HeiðinnOld Norse Dictionary - heiðinn
Meaning of Old Norse word "heiðinn" in English.
As defined by the Cleasby & Vigfusson Old Norse to English dictionary:
- adj. [A. S. hæðen; Engl. heathen; O. H. G. heidan; Germ. heide and heidnisch; Dan. hedensk; this word is prob. derived not from heiðr, a heath, but from Gr. ἐθνικός as used in the n. T.; Ulf. in a single passage, Mark vii. 26, renders γυνὴ Έλληνίς by qino haiþno; it is even possible that the eccl. paganus, which, according to Du Cange, only appears after A. D. 365, may be merely a translation of the Teutonic word under the notion that haiþan was derived from haiþi = a heath, open country (Gr. ἀγρός, Lat. pagus): then, as haiþi was pronounced much like ἔθνος, the true etymology of heiðinn was lost; and so the long vowel and the aspirated initial may be accounted for. To the worshippers of Thor and Odin the name heathen was unknown; Christians were the first that used the word, and we meet with it first in Hkm. of Eyvind, who speaks of heiðin goð, heathen gods; heiðinn stallr, a heathen altar, Kristni S., by the missionary Þorvald, A. D. 982; it is also used by Hallfred and Sighvat; heiðinn dómr, heathendom, Sighvat; heiðnar stjörnur, heathen stars, Sól.: the verse in Ísl. ii. 50 is spurious (as are all the verses of that Saga); so also the verses in Landn. 84 (Hb.), and in Bergbúa-þáttr, where the word heiðinn is put into the mouth of a ghost and a giant, in songs which are merely a poetical fiction of later timeS. The word heiðingi for wolf is curious: probably it is merely a metaph. phrase from heiðinn, gentilis, and if so, it gives an additional evidence to the age of the poem Atla-kviða; which poem, from its nickname the ‘Greenlandish,’ cannot be older than the discovery of Greenland, A. D. 985]:—heathen, gentilis, ethnicus, the Sagas passim, esp. Nj. ch. 101–106, Kristni S., Ó. T., Ó. H., etc.: a child not christened was in olden times called heathen, n. G. l. i. 340; heiðit morð, the murder of an infant not christened, 339: in mod. Icel. usage, a boy or girl before confirmation is called heathen; this improper use of the word is caused by a confusion between baptism and confirmation: so in Norway a woman between child-birth and churching is called heathen (Ivar Aasen).
Possible runic inscription in Younger Futhark:ᚼᛁᛁᚦᛁᚾᚾ
Younger Futhark runes were used from 8th to 12th centuries in Scandinavia and their overseas settlements
- A. D.
- Anno Domini.
- A. S.
- et cetera.
- Iceland, Icelander, Icelanders, Icelandic.
- metaphorical, metaphorically.
- O. H. G.
- Old High German.
➞ See all works cited in the dictionary
Works & Authors cited:
- Hauks-bók. (H. IV.)
- Hákonar-mál. (A. III.)
- Ivar Aasen
- Ivar Aasen’s Dictionary, 1850.
- Kristni S.
- Kristni Saga. (D. I. III.)
- Landnáma. (D. I.)
- N. G. L.
- Norges Gamle Love. (B. II.)
- Njála. (D. II.)
- N. T.
- New Testament.
- Ó. H.
- Ólafs Saga Helga. (E. I.)
- Ó. T.
- Ólafs Saga Tryggvasonar. (E. I.)
- Sólarljóð. (A. III.)
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This headword also appears in dictionaries of other languages descending from Old Norse.