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List of kennings

A list of kennings follows.

A key to usage is as follows: AS - Anglo-Saxon N - Norse (generic) Ic - Old Icelandic D - Danish S - Swedish Nor - Norwegian G - Germanic Ce - Celtic X - common across all tongues.

Useful sources and references for further studies of kennings:

Meissner's "Die Kenningar der Skalden" (1921)
Snorri Sturlusson Skáldskaparmál

NB: This is an illustrative list and does not pretend to be comprehensive. Kennings relating to a particular character in the relevant literature are associated with the appropriate article, e.g. the article relating to Odin has a list of kennings with which Odin is associated or by which he is known; only the less obvious ones are given beneath.

Kennings Primary meaning Secondary/implied/allusive meaning Source languages Documents and sources
Aegir's daughters waves   N  
blood-ember axe   N Skaldskaparmal
blood-worm sword   N  
breaker of rings King or chieftain Alludes to a ruler breaking the golden rings upon his arm and using them to reward his followers. AS Beowulf
breaker of trees wind   N  
feeder of ravens warrior   N  
flame-farewelled death Implicitly honourable death N  
Freya's tears gold   N  
glory-of-elves sun: Alfrodull   N Skirnismal
Hanged god Odin   N  
Hrugnir's slayer Thor's hammer, Mjollnir   N Lokasenna
ice silver   N  
Kraki's seed gold Can also be used to imply generosity; q.v. Hrolf Kraki N Skaldskaparmal
Lord of the gallows Odin   N  
raven harvest corpse battle-field corpses N  
serpent's lair gold Serpents (and dragons) were reputed to lie upon gold in their nests N Skaldskaparmal
slaughter-dew blood   N  
spear-din battle   N Skaldskaparmal
steed of the billows ship   N  
taming wand sword   N Skirnismal
valley-trout serpent   N Skaldskaparmal
weather of weapons war   N Skaldskaparmal
whale's way the sea   N,AS Beowulf
wolf's father Loki an allusion to Loki's fathering of Fenrir N Lokasenna
wolf's-joint wrist An allusion to Tyr's loss of his hand when fettering the wolf Fenrir Ic - úlfli›r Gylfaginning

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