Old Norse Dictionary - edda

Meaning of Old Norse word "edda" in English.

As defined by the Cleasby & Vigfusson Old Norse to English dictionary:

edda Old Norse word can mean:

u, f. a great-grandmother, Rm. 2. 4; móðir (mother) heitir ok amma (grandmother), þriðja Edda (the third is edda), Edda 108: this sense is obsolete.
II. metaph. the name of the book Edda, written by Snorri Sturluson, and containing old mythological lore and the old artificial rules for verse making. The ancients only applied this name to the work of Snorri; it is uncertain whether he himself called it so; it occurs for the first time in the inscription to one of the MSS. of Edda, viz. the Ub., written about fifty or sixty years after Snorri’s death: Bók þessi heitir Edda, hann hefir saman setta Snorri Sturlusonr eptir þeim hætti sem hér er skipat (viz. consisting of three parts, Gylfagynning, Skáldskaparmál, and Háttatal), Edda ii. 250 (Ed. Arna-Magn.); sva segir í bók þeirri er Edda heitir, at sá maðr sem Ægir hét spurði Braga …, 532 (MS. of the 14th century); hann (viz. Snorri) samansetti Eddu, he put together the Edda, Ann. 1241 (in a paper MS., but probably genuine). As the Skáldskaparmál (Ars Poëtica) forms the chief part of the Edda, teaching the old artificial poetical circumlocutions (kenningar), poetical terms and diction, and the mythical tales on which they were founded, the Edda became a sort of handbook of poets, and therefore came gradually to mean the ancient artificial poetry as opposed to the modern plain poetry contained in hymns and sacred poems; it, however, never applies to alliteration or other principles of Icel. poetry: reglur Eddu, the rules of Edda, Gd. (by Arngrim) verse 2, Lil. 96, Nikulas d. 4; Eddu list, the art of Edda, Gd. (by Arni) 79;—all poems of the 14th century. The poets of the 15th century frequently mention the Edda in the introduction to their Rímur or Rhapsodies, a favourite kind of poetry of this and the following time, Reinalds R. I. 1, Áns R. 7. 2, Sturlaugs R., Sigurðar þögla R. 5. 4, Rimur af Ill Verra og Vest, 4, 3, Jarlmanns R. 7. 1, 5, II. 3, Dímis R. 2. 4, Konraðs R. 7. 5;—all these in vellum and the greater part of them belonging to the 15th century. Poets of the 16th century (before 1612), Rollants R. 9. 6, 12. 1, Pontus R. (by Magnus Gamli, died 1591), Valdimars R., Ester R. 2. 2, 6. 3, Sýraks R. 1. 2, 6. 2, Tobias R. I. 2; from the first half of the 17th century, Grett. R., Flores R. 6. 3, 9. 2, Króka Refs R. 1. 7, Lykla Pétrs R. 4. 2, 12. 1, Apollonius R. 1. 5, Flovents R. 6. 3, Sjö Meistara R. 1. 7, 2. 1, 3. 8;—all in MS. In these and many other references, the poets speak of the art, skill, rules, or, if they are in that mood, the obscure puerilities and empty phrases of the Edda, the artificial phraseology as taught and expounded by Snorri; and wherever the name occurs (previous to the year 1643) it only refers to Snorri’s book, and such is still the use of the word in Icel.; hence compd words such as Eddu-lauss, adj. void of Eddic art; Eddu-borinn, part. poetry full of Eddic phrases; Eddu-kenningar, f. pl. Eddic circumlocutions, Kötlu Draumr 85, e. g. when the head is called the ‘sword of Heimdal,’ the sword the ‘fire or torch of Odin,’ etc.; Eddu-kendr = Edduborinn; Eddu-bagr, adj. a bungler in the Eddic art, etc. The Icel. bishop Brynjolf Sveinsson in the year 1643 discovered the old mythological poems, and, led by a fanciful and erroneous suggestion, he gave to that book the name of Sæmundar Edda, the Edda of Sæmund; hence originate the modern terms the Old or Poetical and New or Prose Edda; in foreign writers Eddic has been ever since used in the sense of plain and artless poetry, such as is contained in these poems, opposed to the artificial, which they call Scaldic (Skald being Icel. for a poet); but this has no foundation in old writers or tradition. Further explanation of this subject may be seen in Ersch and Gruber’s Encyclopedia, S. v. GraagaaS.

Possible runic inscription in Younger Futhark:ᛁᛏᛏᛅ
Younger Futhark runes were used from 8th to 12th centuries in Scandinavia and their overseas settlements

Abbreviations used:

e. g.
exempli gratia.
et cetera.
Iceland, Icelander, Icelanders, Icelandic.
metaphorical, metaphorically.
s. v.
sub voce.

Works & Authors cited:

Edda. (C. I.)
Rígsmál. (A. II.)
Íslenzkir Annálar. (D. IV.)
Grettis Saga. (D. II.)
Lilja. (A. III.)
Magnús Saga jarls. (E. II.)
Uppsala-bók. (C. I.)
➞ See all works cited in the dictionary

Also available in related dictionaries:

This headword also appears in dictionaries of other languages descending from Old Norse.