Definition of Norse in English:



  • 1The Norwegian language, especially in its medieval form.

    • ‘Their language, Norse, left an indelible mark on English.’
    • ‘The 290,000 Icelanders still speak tenth-century Norse and revere literature.’
    • ‘I've led rites which mixed Celtic, Norse and Greek.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Anglo-Saxon, the language of government in England, co-existed with Welsh, Cornish, Norse, Cumbric, and Gaelic - none Romance languages.’
    • ‘In Norse, Valhalla means ‘the house of the slain’.’
    • ‘Based on that, perhaps Norse may have a transcendental element to it that may have been very lost due to the broken lineage.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Many of the events are legendary and bear similarities to other Germanic historical and mythological literature in Old English, Norse and German.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Its distinctive features come from Norse, Gaelic and French.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Place names with clear Norse roots like those ending in ‘thwaite’ the Norse for clearing show us they were here.’
    • ‘Wetwang, by the way, comes from the Norse for ‘rough coarse grass growing from a pool’, which was a new one on Turpin.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Borrowings from Gaelic, Norse, and Norman French have created a diverse patchwork of regional dialects.’
    1. 1.1The Scandinavian language group.
  • 2[treated as plural] Norwegians or Scandinavians, especially in medieval times.

    • ‘The ancient Norse probably didn't see it that way, since they didn't know about Christianity.’
    • ‘A thorough review of the history of the medieval Norse in the North Atlantic follows this introduction.’
    • ‘The Norse had the misfortune of arriving during a brief warm period before the Little Ice Age that lasted in Europe until the 1800s.’
    • ‘The Norse are scattered or have taken refuge in the mountain forests in the south of Hessen.’
    • ‘I warned those near, Irish or Norse alike, to draw back and give us space.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The Norse would also find and cut down an evergreen and stand it up in the village.’
    • ‘The same is true of Pictish churches in the regions of northern Scotland and the Northern Isles settled by the Norse.’
    • ‘He was killed in battle by Malcolm III Canmore, Duncan's son, in alliance with 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.’
    • ‘In particular, the Danes, Norse and Saxons, regularly tattooed themselves with family symbols and crests, and the early Britons used tattoos in ceremonies.’
    • ‘The maritime supremacy of the Norse, however, was destroyed and surpassed by the cities that belonged to the Hanseatic League.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But in 937 the English army under Athelstan defeated a combined force of Norse, Scots, and Strathclyde Welsh.’
    • ‘First, Scotland was multi-ethnic: Britons, Irish, Picts, English, Norse.’


  • Relating to medieval Norway or Scandinavia, or their inhabitants or language.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 what I've always been told these names come from Norse, Greek, and Egyptian mythology.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And William the conqueror may have spoken French but his immediate ancestry was Norse (Viking).’
    • ‘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 resuscitation of Celtic and Norse religions, along with resurgent neopagan faiths like Wicca and Heathenism, are manifestations of this trend.’
    • ‘In fact Edward seemed to favour foreigners unless they were Norse.’
    • ‘These are rather crude divisions, further complicated from the late C8 onwards by raids and settlement involving Norse peoples from what is now Scandinavia.’
    • ‘He named the property Asgaard, the name given to the home of the ancient Norse gods.’
    • ‘Angles had formed the nucleus of the kingdom of Deira, and some Norse immigration had occurred in the west from Lancashire and Westmorland.’
    • ‘The Inuit, likely from past experience with Norse seamen and Basque fishermen, would not initially assume hostile intent and came to trade.’


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