Viking Baby Names

This week’s entry, we shall explore the names of the vikings!

The language of the Vikings was Old Norse, a Northern Germanic language which boasted its own alphabet: runes!

The most closely related modern languages are Icelandic and Faroese, followed by Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Frisian and even English.

There really was not much to Old Norse naming conventions, names were either composed of compounds referencing warfare or the gods, or were names taken directly from religion and nature. The Norse did have an interesting surname system, where every child was known by their father’s (and sometimes even their mother’s) first name followed by the suffix of -son or -dóttir (depending on their gender of course). Hence Eiríkr son of Ðorir might be known as Eiríkr Ðorirsson.

When you think of the Vikings, you  will probably evoque names like Brynhilda, Hagar, Helga and Bertha. These names might be completely unrevivable, lacking any redeeming qualities whatsoever. However, many Anglophone take for granted how much of an impact Old Norse has had on our language and yes even baby names. In fact, in the U.S. top 1000, Viking names abound! Examples include:

  • Oliver # 98
  • Oscar # 131
  • Erick # 190
  • Erik # 232
  • Axel # 264
  • Finn # 343
  • Dane # 368
  • Gunner # 400
  • Waylon # 478
  • Gunnar # 551

Females:

  • Emma # 2
  • Ella # 14

This is even more evident in the British top 100:

  • Oliver # 2
  • Oscar # 30

Female

  • Ella # 12
  • Freya # 27
  • Emma # 31
  • Matilda # 43

Of course, in the Scandinavian countries, the influence 0f their earliest ancestors is especially striking. Their top names for example:

Denmark

Female

  • Freja # 1
  • Emma # 2
  • Mathilde # 11
  • Frida # 19
  • Liva # 21
  • Signe # 22
  • Nanna # 29
  • Astrid # 32
  • Ella # 38
  • Asta # 43
  • Liv # 46

Male

  • Oliver # 5
  • Gustav # 11
  • Oscar # 13
  • Aksel # 47
  • Asger # 49

Faroe Islands

Female

  • Bjarta # 3
  • Vár # 8
  • Bjørk # 9
  • Lív # 10
  • Fríða # 14
  • Ása # 19
  • Bára # 20
  • Tóra # 32
  • Brá # 36
  • Eydna # 44
  • Halla # 45
  • Lý # 50
  • Rannvá # 54
  • Annfríð # 65
  • Ásgerð # 68
  • Bergtóra # 71
  • Brynhild # 72
  • Dagny # 74
  • Estrid # 87
  • Eyðna # 88
  • Eyðrit # 89
  • Freja # 90
  • Frida # 91
  • Gerda # 95
  • Gisleyg # 96
  • Gunnbjørg  # 97
  • Gunnrið # 98

Iceland

Female

  • Guðrún # 7
  • Helga # 11
  • Hildur # 18
  • Tinna # 21
  • Hekla # 22
  • Embla # 23
  • Sigrún # 25
  • Freyja # 26
  • Katla # 27
  • Sóley # 28
  • Birta # 29
  • Ásdís # 32
  • Emma # 35
  • Sunna # 36
  • Sigríður # 37
  • Ingibjörg # 38
  • Hrafnhildur # 40
  • Arna # 41
  • Bryndís # 42
  • Auður # 44
  • Þórdís # 47
  • Kolbrún # 48
  • Ragnheiður # 49
  • Brynja # 50
  • Ásta # 51
  • Þórunn # 52
  • Sólveig # 52
  • Hafdís # 52
  • Ólöf # 57
  • Birna # 60
  • Unnur # 60
  • Steinnun # 60
  • Inga # 63
  • Dagný # 66
  • Berglind # 66
  • Guðný # 69
  • Matthildur # 69
  • Eydís # 74
  • Dagbjört # 76
  • Hulda # 76
  • Aldís # 76
  • Hrefna # 80
  • Iðunn # 81
  • Arndís # 81
  • Þóra # 84
  • Edda # 89
  • Laufey # 89
  • Herdís # 89
  • Eyrún # 92
  • Elva # 92
  • Þórey # 95
  • Harpa # 99
  • Diljá # 99

Males

  • Arnar # 8
  • Guðmundur # 9
  • Sigurður # 13
  • Ólafur # 17
  • Einar # 18
  • Gunnar # 19
  • Dagur # 22
  • Bjarki # 24
  • Óskar # 24
  • Brynjar # 26
  • Ólíver # 27
  • Björn # 28
  • Sindri # 29
  • Arnór # 29
  • Helgi # 35
  • Elvar # 37
  • Hákon # 38
  • Kári # 40
  • Atli # 42
  • Þorsteinn# 42
  • Baldur # 45
  • Birgir # 45
  • Birkir # 45
  • Hilmar # 49
  • Egill # 51
  • Halldór # 53
  • Ragnar # 53
  • Árni # 55
  • Haukur # 56
  • Gísli # 58
  • Axel # 60
  • Bjarni # 62
  • Fannar # 63
  • Hlynur # 63
  • Sveinn # 66
  • Sævar# 67
  • Ásgeir# 69
  • Sölvi# 69
  • Eyþór# 69
  • Guðjón # 69
  • Ari # 73
  • Óðinn #73
  • Jökull # 76
  • Þórður# 77
  • Björgvin # 81
  • Tryggvi # 82
  • Eiður #82
  • Haraldur # 85
  • Snorri # 87
  • Heiðar # 87
  • Bjartur #91
  • Rúnar #91
  • Hrafn # 91
  • Hrafnkell # 92
  • Kolbeinn # 96
  • Breki # 97
  • Logi # 99

Norway

Female

  • Emma # 1
  • Ingrid # 9
  • Vilde # 13
  • Tuva # 19
  • Frida # 22
  • Ella # 24
  • Mathilde # 25
  • Tiril # 40
  • Ingeborg # 52
  • Signe # 59
  • Sigrid # 60
  • Erle # 63
  • Alva # 65
  • Astrid # 70
  • Solveig # 94
  • Liv # 96

Males

  • Oliver # 2
  • Aksel # 25
  • Sondre # 27
  • Eirik # 31
  • Erik # 32
  • Håkon # 36
  • Trym # 40
  • Ole # 43
  • Oskar # 45
  • Sigurd # 52
  • Odin # 53
  • Sindre # 55
  • Oscar # 61
  • Ola # 65
  • Sverre # 68
  • Vetle # 69
  • Olav # 77
  • Brage # 80
  • Vegard # 85
  • Eskil # 89
  • Birk # 99
  • Håvard # 100

Sweden

Females

  • Ella # 3
  • Emma # 4
  • Alva # 5
  • Saga # 21
  • Matilda # 25
  • Tuva # 32
  • Astrid # 33
  • Tyra # 49
  • Freja # 52
  • Signe # 53
  • Siri  # 55
  • Stina # 57
  • Liv # 63
  • Frida # 67
  • Ellie # 69
  • Hilda # 82
  • Ingrid # 84

Male

  • Oscar # 3
  • Erik # 9
  • Axel # 10
  • Gustav # 20
  • Arvid # 23
  • Viggo # 26
  • Olle # 35
  • Sigge # 71
  • Vidar # 75
  • Loke # 81
  • Hjalmar # 86
  • Svante # 93

The Norse often used names from religion, e.g. (children could be named for gods), from relatives (a son may be named for a father or grandfather) or sometimes even attributes characteristic of an animal (Hrafn-Raven).

Below is a list of Viking names compatible in modern society, note, many of these names are still in usage in Iceland and even in some Scandinavian countries.

Cool Norse Alternatives to Popular Names

Instead of Addison==============Adis

Instead of Bailey===============Beyla

Instead of Brynn/Brianna============Brynja

Instead of Delaney================Daney

Instead of Elizabeth==============Ellisif

Instead of Emma================Edda

Instead of Freya================Frigga

Instead of Harper===============Harpa

Instead of Hayden===============Hedin

Instead of Hayley===============Halla

Instead of Katherine/Kate/Caitlin====================Katla

Instead of Matilda===========================Hilda

Instead of Owen=======================Odin

Instead of Regan===================Ragna

Instead of Sydney=================Signy

Female Names Compatible with English

  • Dalla
  • Dylla
  • Esja
  • Finna
  • Halldora
  • Hallerna
  • Jolinn
  • Ketiley
  • Loa
  • Mabil
  • Nauma
  • Randalin
  • Runa
  • Thora
  • Thorvia
  • Tola
  • Totra
  • Valka
  • Verun

Cool Old Norse Nature Names

Male

  • Ari (eagle)
  • Billi (blade)
  • Brand (burnt)
  • Finnbjorn (Finnish bear)
  • Frosti (frost)
  • Grein (branch)
  • Orm (Snake; Worm)
  • Ottar (Otter)
  • Steinar (stone rock)
  • Thorstein (Thunder Stone; Thor’s Stone)

Female

  • Dagny (new day)
  • Drifa (snowdrift)
  • Embla (Elm)
  • Jora (Wild Boar)
  • Sandey (Sand-luck)
  • Steina (stone)
  • Svana (swan)
  • Svala (swallow)

Male Names Compatible with English

  • Atli
  • Audun
  • Brodir
  • Erlend
  • Grai
  • Kol
  • Mundi

Cool Mythological Names Compatible for Modern Society

  • Balder
  • Billing
  • Dagur
  • Delling
  • Frey
  • Gunther
  • Hagen
  • Loki
  • Wayland

Female

  • Aurinia
  • Eisa
  • Elli
  • Gersemi
  • Idun (pronounced like Eden)
  • Mardoll
  • Mist
  • Nanna
  • Rossweisse
  • Sif
  • Sinmara
  • Skadi
  • Sol

Sources

Viking

vikingGender: Masculine
Origin: Old Norse/Swedish/Norwegian
Meaning: “sea fearer; sea expedition.”
Scan (VEE-king); Eng (VYE-king).

You must be wondering why I’d post a name like this, just last week, we were barraged in the news by a little boy named Falcon who seemingly took flight on a hot air balloon. Viking has a similar  feel, and yet, you must be asking, is this really legit?

Viking has been used as a male first name on and off in Scandinavia since the middle ages. It even boasts its own name-day in the Swedish-Finnish name-day calendar: October 19. In modern society, the term is used in reference to a particular culture and group of people who existed in Scandinavia in the early Middle Ages, however, this is a modern term and the Vikings themselves never referred to themselves as “Vikings” in a cultural sense or in reference to a distinct group of individuals. In Old Norse víkingr is a verb used to describe a sea-fearing expedition while víking is a noun that refers to someone who takes part in these expeditions. The term is found on several rune stones throughout Scandinavia. In Anglo-Saxon the word was wicing and appears in the 9th-century Anglo-Saxon poem Widsith in which it is used to refer to a pirate. Adam of Bremen also uses it to describe a pirate in his writings. The term disappeared from the English lexicon by the end of the Middle Ages and was revived in the 18th century as Viking, this time referring to a distinct group of people, culture and period in history. In modern Scandinavian languages, the term Viking is used more as a term to describe specific people within the Norse culture who went out on sea expeditions, and not necessarily a term to describe a particular culture or group of people.

Other forms of the name include the Icelandic Vikingur.