As defined by the Cleasby & Vigfusson Old Norse to English dictionary:
mar-mennill Old Norse word can mean:
- m., thus Landn. 76, 77; mar-mandill, FaS. ii. 31 (thrice); in popular mod. usage in Icel., mar-bendill; the Hauksbok (Landn. l. c.) spells it margmelli; whence the mod. Norse marmæle, Ivar Aasen:—prop. a ‘sea-mannikin,’ a kind ot sea goblin or sea dwarf, in the Norse fairy taleS. The marmennil is now and then hooked by fishermen; being a soothsayer, he tells them what is to happen. The classical passages in oid Icel. writers are the Hálf’s S. ch. 7 and the Landn. 2, ch. 5; for mod. times see Maurer’s VolkS. 31, 32, as also Ísl. ÞjóðS. i. 131–134. Inseparable from these tales is the merman’s ‘laughter;’ he generally laughs thrice, e. g. the king kisses the queen, beats his dog, and stumbles over and curses the mound, at each of which the merman laughs; and being asked why, he says that he laughs at the king’s foolishness, for the queen is false, but the dog is true and will save his life, and in the mound there is a hidden treasure; hence, þá hló marbendill, then the merman laughed, has in Icel. become proverbial of a sudden, unreasonable, and spiteful fit of laughter. The coincidence with the English legend of Merlin the ‘wild man’ in the romance of Merlin, (edited by the Early Engl. Text Soc. 1869, p. 434,) is very striking; and one is tempted to suggest that the name Merlin may have been borrowed from the Norse sea goblin (who in Norwegian tales is said to be the bastard of the sea monster hafstramb and a mermaid), and tacked on to the Welsh legend: even the word has a Norse or Teutonic sound: Merlin may well be shortened from the dimin. mer-mann-lin, mer-m’lin, merlin: according to the Pref. to this Engl. romance the name is not found attached to the Welsh legend till the 12th century.
- COMPDS: marmendilssmíði, marmendilsþari.
Possible runic inscription in Younger Futhark:ᛘᛅᚱ-ᛘᛁᚾᚾᛁᛚᛚ
Younger Futhark runes were used from 8th to 12th centuries in Scandinavia and their overseas settlements
- e. g.
- exempli gratia.
- Iceland, Icelander, Icelanders, Icelandic.
- l. c.
- loco citato.
- proper, properly.
Works & Authors cited:
- Fornaldar Sögur. (C. II.)
- Ivar Aasen
- Ivar Aasen’s Dictionary, 1850.
- Ísl. Þjóðs.
- Íslenzkar Þjóðsögur.
- Landnáma. (D. I.)
Also available in related dictionaries:
This headword also appears in dictionaries of other languages descending from Old Norse.