Nordic names are neither written down nor carved in stone, but have a distinctive character that can only originate from our ancestors here in the Nordic countries.

It is believed that the Vikings gave their children names to give them strength and protection. Strength could come with the naming after the god Thor, such as Thorsten or Thorkil. Animal names such as Orm and Ulf were not uncommon either. They relate to the gods' worst enemies - the Midgard Serpent and the Fenris Wolf. Animal names such as Bjørn, Thorsbjørn and Asbjørn were used to give the child strength like a bear, just as Arndis, derived from the word eagle, is also a strong animal. Many of the Nordic names are given a more meaning or a property. Frida means "Peace", Astrid means "Beautiful and Love", Åse means "Goddess". Slightly unlike Hilda was used, which means "Match Pleasure" and Borghild, meaning "Borg and Match".

The Nordic names and their influence on today's Denmark

To this day, many of our surnames date back to the Viking Age. Alle -sen, which means Son of or Daughter of, can be traced back to the Viking Age, where one already bore nicknames or family names. When Christianity began to gain ground in the Nordic countries, the Nordic names were changed and were now more inspired by Christianity. , such as Jacob, Hannah, etc.

Fortunately, the names of the Vikings did not go into oblivion. Here are two lists of girl and boy names, respectively, all dating from the Viking Age.

Are you looking for inspiration for your little new nugget or are you thinking of a name change - then choose a real Viking name.

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LADIES FIRST – Viking girl names

Aldis, Alfdis - (female goddess) elf + spirits

Alfhild, Alvhild – elf + battle

Alfsol – elf + sun = alfesol

Alrun – noble runes/elevated runes

Alva – (feminine version of the boy name Alf) elf

Annbjørg, Arnbjørg – eagle + protector

Arndis – eagle + spirits

Asfrid – god + beautiful = divine

Ashild, Åshild – god + battle

Aslaug – god + devotion to = sanctified gods

Asbjørg – (birch of the ashes) protected by the gods

Astrid – (from the name of the goddess) loved by the gods

Aud – happiness/wealth

Berghild – mountain + battle

Birla – little bear

Bjørg – (female version of the boy name Bjørk) birch/help/protect

Bodil – recovery + battle

Borghild – castle + battle

Brynhild – battle armour

Dayfrid – beautiful day

Dagny – new day

Disa – goddess/sister/spirits

Edda – (name of Snorre's Nordic mythology) great-grandmother

Eldbjørg – protective fire

Embla – Ask and Embla: the first people in Nordic mythology, created by two trees

Erika – (from the boy's name Erik) eternal mighty ruler

Freydis – Freyr + goddess/sister

Frida – beautiful (can be added to for ex. Alfrida: beautiful elf)

Fylla – fertility goddess

Gerd/Gerda – (the God Frey's love))

Gislaug – ray/wand/watchman + devoted to

Gro, Groa - grow/growth

Gudrun – god/faithful friend + hidden knowledge

Gunhild – war + battle

Gunn, Gun – battle

Gunnlaug – battle + devoted to = devoted to battle.

Halldis, Haldis – home/Helle + spirits/goddess/sister = goddess of the home

Hege – (female version of the boy name Helge) – sacred

Herdis – army + spirits

Helga – the holy one

Helle – (derived from Helga) the sacred

Hildegunn, Hildegun – both mean battle

Hildur/Hilda – Hildur: (Valkyria name) battle, Hilda: latinisation of Hildur

Hjørdis – goddess of the sword + spirits

Inge – old Nordic male name, originally a god name after the unknown god Ing

Ingeborg – the god Ing (perhaps Frey) + protection/protects

Inghild, Ingvild, Yngvild – the god Ing + battle

Ingrid – the god Ing + beautiful

Ingunn, Ingun – the god Ing + loved = loved by Ing

Jofrid – beautiful horse

Leikny – leg + new/young

Liv/Lif – (the woman who survived Ragnarok with her husband Livtraser) life

Magnhild – strength + battle

Margunn, Margun – horse + battle/struggle = war horse

Målfrid – beautiful language/speech

Nanna – (Balder's wife) bold, brave

Ragnfrid – (later Randi) beloved of the gods

Ragnhild – ragn = gods, -hildr = battle

Røskva - (Thor's helper and Tjalfe's sister) the healthy, mature

Runa – runes, secret

Signe – the victorious

Signy – new victory

Sigrid – Sejr's beauty

Sigyn – (Loki's wife, Sejr's friend)

Siv, Sif – (Thor's wife) wife, bride

Snefrid – beautiful snow

Solbjørg – sun + house or yellow + protection = protector or birch

Solveig – sun/house + struggle/strength. "The sun's holy battle" (?)

Sunna – sun

Svanhild – swan + battle

Toka – (female form of Toke) meaning unknown

Thora – derived from Thor

Torbjørg – Thor + protector

Thordis – Thor + spirits

Thorgunn, Torgun – Thor + battle

Torun, Torun – loved by Thor

Tove – short form of Thor

Trude – strength

Turid – Thor + beautiful

Una – pleased, happy

Unni – loved + young/new

Vigdis – battle + goddess/sister

Åse – goddess

NOW THE VALIANT BOYS – Viking boy names

Agnar – maybe sword edge + warrior

Alf – elf

Arild/Arnold – eagle master

Arne/Arn – eagle

Arnstein – eagle + stone

Arve – (form of Arvid) eagle + forest

Arvid – eagle + forest

Asger – god's spear/Odin's spear

Ask – Ask and Embla: the first people in Nordic mythology, created by two trees

Aske – tree of ash

Aslak – god + battle

Asmund – god protector/protected by the gods

Birger – short form of the old Nordic word for mountain

Birk – (the Danish form of Bjørk) birch tree
The Birch tree is still called Bjørk in Norwegian.

Bjarke – bear

Bjarne – bear

Bjørk – birch

Åmund – (mixture of two Nordic names) respect/sword edge/mighty + protector

Bo, Bue – live/living

Brynjulf – breastplate + wolf

Børge – (old Danish "Byrghir”) mountain/guardian

Eik – oak tree

Eivind, Øjvind, Even – gift + winner

Ejnar – lone warrior, bold/daring

Erik, Eirik – alone/always + powerful ruler

Esben, Esbern, Espen, Esper – (variations of Asbjørn) god and bear

Eskild – god helmet/god kettle

Finn – Fins/Sami

Frode – smart/learned

Geir – spear

Gisle/Gisli – guard/staff

Gunnar/Gunner – battle

Hallgeir – house/home + spear = the one protecting his home with spears

Harald – (Nordic male name) army commander/battle – mighty

Helge – the holy one

Helje – (name for both boys and girls) holy

Hjalmar – helmet + warrior

Hjalte – sword handle

Holger – honourable giant

Ingolf – Ing (god) + Olf (wolf)

Ingvar, Ivar – (Ing was the god of fertility. He was perhaps actually Frey.) Ingvar: Ing's warrior

Karl – (free) man

Kjeld, Keld, Kell, Ketil, Kjetil – Kettle/helmet

Kåre – the curly-haired

Leif/lif – descendant, for ex. Frejlif/Thorleif = descendant of Frey/Thor

Olav, Oluf, Ole – descendant

Osvald – old Nordic as in: god + valdr: chief

Regnar, Ragnar, Regner – warrior of the gods

Reidar – warrior helmet

Roald – victorious ruler

Roar – (Danish legend king) widely famous warrior

Rolf – famous wolf

Rune – secret/secret wisdom

Siggejr/Siggeir – victory + spear

Sigmund – victory + protector

Sigurd/Sigvald – victory + guard.

Sten – stone

Stig, Stian – wanderer

Sune – son

Tage – persevering

Thorkil, Terkel – Thor's helmet

Thorvald – (old Nordic) Thor + ruler

Tjalfe – Thor's helper (meaning is uncertain)

Toke – common Nordic name, meaning unknown

Torben – short form of Thorbjørn

Tormod – Thor + brave

Torsten – Thor + stone = strong as Thor, hard as stone

Troels – (composed of Thorgisl) Thor's arrow shaft

Une, Uni – satisfied/happy

Vagn – wagon/craftsman

Vebjørn – sacrificial site/holy place + bear

Vidar – (Nordic god) "Lord of the wilderness”/”Warrior of the forest”

Viggo – warrior

Østen, Øystein, Eistein – lucky stone

Åge – maybe ancestor/great-grandfather

The two tables are taken from, which, of course, calls into question of the credibility. However, all the names have distinctive characteristics – so they are from the north. 

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