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Etymology of the Word Viking


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The Etymology of the word "Viking".


Viking (vəi˖kiŋ) Hist. Also vikingr, -er, -ir; wiking, wicking. [ad. ON. And Icel. viking˖r (whence also Norw., Sw., Da. Viking, G. wiking), = OE. wícing, OFris. wítsing, wising. Cf. also ON. And Icel. Víking fem., the practice of marauding or piracy.

The ON. word is commonly regarded as from vík creek, inlet, bay + ingr -ING suffix3 a Viking thus being one who came out from, or frequented, inlets of the sea. The name, however, was evidentially current in Anglo-Frisian from a date so early as to make its Scandinavian origin doubtful; wícing-sceaðn is found in Anglo-Saxon glossaries dating from the 8th century, and sæ-wícingas occurs in the early poem of Exodus, whereas evidence for vikingr in ON. and Icel. is doubtful before the latter part of the 10th century. It is therefore possible that the word originated in the Anglo-Frisian area, and was only at a later date accepted by the Scandinavian peoples; in that case it was probably formed from OE. wíc camp, the formation of temporary encampments being a prominent feature of viking raids.

The Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition, 1989, OUP


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