Association of British Scrabble Players

Old Norse


aesir the Norse gods.
ard a primitive form of plough.
auf an elf's child. [ON alfr, elf].
auk a short-winged, black-and-white, heavy-bodied seabird of the family Alcidae. [ON alka].
baresark berserk berserker a Norse warrior who fought without armor, or shirt of mail.
beck a brook, a stream. [ON bekkr].
bismar in Orkney and Shetland, a kind of steelyard. [ON bismari].
blae dark blue or bluish gray; lead-colored. [ON blar, livid].
bonxie the great skua. [ON bunkie, heap].
brad a thin, flat, small-headed nail; (verb) to fasten with a brad. [ON broddr spike].
byrnie a coat of mail.
cargoose a species of grebe, aka crested grebe. [ON kjarr, copsewood + goose].
carr an alder wood.
dwale deadly nightshade. [ON dvöl, dvali delay, sleep].
foud a bailiff or magistrate in Orkney or Shetland. [ON fogeti].
fulmar a gull-like sea bird.
gairfowl garefowl the great auk; also, the razorbill. [ON geirfugl].
galdragon in Scott, an obsolete Shetland word for a sorceress or witch. [ON galdra-kona].
garth a small yard surrounded by a cloister. [ON garthr, a court].
gaum gorm to stare vacantly or handle in a clumsy manner. [ON gaumr, heed, attention].
ged a pike. [ON gedda].
geo a gully or creek. [ON gja].
gju gu gue a kind of violin formerly used in the Shetlands. [ON gigja].
gowpen two hands placed together to form a bowl-shape; also, the amount that can be contained in a pair of cupped hands. [ON gaupn].
grike gryke a crevice in a limestone pavement. [ON kriki, a crack].
haaf in Orkney, a deep-sea fishing-ground. [ON haf, sea].
haar a raw sea-mist. [ON harr, hoary].
jarl a chief; an earl; in English history, one of the leaders in the Danish and Norse invasions.
jarta yarta yarto heart, used as term of endearment in the Shetlands. [ON hjarta, heart].
jotun jotunn a giant (in Norse myth).
leister a three-pronged spear or trident used for fishing; (verb) to spear with a leister. [ON ljostr].
litmus dye obtained from lichens, used in chemical tests, being turned red by acid and blue by alkali. [ON litmosi, herbs used in dyeing, from litr colour + mosi moss].
marram marrum a seaside grass. [ON marr, sea + halmr, haulm, stem].
mawk a maggot. [ON mathkr, maggot].
ransack to search thoroughly; to plunder; to pillage. [ON rannsaka, from rann house + sækja to seek].
reckling a weak child or animal; the runt of the litter. [ON reklingr, an outcast].
riva in Shetland, a cleft in rock. [ON rifa].
sagaman a narrator of Icelandic or Norwegian sagas.
scall scabbiness, esp. of the scalp. [ON skalli, bald head].
scath scathe scaith skaith injury, harm; (verb) to injure. [ON skathe].
scaury scourie scowrie in the Orkneys, a young gull. [ON skari].
scuft the nape of the neck. [ON skopt, skoft the hair].
seg a stud in the sole of a shoe; a callus on the finger. [ON sigg, hard skin, a callus].
sheltie shelty a Shetland pony or sheepdog. [ON Hjalti, a Shetlander].
skald an ancient Scandinavian bard.
skep a farm basket, especially of wicker or straw; beehive, especially domed and made of straw; (verb) to collect into a hive. [ON skeppa bushel].
skerry a small rocky island. [ON sker].
skoal a drinking toast; good health!; (verb) to propose such a toast.
skyr curds; a yogurt-like curd cheese.
spae to foretell; to divine. [ON spa].
sparth sparthe sperthe a long battle-axe. [ON spartha].
stiddie stithy a blacksmith's forge or anvil; (verb) to forge.
swelchie in the Orkneys, a whirlpool; a tidal race. [ON svelgr, to swallow].
swidden an area of land made cultivable by burning off the vegetative cover. [ON svithin, pp. of svitha, to burn].
thwaite a piece of reclaimed wasteland (now only in place-names). [ON thveit].
thwart to cross the path of, obstruct. [ON thvert, neuter of thverr. perverse].
tushkar tushker tuskar tusker twiscar a turf-spade.
valkyr valkyrie walkyrie in Norse mythology, a chooser of the slain.
voluspa in Scott, a sibyl or prophetess, from a misunderstanding of ON Voluspa, the Eddic poem.
wadmaal wadmal wadmel wadmol wadmoll a coarse, hairy, woolen cloth, formerly used for garments by the poor.
wassail a toast to someone's health; (verb) to go caroling or carousing. [ON ves heill, be in health].
yarfa yarpha in Shetland, peaty soil; clayey, sandy or fibrous peat. [ON jorfi, gravel].



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