Definition of Norse in English:



  • 1[mass noun] The Norwegian language, especially in an ancient or medieval form, or the Scandinavian language group.

    • ‘Place names with clear Norse roots like those ending in ‘thwaite’ the Norse for clearing show us they were here.’
    • ‘Their language, Norse, left an indelible mark on English.’
    • ‘Many of the events are legendary and bear similarities to other Germanic historical and mythological literature in Old English, Norse and German.’
    • ‘The 290,000 Icelanders still speak tenth-century Norse and revere literature.’
    • ‘I've led rites which mixed Celtic, Norse and Greek.’
    • ‘Engraved in the raw hide of the decaying book, were glyphs - ancient in concept and simple in design; it seemed to be Norse.’
    • ‘There appear to have been no contact languages or code-mixing between Celtic and Anglo-Saxon through which infiltration could occur, as happened later with Norse and with Norman French.’
    • ‘The inscriptions are in runes and Old Norse, but the personal names (both Norse and Celtic) and the grammatically-confused language suggest a thoroughly mixed community.’
    • ‘In Norse, Valhalla means ‘the house of the slain’.’
    • ‘Wetwang, by the way, comes from the Norse for ‘rough coarse grass growing from a pool’, which was a new one on Turpin.’
    • ‘War has broken out in the normally sleepy world of Pictish academia over claims that the stone-carved scripts the original inhabitants of Caledonia left behind are not ancient Celtic but twelfth century Norse.’
    • ‘Anglo-Saxon, the language of government in England, co-existed with Welsh, Cornish, Norse, Cumbric, and Gaelic - none Romance languages.’
    • ‘Its distinctive features come from Norse, Gaelic and French.’
    • ‘Borrowings from Gaelic, Norse, and Norman French have created a diverse patchwork of regional dialects.’
    • ‘Based on that, perhaps Norse may have a transcendental element to it that may have been very lost due to the broken lineage.’
    • ‘Permission was denied to film on St. Kilda, which is in the Hebrides, and where they actually speak Gaelic, while on Foula they speak Norse.’
    • ‘Burroo means fortress in Norse and that is what those steep cliffs of the rocky outcrop at the southern tip of the Calf of Man, itself a mile-wide islet off the much bigger Isle of Man, looked like to the Norsemen.’
    • ‘The word lek derives from the Norse for dance and is exactly what these birds were doing, puffing out their chests and showing off their white tails and producing a bizarre series of pops and wheezes - all in the hope of attracting a mate.’
    • ‘My earliest Pagan name has been long retired, but meant ‘Strength of the Goddess’ in Norse/Latin.’
    • ‘English is essentially Norse as spoken by a gang of French thugs.’
  • 2Norwegians or Scandinavians in ancient or medieval times.

    ‘he spent a lifetime fighting against the Norse’
    • ‘I am among those who believe we can learn useful lessons from the past, but I am sure many readers will remain unconvinced that knowledge of the prehistoric Polynesians or the medieval Norse carries any practical value.’
    • ‘But in 937 the English army under Athelstan defeated a combined force of Norse, Scots, and Strathclyde Welsh.’
    • ‘The same is true of Pictish churches in the regions of northern Scotland and the Northern Isles settled by the Norse.’
    • ‘Throughout, he brings many ancient societies to life, from those that expired, such as the Norse of Greenland, to those that skirted disaster, like the highland people of New Guinea.’
    • ‘Athelstan achieved a decisive victory for Wessex at Brunanburgh in 937, when a coalition of Irish, Norse, Scots and Northumbrians were defeated.’
    • ‘And, when the archeologists looked at the animal bones left in the debris, they found the bones of newborn calves, meaning that the Norse, in that final winter, had given up on the future.’
    • ‘I warned those near, Irish or Norse alike, to draw back and give us space.’
    • ‘He was killed in battle by Malcolm III Canmore, Duncan's son, in alliance with the Norse.’
    • ‘Instead, a rag-bag of Irish, Norse, Saxon and Celt - each with their own language and their own social structures - scraped out a living in the trading posts and valleys of the land.’
    • ‘First, Scotland was multi-ethnic: Britons, Irish, Picts, English, Norse.’
    • ‘The Norse had the misfortune of arriving during a brief warm period before the Little Ice Age that lasted in Europe until the 1800s.’
    • ‘It got to be a big problem when the Inuit, who had initially been absent in Greenland, colonised Greenland and came into conflict with the Norse.’
    • ‘In particular, the Danes, Norse and Saxons, regularly tattooed themselves with family symbols and crests, and the early Britons used tattoos in ceremonies.’
    • ‘The Norse are scattered or have taken refuge in the mountain forests in the south of Hessen.’
    • ‘Walden, a rarity as it does not have the suffix ‘dale’, is a remote and hidden valley, the last retreat of the Celtic tribes fleeing from the invading Norse and Anglo-Saxons.’
    • ‘This mode of decoration harks back two thousand years to the Druids, Romans, and Norse, who decorated their homes with evergreens because they flourished in the darkness and cold.’
    • ‘The Norse would also find and cut down an evergreen and stand it up in the village.’
    • ‘The ancient Norse probably didn't see it that way, since they didn't know about Christianity.’
    • ‘The maritime supremacy of the Norse, however, was destroyed and surpassed by the cities that belonged to the Hanseatic League.’
    • ‘A thorough review of the history of the medieval Norse in the North Atlantic follows this introduction.’


  • Relating to ancient or medieval Norway or Scandinavia.

    ‘Loki was the Norse god of evil’
    ‘Norse settlements in Ireland’
    ‘Keld is a Norse word meaning ‘a spring’’
    • ‘Even when they start more formal lessons taught by the same teacher for eight years they read Old Testament stories, Norse, Greek and Roman mythology and study ancient civilisations rather then pay any heed to the national curriculum.’
    • ‘He named the property Asgaard, the name given to the home of the ancient Norse gods.’
    • ‘The most recent shutdown in the North Atlantic circulation is believed to have occurred 500 years ago, wiping out established Norse settlements and vineyards that once thrived in Greenland, he says.’
    • ‘According to Scandinavian historical sources, the Orkney islands were either deserted at the time of the earliest Norse settlement or their inhabitants were slaughtered.’
    • ‘The Inuit, likely from past experience with Norse seamen and Basque fishermen, would not initially assume hostile intent and came to trade.’
    • ‘Thor, the Norse god of thunder, was not, for example, a naive and pre-scientific attempt to explain the phenomenon which we have come to regard as the clashing of cold and hot air.’
    • ‘From what I've always been told these names come from Norse, Greek, and Egyptian mythology.’
    • ‘Lee traced the elements of the Ring cycle that Wagner took, not from Norse and German myth, but from the works of Aeschylus.’
    • ‘The Greek, Roman, and Egyptian pantheons can be easier to mix than, say, Egyptian and Norse.’
    • ‘At the same time, we were a mongrel nation, pillaged and settled in turn by a variety of cultures, from Norse and Celtic to Anglo-Saxon.’
    • ‘In fact Edward seemed to favour foreigners unless they were Norse.’
    • ‘Angles had formed the nucleus of the kingdom of Deira, and some Norse immigration had occurred in the west from Lancashire and Westmorland.’
    • ‘These are rather crude divisions, further complicated from the late C8 onwards by raids and settlement involving Norse peoples from what is now Scandinavia.’
    • ‘The patrons who commissioned these memorials, and the dead whom they commemorated, bore both Norse and Celtic names.’
    • ‘The armored man made several hand signs, barking out orders in a crude language; Ben caught snatches of names called out, some familiar as Norse heroes or gods and others that weren't.’
    • ‘Prior to the Little Ice Age conditions were warmer; the northern sea routes had been free of pack ice and Norse settlements were established in western and eastern Greenland in the 980s ad.’
    • ‘Stories about Inuit with distinct European features - blue eyes, fair hair, beards - living in the central Arctic have their roots in ancient tales of Norse settlements and explorations.’
    • ‘And William the conqueror may have spoken French but his immediate ancestry was Norse (Viking).’
    • ‘The resuscitation of Celtic and Norse religions, along with resurgent neopagan faiths like Wicca and Heathenism, are manifestations of this trend.’
    • ‘But the wooden interior also seems spectacularly pagan, like a great upturned Viking ship, dark and a little gloomy, the sort of place that makes you think of goblins and Norse gods.’


From Dutch noor(d)sch, from noord north; compare with Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian Norsk.