Definition of Norman in English:



  • 1A member of a people of mixed Frankish and Scandinavian origin who settled in Normandy from about ad 912 and became a dominant military power in western Europe and the Mediterranean in the 11th century.

    • ‘Since the Normans had passed through only two weeks earlier, it is possible that the town was simply drained of supplies and that the Franks did not believe it.’
    • ‘This is made even more likely when you remember that the Normans were descended from the Vikings who we know had a good tradition of archery.’
    • ‘In the 12th century the Normans from Sicily held some towns, until the Almohads expelled them.’
    • ‘Most of the Greeks were convinced Frederick would march on Constantinople and loot it, even as the Normans had done a few years previously to Thessalonica.’
    • ‘Edward was brought up in Normandy and during his reign many Normans came to England and gained important positions as advisors, church-men or military officers.’
    • ‘The Greeks were convinced that the Normans were their enemies; naturally so, in view of Guiscard's invasions.’
    • ‘But then the Normans were sent in to destroy Christianity by conquering the Saxons.’
    • ‘However, Henry was later to discover, during the attempt by his nephew William Clito to seize Normandy, that the tendency of the Normans to change sides was not always to his own advantage.’
    • ‘This alliance broke up when the Normans supported Edward and the House of Wessex against Cnut of Denmark in their struggle for the English throne.’
    • ‘After taking over the Arab sugar industry in Palestine, the Normans and Venetians promoted the production of sugar in the Mediterranean islands of Cyprus, Crete, and Sicily.’
    • ‘Why did the Normans in Normandy maintain a Scandinavian identity, but once transplanted to England come to think of themselves as more English than French?’
    • ‘The Empire lost its frontier along the Danube River to the Slavs, and it lost Italy to the Normans.’
    • ‘Alone among the French, the Normans claimed by their war cry a special relationship with God in war.’
    • ‘By eliminating the native aristocracy, the Normans achieved something akin to Sparta in subjugating Messenia: they created a huge helot class that left them free to hone their martial skills.’
    • ‘The Normans were descended from 10th century Viking settlers in Normandy.’
    • ‘As soon as he became emperor, Henry VI demanded that Byzantium yield to him all the Greek lands that had been conquered by the Normans.’
    • ‘In the south, the Lombards claimed sovereignty, where they established a separate government, until they were replaced by the Normans in the eleventh century.’
    • ‘It seems from literary and pictorial evidence the Saxon archer acted as a single man although the Normans are known to have used archery units shooting in volleys.’
    • ‘By increasing the number of devoted Normans willing to conquer new lands for the church and establish new fiefs, Rome could obtain a massive power base not only in Italy but over the alps and indeed wherever such fiefs could be founded.’
    • ‘Europe was dominated under the power of the Normans.’
    1. 1.1 Any of the Normans who conquered England in 1066, or their descendants:
      ‘the castle goes right back to the Normans’
      ‘born c.1080, he was presumably a Norman from Calvados’
      • ‘Yes we may be a mix of Danes, Celts, Saxons, Normans and others, but when were they here?’
      • ‘Therefore, Harold could plan to use his fire power on a certain strip of land knowing that the Normans would have to use this.’
      • ‘Thus England evolved into an ‘Anglo-Saxon’ country in culture and language between the fifth and ninth centuries until the Normans, a Viking tribe, conquered and diluted it.’
      • ‘Thus the Normans, after the Conquest, found a system of land tenure which, in part at least, was not unlike the feudal system which covered continental Europe.’
      • ‘After early invasions comes the Norman Conquest (the Normans soon found that the France they left became alien, and so they became rooted in England).’
      • ‘As for the new conquerors and settlers, unlike the Normans in England, they did not succeed in appropriating the native past, and, as far as we know, made no attempt to do so.’
      • ‘No-one is quite sure how many motte and bailey castles were built in England by the Normans.’
      • ‘The Romans founded Eboracum because of its strategic location at the confluence of Ouse and Foss, and that same factor ensured York's continuing importance to the Saxons, Vikings and Normans.’
      • ‘In 1066, the Normans from France invaded and conquered England.’
      • ‘To the Normans, England was one big hunting ground.’
      • ‘By the time the Normans conquered in 1066, York was bigger in terms of size, status and population thanks to the Viking flair for commerce.’
      • ‘Founded by the Normans, developed in royal hands as a stronghold in the Middle Ages and restored as a family home, Caldicot Castle has a romantic and colourful history.’
      • ‘We're descended from Anglo-Saxons, Celts, Normans and Vikings.’
      • ‘See how English changed when the Normans invaded.’
      • ‘Castles were a very good way for the Normans to expand their grip on the English people.’
      • ‘The story goes that the first blows were struck at about ten in the morning and for many hours the Normans could make no impression on the English.’
      • ‘It did not result in a mass movement of people, and, although the Normans brought new institutions and practices, these were superimposed on the existing order.’
      • ‘The southern part of Wales was colonized by Normans during the eleventh century AD.’
      • ‘This is not to say that every single Englishman actively opposed the Normans.’
      • ‘In addition the Normans reused existing defensive works such as the ruinous Saxon Shore forts, and also hastily constructed earthworks around camps and forts.’
      • ‘St Mary's is considered one of Yorkshire's most important medieval churches, and can trace its roots back to the 12 th century when the Normans founded Tickhill.’
    2. 1.2 A native or inhabitant of modern Normandy.
  • 2[mass noun] The form of French spoken by the Normans.


  • 1Relating to the Normans:

    ‘the Norman invasion’
    • ‘Although in the first years of his reign Henry was preoccupied with Norman affairs, he was not as free to concentrate on them as he would have liked.’
    • ‘After William's ‘harrying of the North’ in response to the resistance in 1069-70, Norman settlement had proceeded in Yorkshire.’
    • ‘Classicism was, after all, based on a historic culture, and late eighteenth-century radicals were to find sustenance in the myths of Saxon freedom and the Norman yoke.’
    • ‘Instead, he gave Dermot permission to recruit mercenaries from among his Norman knights.’
    • ‘Then, on the Norman left, the Bretons under Count Alan began to give way.’
    • ‘Furnival was, however, not the castle's founder - for it was originally built around 1100 as an earthwork motte-and-bailey fortress by a Norman knight called William de Lovetot.’
    • ‘Tocqueville was a patriot; he felt strongly, if somewhat obscurely, that his line of descent from the eleventh-century Norman conquerors made public service a familial duty.’
    • ‘His son left him to follow the Norman arts of chivalry, and to fight for a Norman king.’
    • ‘But there are clearly different camps, most strikingly with reference to the Norman impact: there remain pro-English and pro-Norman parties.’
    • ‘The Wessex dynasty was represented by Æthelred's younger sons Edward and Alfred, now at the Norman court, and by Edmund Ironside's son, who was exiled in Hungary.’
    • ‘The little town of Montgomery derives its name and location from a Norman knight called Roger de Montgomerie, who built a castle nearby in the 1070s.’
    • ‘Strongbow died in 1175, by which year Leinster and part of Munster were in Norman hands but Ulster and Connacht remained Gaelic.’
    • ‘In return for this, William generously made the great English earl a Norman knight.’
    • ‘The lands were held before the Norman invasion by Edwin, earl of Mercia, who seems to have retained them until 1068 when he rose in revolt.’
    • ‘So it was that his invasion of England, where the church was schismatic, was officially a crusade and a papal banner flew over the Norman knights at Hastings.’
    • ‘The case involved a Norman knight, his beautiful young wife and the squire who allegedly raped her in 1386.’
    • ‘Son of Gilbert Becket, of a Norman family of knights, educated in London and Paris; he subsequently studied canon law at Bologna and Auxerre.’
    • ‘The main consequence for London of the Norman invasion was the construction by William I of the White Tower in what is now the Tower of London.’
    • ‘In the South, Norman mercenaries gradually established their power in the course of the eleventh century.’
    • ‘This was part of a technical and tactical superiority over the native peoples of Britain enjoyed by the new Norman kings of England that had profound effects on politics everywhere.’
    1. 1.1 Denoting or relating to the style of Romanesque architecture used in Britain under the Normans:
      ‘the 11th-century Norman crypt of Winchester Cathedral’
      ‘Willy rambled on about Norman archways and Perpendicular naves’
      • ‘Windsor castle was founded by William the Conqueror, who adopted the typical Norman design of motte and bailey, and was first used as a royal residence by Henry I.’
      • ‘Ballymaloe House in Co. Cork dates back to the 1600s and was part of a number of buildings surrounding a Norman castle.’
      • ‘Archaologists who will work on the site hope to find the remains of medieval houses fronting on to Timber Street, and have hopes they may even find the foundations of a Norman castle which once graced the town.’
      • ‘In fact, my home town was once the capital of an old territory called Mercia, and has a Norman castle that dates back over 1000 years.’
      • ‘Before I knew it I was in Asia, working under Paul Rice and designing a Norman castle as the centre of a new city called Songjiang.’
      • ‘In the mid-C11 Edward the Confessor began to rebuild it in the Norman style, but this project was incomplete at his death in 1065.’
      • ‘In order to reduce this waste, the children decided to be creative and build a Norman castle, complete with a moat, church and even guards, using all of these potential waste items.’
      • ‘Rochester Castle in Kent is another fine example of a Norman square keep castle.’
      • ‘Before the present castle was constructed, a Norman motte and bailey fortification existed nearby.’
      • ‘The cathedral, protected by the castle and high above the river Wear, is one of the finest of the great Norman churches.’
      • ‘In 1067-8 an impressive Norman castle was built on the hilltop east of the River Ouse.’
      • ‘This shape allowed a much greater weight to be carried when compared to a Norman rounded arch.’
      • ‘It's a Norman cathedral built next to the older Saxon cathedral, the remains of the foundations are still visible.’
      • ‘Its stern-faced buildings barricade their central courtyard like the bailey walls of a Norman castle: no accident, as the great paternalist lived in fear of the mob marching on his works.’
      • ‘The county town of Westmorland, Appleby nestles within a great loop of the River Eden and is protected on the south side by a Norman Castle.’
      • ‘London has its Tooting, Somerset has a long barrow called the Fairy Toot and in Herefordshire there is a Norman castle called Toothill.’
      • ‘Features of the house include a Norman window, a Norman archway, a Tudor fireplace and a 17th century kitchen, he said.’
    2. 1.2 Relating to modern Normandy:
      ‘Norman ore was to have been smelted there with Ruhr coal’


Middle English: from Old French Normans, plural of Normant, from Old Norse Northmathr Northman.