English Words with Old Norse Origins

Beyond the obvious words (like “saga,” “berserk,” and “Valkyrie”), English has borrowed some of its most basic vocabulary from the language of the Vikings.

Update: The video is not on YouTube anymore, so I have added a similar video.

This video is all about the Viking age and how it affected the English language.



YouTube comment:

I am a German native speaker. But nevertheless, I have noticed some similarities about languages that are spoken nowadays, even if that is not so obvious in all spellings. Examples for this are:

Wasser (German)

water (English)

vand (Danish)

vann (Norwegian)

vatten (Swedish)

vatn (Icelandic)


therefore (English)

derfor (Danish)

derfor (Norwegian)

därför (Swedish)


neu (German)

new (English)

nieuw (Dutch)

ny (Danish)

ny (Norwegian)

ny (Swedish)

ný (Icelandic)


Vater (German)

father (English)

far (Danish)

far (Norwegian)

far (Swedish)

faðir (Icelandic)


Sohn (German)

son (English)

son (Swedish)

sonur (Icelandic)

søn (Danish)

sønn (Norwegian)


Mutter (German)

mother (English)

mor (Danish)

mor (Norwegian)

mor (Swedish)

móðir (Icelandic)


Tochter (German)

daughter (English)

datter (Danish)

datter (Norwegian)

dotter (Swedish)

dóttir (Icelandic)


Bruder (German)

brother (English)

bror (Danish)

bror (Norwegian)

bror (Swedish)

bróðir (Icelandic)


Schwester (German)

sister (English)

søster (Danish)

søster (Norwegian)

syster (Swedish)

systir (Icelandic)



  1. Pingback: Nynorsk and Bokmål: Why are there two ways to write Norwegian? | VikingLifeBlog
  2. Pingback: The Norse Gods’ Names in the English Days of the Week | VikingLifeBlog
  3. Pingback: What language is closest to Old Norse? | VikingLifeBlog
  4. Pingback: Bornholmsk Dialect | VikingLifeBlog
  5. Pingback: About Nordic Languages | VikingLifeBlog
  6. Pingback: Anglish – What if English Were 100% Germanic? | VikingLifeBlog
  7. Pingback: Why does Old English sound like Danish? | VikingLifeBlog
  8. Pingback: A SWEDE TRYING TO SPEAK DANISH | VikingLifeBlog
  9. Pingback: There is no return from demographic genocide! | VikingLifeBlog
  10. Pingback: VikingLifeBlog
  11. Pingback: About Germanic Languages | VikingLifeBlog
  12. Pingback: The real Denmark | VikingLifeBlog
  13. Pingback: Why Danish sounds funny to Scandinavians | VikingLifeBlog
  14. Pingback: Schleswig, Holstein, and Lauenburg | VikingLifeBlog
  15. Pingback: What Did The Viking Houses Look Like? | VikingLifeBlog
  16. Pingback: About Germanic People | VikingLifeBlog
  17. thefourthoccidentalempire · February 23, 2020

    Reblogged this on THE FOURTH REICH CENTURY.


  18. Pingback: Proto-Germanic language | VikingLifeBlog
  19. ᛋᛠᛉ · November 15, 2020

    There are whole books full of Norse loanwords. I for one think it’s awesome, given that at the time,I am told, a Norseman and an Anglo-Saxon could understand one another better than a German and a Dane today. Fun thought.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Viking Life Blog · November 15, 2020

      Yeah! Imagine how awesome it would have been, if it was still like that.
      We would be talking and writing in something like Danish.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ᛋᛠᛉ · November 16, 2020

        I think I would like that better. Makes true English easier to speak, without the shadow of French and Latin.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s