Thurstan, Torsten

  • Origin: Old Norse
  • Meaning: “Thor’s stone.”
  • Gender: masculine

Both names are derived from the Old Norse male name, Þórsteinn, literally meaning “Thor’s stone.” The name is attested as early as the 5th-century in Medieval Scandinavia and appears in the Norse saga, Draumr Þorsteins Síðu-Hallssonar.

It was transported to England by Anglo-Saxon & Norse settlers, the Anglo-Saxon form being Thurstan, and remained prevalent even after the conquest of the Normans, who themselves also used the name due to their original Norse heritage. Thurstan was borne by an 11th-century Bishop of York. Thurstan is the progenitor of the English surnames Thurston and Dustin.

Torsten appeared in Germany’s Top 100 Most Popular Male Names between 1960 and 1978, and peaked at #6 between 1964-68. While Torstein was in and out of the Norwegian Top 100 Male Names between 1947-1991, peaking at #84 in 1948. It’s original Old Norse form of Þórsteinn ranked in at #46 in Iceland’s Top 100 Male Names in 2012.

Forms include:

  • Turstin (Anglo-Norman, French)
  • Thurstan (English)
  • Tórstein (Faroese)
  • Torstein, Thorstein (Faroese, Norwegian)
  • Toro, Torro (Finnish, Scandinavian)
  • Torste,Torsti (Finnish)
  • Toutain (French, archaic)
  • Torsten (German, Scandinavian)
  • Thorsten (German, Scandinavian)
  • Torstene, Torsteni (Greenlandic)
  • Þórsteinn (Icelandic, Old Norse)
  • Turstino (Italian, Spanish)
  • Turstanus, Tursteinus, Turstinus (Late Latin)
  • Twyste (Middle Low German)
  • Tostein (Norwegian)
  • Dorste (Sami)
  • Toste (Scandinavian)
  • Tosten, Thosten (Swedish, archaic)


Osborn, Espen, Asbjørn

Osborn and Asbjørn are both composed of the Norse elements áss (god) & bjǫrn (bear), essentially meaning “divine bear.” Osborn is the modern Anglo-Saxon equivalent of Osbeorn, the latter of which was prevalent in Anglo-Saxon England and survived into the Norman period as Osbern, later developing into the common English patronymic surnames of Osbourne & Osbourn. Its Scandinavian equivalents still survive today in the forms of Esben (Danish), Espen (Danish, Norwegian) and still Asbjørn (Norwegian); and Asbjörn & Esbjörn (Swedish).

Osbeorn was borne by the son of Siward of Northumbria (circ. 11th-century CE) and one of the fallen of the Battle of the Seven Sleepers in Scotland. It was also borne by Osbern de Crépon (circ. 11th-century CE), one of the stewards of the Duke of Normandy. There are several other famous Anglophone personages who bear it as a surname and forename.

Asbjørn appeared in the Norwegian Top 100 Male Names between between 1945 & 1967, it peaked at #35 in 1946-7, while Espen appeared in the Top 100 in Norway between 1957-2004, peaking at #8 in 1982.

The designated name-day for Asbjörn is May 10th in Sweden.

General Scandinavian diminutive forms used in all Norse countries are Ebbe, Bjarne & Bjarni.

Short forms in English include Oz(z), Ozzie & Ozzy.

Other forms include:

  • Osbeorn (Anglo-Saxon)
  • Esbern (Danish, Faroese)
  • Asbjørn (Danish, Norwegian)
  • Esben, Espen (Danish, Norwegian)
  • Ausburn (English)
  • Osbourn (English)
  • Osbern (French, archaic)
  • Auber (French, archaic)
  • Ásbjörn (Icelandic)
  • Osberno (Italian)
  • Sberno (Italian)
  • Ásbjǫrn (Old Norse)
  • Asbjörn/Esbjörn (Swedish)



Gender: Masculine
Origin: Old Norse
Meaning: “happy victor; gift victor.”
Nor (I-vind)

A few weeks ago I was browsing through some Norwegian birth announcements and noted several unusual names that appeared over and over again. Eivind was one of them. Apparently, Eivind is the Norwegian form of the proto Norse auja “happy, lucky or gift” and windur meaning “victor, winner.” In Norwegian and Scandinavian history, the name was borne by a 9th-century viking by the name of Eyvind Lambi, he figures in the famous Egil’s Saga. Another popular form in Norway is Øyvind and in Sweden it appears as Ejvind.

Currently, the name is the seventy fouth most popular male name in Norway, while its slashed counterpart (see above) comes in much higher at # 27. The name is not as popular in Sweden as it is in Norway.

Its designated name-day was exactly one week ago, August 26th.

Update: Eivind and Øyvind no longer appear in the Norwegian top 100, but as of 2010, its Faroese form of Eivindur was the 8th most popular male name in the Faroe Islands.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Eivin (Danish/Norwegian)
  • Ejvin/Eyvin (Danish)
  • Ejvind (Danish/Faroese/Swedish)
  • Even (Danish/Faroese/Swedish)
  • Oyvind (Danish)
  • Øivind/Øjvind (Danish/Norwegian)
  • Evind (Faroese/Scandinavian)
  • Eivindur (Faroese)
  • Oyvindur (Faroese)
  • Öjvind (Faroese/Swedish)
  • Eyvindur (Icelandic)
  • Eivinn (Norwegian)
  • Ovind (Norwegian)
  • Øivin(n) (Norwegian)
  • Øven (Norwegian)
  • Eyvindr (Old Norse)
  • Eiven (Sami)
  • Eivind/Eyvind (Scandinavian)
  • Evin (Scandinavian)
  • Önder (Swedish)
  • Önnert (Swedish)
  • Öyvind (Swedish)
Feminine forms include:
  • Evena (Norwegian)
  • Evina/Evine (Norwegian)
  • Evinda (Norwegian)
  • Øivine/Øyvine (Norwegian)


Gender: Feminine
Origin: Old Norse
Meaning: “war counsel.”
Nor (RAHN-vye); Faro (RAHN-vow)

The name is composed of the Old Norse elements, rann “counsel” and vig “war”, hence “war counsel.”

As of 2010, its Faroese form of Rannvá was the 6th most popular female name in the Faroe Islands.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Ranveig (Norwegian/Swedish)
  • Rannveig (Scandinavian)
  • Rannvà (Faroese)
  • Rannaug (Norwegian)

(upperleft: Faroese women in traditional dress).

Eira, Eirwen, Gwyneira

Gender: Feminine
Origins: Welsh/Old Norse
Meaning: “snow; snow white; white as snow; or “protection; mercy; help.”
(Ay-rah South Wales; I-rah North Wales; AYR-wen South Wales; IRE-wen North Wales. Swedish/Finnish I-rah)

Eira can be of two different etymologies and origins, in Welsh, it is related to the word eir, meaning “snow”, the offshoot of Eirwen is composed of the elements eir and gwen, (which either means fair, blessed or white), in which case, Eirwen would roughly translate as “white as snow”, “snow white” or “white snow.” A reverse of Eirwen, is Gwyneira, which virtually means the same thing, pronounced (gwyn-AY-rah) South Wales, and (gwyn-EYE-rah) North Wales.

Eira can also be connected to an Old Norse element. It is believed to be a variation of the Old Norse female name, Eir, which was the name of the Norse goddess of healing. Eir means, “protection; mercy; help.”

It is also the name of a neighborhood in Helsinki which its name from a hospital. Its designated name-day in all Scandinavian countries, including Finland, is August 9. Other forms of this version include

  • Eiri (Faroese)
  • Eira (Finnish/Norwegian/Swedish)
  • Eir (Old Norse: used in Iceland and on the Faroe Islands)
  • Eirin (Norwegian: possibly also a Norwegian phonetic spelling of the English pronunciation for Irene).


Gender: Feminine
Origin: Old Norse
Meaning: “day maiden; bright day.”

Dagmar is from the Old Norse elements dag meaning “day” and maer meaning “maid.” Some modern Danish folk etymology link the name to dag meaning day and meri meaning “bright.” It has also been linked to the old Slavonic name, Dragomir meaning “dear peace, beloved peace.”

The name was borne by Dagmar of Denmark (1186-1212), also known as Markéta of Bohemia, Princess Dagmar of Denmark (1890-1961), Maria Federovna, also known as Dagmar of Denmark (1847-1928), Empress Consort of Russia.

Dagmar is also used in Iceland, Finland, Estonia, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Germany and the Czech Republic.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Dagmara (Czech/Lithuanian/Polish/Slovak/Slovene)
  • Dakmari/Dakmar (Finnish)
  • Takmar/Takmari (Finnish)
  • Dagmár (Old Norse)
  • Dagmey (Old Norse)
  • Dagmor (Old Norse)
  • Dammei (Norwegian: dialectical form from Austlandt)
  • Dargmara (Vendish)

Diminutive forms are Dagmaruška, Dáša, Daška, Dašenka, Dašička (Czech), Dagmarka (Czech/Polish), Didi (Scandinavian), Dada and Dadka (Slovakian).

Designated name-days are:

May 24 (Germany), September 27 (Denmark, Norway and Sweden), November 26 (Estonia), December 12 (Poland), December 20 (Czech Republic),


Sverker I of Sweden

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Old Norse
Meaning: “black spear.”

The name is a modern form of the Old Norse Svartgeirr, which is composed of the elements svart meaning “black; dark” and geirr meaning “spear.” The name appears on a rune stone which dates back to the last millenium, in Fröberg, Södermanland, Sweden, which translates as follows: “Vighjälm and Ödmund erected this stone in honour of their dear brother, Sverker.”

As of December 31, 2008, there were approximately 1,872 registered persons in Sweden with the name Sverker. Its designated name-day is November 4.

The name was borne by two Swedish kings, Sverker I (1130-1156) and Sverker II, (1196-1208).

Another form is Sverkir.


Gender: Feminine
Origin: Norwegian
Meaning: “new Thor; young Thor.”

The name is a more modern Norwegian form of then Old Norse female name Torný, which is composed of the elements Tor (Thor, which means “thunder” but in this case the name was most likely created in reference to the god) and meaning “new; young.” Other Norwegian forms include Todne, Todni, Torny, Tønni (a Norwegian dialectal form from Numedal in Buskerud) and Tonni. Swedish forms are Tona, Toni and Tony. Faroese forms are Tóna and Torný and the Icelandic form is Þórný.

The designated name-day in Norway is November 2.


Gender: Masculine
Origin: Norwegian/Old Norse
Meaning: “one winter old bear.”

The name is derived from the Old Norse Veturliði which is composed of the elements vetr meaning “winter” and liði meaning “one who fares.” Veturliði is still in use in Iceland and the Faroe Islands. Other forms include the Old Norse Vetreliðr and Vetreliði, other Norwegian dialectical forms include Velle (Rogaland) and Vete/Vette (Östfeld).

In modern Norwegian the word Vetle coincides with the word for small. In this case it is the name of one of Norway’s highest mountain peaks known as the Vetle Skagastølstinden or the Vesle Skagastølstind.

The designated name-day in Norway is November 1.


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.