Origin: Old Norse
From the name of the trickster god in Norse mythology, Loki was the ultimate pranksters whose pranks always ended up going terribly awry, his biggest blunder being the death of the god Baldur. In Norse legend, Loki’s associations were sometimes neutral to downright evil. Despite this, Loki never had a bad enough connotation to deter Nordic parents, medieval and modern, from using his name on their offspring.
The meaning of the name itself is rather contested. The following possibilities in a nutshell include:
- from the Old Norse Logi (flame)
- from an Old Germanic root word *luk, which denotes anything related to knots, locks and anything enclosed/compare to the Old Norse verb loka (to lock; to close; to end”; and the Old Norse verb loki (to loop onthe end).
- There may be a link with the Old Norse loptr (air).
- from the Old Norse lok (cover, lid; end)
Loki has made it into the UK’s Top 500 male names, while its modern Scandinavian form of Loke is still a popular choice in Nordic countries.
In 2016, Loki was the 452nd most popular male name in England/Wales, while Loke is the 58th most popular name in Sweden (2017).
Other forms include:
- Loke (Danish/Norwegian/Swedish)
- Loki (English/Faroese/Finnish/German/Icelandic/Old Norse)
It should be noted that this was the name of the wife of German Chancelor, Helmut Schmidt, Loki Schmidt (borne Hannelore Schmidt (1919-2010). In this case, Loki seems to have been a childhood nickname that developed from a child’s mispronunciation of Hannelore.