Dictionaries of Old Norse

The standard English-language dictionary of Old Icelandic is "Cleasby-Vigfusson": 

Cleasby, Richard. 1957. An Icelandic-English dictionary, subsequently revised, enlarged, and completed by Guđbrand Vigfusson. 2nd ed, with a supplement by William A. Craigie. Oxford: OUP. HOLLIS Record. As part of the Germanic Lexicon Project, an early version of Cleasby-Vigfusson has been digitized and made available online.

A compact resource based on Cleasby-Vigfusson is Geir T. Zoëga, A concise dictionary of Old Icelandic (Oxford, 1910). HOLLIS Record

The standard lexicon for Old Norse scholarship is Johan Fritzner, Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog (3 vols., Kristiania & Chicago, 1886-1896). HOLLIS Record. A searchable version of Fritzners ordbog is available online.

Still under production is the multi-volume Ordbog over det norrøne prosasprog (= A dictionary of Old Norse prose), a project of the Arnamagnæan Commission at the University of Copenhagen. ONP covers the vocabulary of Old Norse prose transmitted in Icelandic and Norwegian manuscripts, including original or translated stories, laws, letters and other documents, with explanations in Danish and English. HOLLIS Record. Aids for using the dictionary are available on the ONP website.

For a concise dictionary of Old Norse prose, see Walter Baetke, Wörterbuch zur altnordischen Prosaliteratur (2. Aufl., Berlin, 1976). HOLLIS Record

A practical lexical aid for study of the Poetic Edda is Beatrice La Farge & John Tucker, Glossary to the Poetic Edda: based on Hans Kuhn's Kurzes Wörterbuch (Heidelberg, 1992). HOLLIS Record

For advanced study of Old Norse poetry, an important lexical resource is Finnur Jónsson, Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog (2d. udg., 1931). HOLLIS Record

Etymological Resources for Old Norse

The standard etymological dictionary of Old Norse is Jan de Vries, Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch (2 Aufl., Brill, 1962), although it is in many ways outdated and often unreliable in its Indo-European reconstructions. HOLLIS Record

Informed by a modern understanding of Indo-European and Germanic linguistics, the most reliable source for Norse etymologies is Rosemarie Lühr, Die Gedichte des Skalden Egill (Roll, 2000). Although incomplete, this study treats much of the basic lexicon. HOLLIS Record

More detailed and up-to-date etymological coverage may be available for Old Norse words, but finding it involves further steps as well as a knowledge of German.  First, search for the etymology of the Old Norse word in the etymological dictionary by De Vries listed above, then look to see if the ON word has a cognate (related form) in Old High German (OHG) (= Althochdeutsch (AHD)). Then check the entry for the OHG cognate in the Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Althochdeutschen [Etymological Dictionary of Old High German], where comprehensive etymological treatment may be available. HOLLIS Record

Subject Guide