Detail of a sculpture of the Germanic seeress Veleda, Hippolyte Maindron, 1844

  • Origin: Old Norse
  • Gender: feminine

The name is Old Norse and can either be derived from the Old Norse vǫlva meaning “fortune-teller, prophet,” or a short form of any Norse name beginning in the Valr element, which might relate to valr “slain” as in Valhalla (hall of the slain) or the Old High Germanic, walah meaning foreigner; stranger”; later “Welsh.”

The name’s use was first recorded in Sweden in 1876, but may have been used in Norse times as well.

Another form is Valva.


Rudy, Rudolph, Rolf


  • Origin: German
  • Meaning: “famous wolf.”
  • Gender: Masculine

The name is derived from the Germanic Hrodulf, which is composed of the elements hrod (fame) and wulf (wolf). The name was borne by several European rulers.

In England, it has been in use since Anglo-Saxon times, its Anglo-Saxon form of Hroðulf was usurped by the Norman Rudolph and Rodolph in the 11th-century.

In the English-speaking world, the name has come to be associated with the Christmas folk hero, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, based on a children’s book written by Robert L. May in 1939.

Rudolf appeared in the U.S. Top 1000 between 1887-1932, and peaked at # 715 in 1916. He appeared 3 times in the French Top 1000 in 1914, 1931 and again in 1933, peaking at #454 in 1934. He was in the German Top 20 between 1893 and 1936, peaking at #11 in 1899 and in 1916.

In France, it’s native form of Rodolphe appeared in the Top 1000 between 1900 and 2001 and peaked at #79 in 1970.

Its contracted form of Rolf has been in occasional use in England since the 11th-century. It was a favorite in German-speaking countries in the 1920s-50s, peaking at #11 in 1947. In Norway, it peaked at #14 in 1945. Rolf has also appeared in the American and French charts, though not very high. Rolf peaked at #210 in France in 1943 and #772 in 1960 in the U.S.

It his diminutive form of Rudy, often used as an independent given-name, is the one which has gained some traction in recent years. Rudy appeared in the French Top 100 between 1979-1984, and peaked at #76 in 1980. Rudy’s current rankings in the popularity charts are as follows:

  • #271 (England & Wales, 2018)
  • #822 (U.S.A., 2018)

Rudolf is used in Albanian, Armenian, Czech-Slovak, Dutch, Hungarian, Icelandic, Polish, Serbo-Croatian, Slovene, the Scandinavian languages and Russian.

Other forms include:

  • Hroðulf, Hrothulf (Anglo-Saxon)
  • Roel, Roelof, Ruud (Dutch)
  • Rodolf (Catalan)
  • Rolph (English)
  • Rudo, Ruudo, Ruudolf (Estonian)
  • Róðolvur (Faroese)
  • Ruuto, Ruutolffi, Ruutolhvi, Ruutolppi (Finnish)
  • Rodolphe (French)
  • Roele, Roelef, Roelf, Rolef, Rolof, Roloff, Roluf, Roolof (Frisian)
  • Rudolp რუდოლფ (Georgian)
  • Roff (German)
  • Rudi (German, Hungarian, Serbo-Croatian, Slovenian)
  • Rudo (German)
  • Rul (German)
  • Rûtulfe, Ruutuulfi (Greenlandic)
  • Rhodólphos Ροδόλφος (Greek)
  • Rúdólf (Icelandic)
  • Rodolfino (Italian)
  • Rodolfo (Italian, Portuguese, Spanish)
  • Ridolfo (Italian)
  • Rudolphus (Latin)
  • Rūdolfs, Rūdis (Latvian)
  • Rudolfas, Rudas (Lithuanian)
  • Doffen (Norwegian)
  • Roffe (Norwegian, Swedish)
  • Hróðólfr, Hrólfr (Old Norse)
  • Rudulf (Polish, archaic)
  • Duff, Dusch, Riedi, Ruosch (Romansch)
  • Ruedi (Swiss-German, diminutive form, occasionally used as an independent form)

Feminine forms include:

  • Rudolfia (Danish, Norwegian)
  • Rodolphine (French)
  • Rudolfine (German, Scandinavian)
  • Rodolfa, Rodolfina (Italian, Spanish)
  • Rodolfetta (Italian)
  • Rudolfa (Polish, Scandinavian)
  • Rudolfina (Hungarian, Polish, Scandinavian)


Igor, Ingvar


Ingvar is the modern Scandinavian form of the Old Norse, Yngvarr, meaning “Ing’s warrior.” It was introduced into Russia in the 10th-century by the Varangians, which gave the world the Igor form. The latter was borne by 2 Grand Princes of Kiev and has been a favorite in several Slavic countries since.

Currently, Igor is the 19th Most Popular Male Name in Poland (2018) and the 48th Most Popular in Moscow, Russia (2018), while in England he currently ranks quite low at #497 (2018).

Igor is used in Bulgarian, Czech-Slovak, Dutch, Estonian, German, Hungarian, Italian, Macedonian, Portuguese, Romanian, Serbo-Croatian, all modern Scandinavian languages, Slovene, & Spanish

Other forms of the name include:

  • Ihar Ігар (Belarusian)
  • Ingvar (Danish, Estonian, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish)
  • Iku (Finnish)
  • Ingwar, Ingwer (German)
  • Ingvaari (Greelandic)
  • Ingvâre (Greenlandic)
  • Ígor (Icelandic)
  • Inguarus (Late Latin)
  • Ingvars, Igors (Latvian)
  • Igoris (Lithuanian)
  • Ignar (Nowegian)
  • Yngvar (Norwegian)
  • Yngvarr (Old Norse)
  • Ingwar (Polish)
  • Inguar (Portuguese)
  • Ingor (Swedish)
  • Ihor Ігор  (Ukrainian)




The name is either derived from the Old Norse fríðr (beautiful; loved) or the German fried (peace, joy), (which is also the same case in Yiddish). In modern Swedish, Danish & Norwegian, the name may also be associated with the word frid, which also means peace.

The name has been imported into several cultures. It is not only used in Northern Europe, but has experienced usage in Anglophone, Francophone & Hispanophone countries. A notable bearer from the latter was Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo (1907-1954).

It is currently the 7th Most Popular Female Name in Norway & the 19th Most Popular in Denmark (2018).

In the United States, it currently comes in as the 693rd Most Popular Female Name.

The Frida form is used in the following languages: Danish, Dutch, Czech/Slovak, Estonian, Faroese, Finnish, Hungarian, German, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Yiddish

Other forms include:

  • Fritha (Anglo-Saxon)
  • Fryd (Danish, Norwegian, Swedish)
  • Freda (English, German, Spanish)
  • Frieda (Estonian, German)
  • Friida (Finnish)
  • Riitu (Finnish)
  • Friede (German)
  • Friedel, Friedl (German, Yiddish)
  • Fríða FREE-thah (Icelandic, Old Norse)
  • Fríður FREE-thoor (Icelandic)
  • Frid (Norwegian, Swedish)
  • Fryda (Polish, Norwegian, Swedish)
  • Freyda, Frejda (Yiddish)





The name is from the Latin cognomen meaning “great,” and by the 11th-century, was imported to Scandinavia as a synchronized name, likely being used as a latinized form of the Old Norse Magni (power; strength).

The name was especially common among Norwegian and Swedish royalty. King Magnus I is the first bearer of the name in the Norwegian line, who was said to be named for King Charlemagne (Carolus Magnus).

It was also borne by several saints, including St. Magnus of Füssen, a 6th-century saint who is credited for converting the Germanic tribes to Christianity in what is now Bavaria.

It has remained a staple in Scandinavia, it currently ranks in as the 15th Most Popular Male Name in Denmark (2018) & the 9th Most Popular Male Name in Norway (2018). His rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • #414 (England & Wales, 2018)
  • #781 (United States, 2018)

Other forms of the name include:

  • Mang (Alemmanish)
  • Mogens (Danish)
  • Magnuz (Danish, Swedish)
  • Mack (English)
  • Manu (Finnish)
  • Mauno/Maunu (Finnish)
  • Magne (French, Norwegian)
  • Mânuse (Greenlandic)
  • Mághnus, Manus (Irish-Gaelic)
  • Magnús (Icelandic)
  • Magno (Italian)
  • Magnuss (Latvian)
  • Magnar (Norwegian)
  • Maghons (Old Swedish)
  • Mávdnos (Sami)
  • Mankan (Swedish)
  • Måns (Swedish)

Magna is a feminine form and Magnúsína is an Icelandic feminine form.


Viggo, Vigga

Viggo is a popular Scandinavian male name with a long history of use. It may be a diminutive offshoot of Victor, or be related to an Old Norse element, vígr (to fight). Another theory links it to the Icelandic Vöggur, which is derived from the Old Norse element vöggr, “one who lies in a cradle.” It has also been linked with the Swedish word vigg “lightning.”

A notable bearer is Danish-American actor, Viggo Mortensen (b. 1958).

Viggo is currently the 24th Most Popular Male Name in Denmark (2018), the 48th Most Popular Male Name in Sweden (2018); and the 352nd Most Popular Male Name in the Netherlands.

Other forms include:

  • Vigge (Danish, Swedish)
  • Wigand, Wiegand (German)
  • Wiggo (German, Swedish)
  • Viggó (Icelandic)
  • Vygantas (Lithuanian)
  • Vígi (Old Norse)
  • Viggu (Sami)
  • Vigg/Wigg (Swedish)
  • Wigge (Swedish)

Its feminine form of Vigga has also made its appearance in the Nordic charts, which is currently the 48th Most Popular Female Name in Denmark (2018).

An obscure Danish feminine form is Viggoline.


Lage, Lauge

Both are derived from the Old Norse byname, Félagi meaning “fellow; partner; companion.”

Lauge is the Danish form while, Lage is the Swedish and Norwegian form.

Currently, Lauge is the 32nd Most Popular Male Name in Denmark (2018).

Other forms include:

  • Lagho (Old Danish, Old Swedish)
  • Lago (Danish, Swedish)
  • Laugi (Icelandic)
  • Lau/Laue (Norwegian)


Nohr, Nor

The name is derived from the Old Norse male name, Nórr (north).

It’s recent popularity may have been inspired by other 1 syllable Norse names such as Tor & Bror.

Nohr is currently the 30th Most Popular Male Name in Denmark.

Nor can also be a Limburgish form of Norbert.




This old and traditional Danish name is of uncertain meaning. It is derived from an Old Norse name, Ankarl, which may derive from arn (eagle) and karl (peasant; man); the second element has also been suggested to mean “violent,” hence “violent eagle.” Alternately, it may derive from the old Danish word annkarl (harvester), or just mean “anchor.”

A notable American bearer was the late Minnesota Governor, Ancher Nelsen (1904-1992).

It was also borne by Danish Prime Minister, Anker Jørgensen (1922-2016).

Currently, Anker appeared in the Danish Top 100 Most Popular Male Names, coming in at # 47 (2018).

Other forms include:

  • Ãngka, Aanka (Greenlandic)
  • Ancher
  • Ancker
  • Ankarl



LokiOrigin: Old Norse
Meaning: debated
Gender: Masculine

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.