As defined by the Cleasby & Vigfusson Old Norse to English dictionary:
- m. [O. H. G. mistil; Germ. mistel; A. S. mistel or mislel-tâ; Engl. mistletoe]:—the mistletoe or mistle-twig, the fatal twig by which Balder, the white sun-god, was slain, see Vsp. 36 sqq., and the legend in Edda 36, 37. After the death of Balder the Ragnarök (the last day of the heathen mythology) set in. Balder’s death was also symbolical of the victory of darkness over light, which comes every year at midwinter. The mistletoe in English households at Christmas time is, no doubt a relic of a rite lost in the remotest heathenism, for the fight of light and darkness at midwinter was a foreshadowing of the final overthrow in Ragnarök. The legend and the word are common to all Teutonic people of all ageS.
Possible runic inscription in Younger Futhark:ᛘᛁᛋᛏᛁᛚ-ᛏᛁᛁᚾᚾ
Younger Futhark runes were used from 8th to 12th centuries in Scandinavia and their overseas settlements
- A. S.
- O. H. G.
- Old High German.
Works & Authors cited:
- Edda. (C. I.)
- Völuspá. (A. I.)
Also available in related dictionaries:
This headword also appears in dictionaries of other languages descending from Old Norse.