Perfect Old Norse Names For Boys

Perfect Old Norse Names For Boys –

Granted, this is an article about old Norse names for boys, but it is also, in part at least, a continuation of the original article for the Old Norse names for girls. Given the vast nature of the materials and references alone, the articles were growing exceptionally long.

The vikings were harsh with slaves, but their people were largely free to pursue their own interests. Effectively the old Nordic societies were largely egalitarian in nature. While there may not be any evidence of entire battalions of blonde-haired viking warriors, there are a few mentions of the Shield Maidens, Sword Maidens, and many accounts of normal viking women in battle.

There was an interest in the professions available to viking women in particular. In deference to the egalitarian nature of old Scandinavian culture and traditions, we have continued the first article here, though in reality, these were all jobs and even professions that were just as common in most cases, for women as they were for men in the old Nordic realms.

What Were The Common Professions For Nordic People

Despite the rather sparse nature of the landscape, albeit very glorious and scenic at the same time, there were still a surprisingly large number of options for the more adventurous spirits. That is not to say that life was easy for the women or men in the old North. Life was treacherous and tenuous, but there were at least some options.

Many of these professions were important in terms of modern surnames and determining the best Norse names for boys and girls. The names and professions would be carried into the Normandy region of France with the placement of Duke Rollo of Vikings fame. This would result in a distinct Norman French dialect through the linguistic evolution that took place with the introduction of so much of the old Nordic language and culture.

This linguistic evolution would continue for the next two generations, until the grandson of Duke Rollo, William, aka William the Conqueror, aka William the Bastard, aka King William I would lead the Norman conquest of England, making Norman French the official language of the ruling class in 1066, or at least upon his official coronation.

Olde English was spoken from around the time of the Anglo-Saxon conquest of England after the retreat of the Roman empire being introduced circa 450 AD or CE. The Norman Conquest, making Norman French the official language, and being arguably as much a linguistic conquest as an evolution, would introduce many new words into the English language creating the era of the Middle English Language.

In the Domesday Tomes, the requirements set forth by King William I demanded the use of a last name. In the times of the Anglo Saxons, most people did not use last names. The end result was that many commoners chose facetious or humorous last names, while many tradesmen used their trade as a surname.

Arts and Crafts

The Northmen were fine makers of Mead, a honey-based cross between beer and wine, though a bit stronger than most modern beers, at least in some locations. The average alcohol by volume was usually between eight and twenty percent. The mix may also be flavored with the addition of fruits depending on the location, the season, and other local cultures and customs.

In movies, it is common to see mead being scoffed down from drinking horns, and while that may have happened, and even been part of some traditions, it was far from common practice. It would require holders if anyone ever wanted to set their horn down to occupy their hands with other matters.

One of the most unique features of the ceramic ware of the Norsemen was the fact they were the creators of spun pottery and the Potter’s wheel. The pottery may have been roughly shaped, and burned black, but it remains historical.

Stonework was common, most notably in the creation of rune-stones which would be used as memorials to the dead, for religious devotion, or for personal protection and telling one’s own story. Many of the runes can still be found, occasionally being completely new discoveries in the modern era.

Wood was a staple of viking, Scandinavian, and Danish crafts, perhaps best represented by their ships and shields, many of which remain to this day. In fact, the oldest Viking ship ever discovered contained silk cloths, wall hangings, wooden sleighs, and the remnants of two female vikings.

The vikings are perhaps best known for their ornate jewelry and clothing, which became a staple in their trading when they were not raiding. Nordic jewelry has been discovered throughout much of the world. Some may have been lost by vikings who died in battle but most was traded.

Hunters, Farmers And Fishers In Nordic Countries

Farming and fishing would have been responsibilities for virtually everyone in the family, men, women, and children included. Hunting would just as likely have been a necessary skill for any family wishing to store up provisions for the harsh Northern winters.

Farming is a backbreaking and laborious task but necessary for the family to survive throughout the winter months. The larger families may task certain family members with most of the farming duties, but planting and harvesting especially would likely have involved the entire family.

Many of these activities would be undertaken by the entire family, each with their own individual responsibilities of course. Hunting responsibilities may fall to those who were older and more capable of dealing with time out in the surrounding woods, and handling large animals both before and after the hunt.

Packing out the harvest from a moose is not an easy task, even with a sleigh and a proper horse, luxuries only the rich could afford even back then. The care of the fields, including watering and weeding could be handled by younger, less experienced hands.

Fishing was a different matter altogether. Fishing along the coasts would likely have been undertaken by family members, but larger expeditions for the hunting of seals, whales, and large stores of Atlantic Cod would have to be more coordinated.

There are many artifacts including everything from fishing vessels to advanced fishing gear. Despite some surprisingly common misconceptions, not every viking had their own personal ships or even seaworthy boats.

Seals, whales, and even walruses were all fair-game, so perhaps describing them as fishers may be a bit misleading. The walrus tusks were a primary source of ivory long before elephant hunting came into practice. The tusks could be traded, but was more valuable as adornments for jewelry.

Viking Traders

Another common misconception about the Northmen is that when people saw the longboats arriving, they would run in fear. The vikings were as passionate about trading as they were about raiding.

A viking settlement was the original colony occupying what is now Dublin, Ireland. This location served as a base for trading, and entirely new trade routes were established by the vikings. This was in large part responsible for much of the modernization of Ireland at the time.

The vikings may fill the knarr or large, cargo-style ships with goods and wares to serve them in battle. They may also be used for the transportation of goods that would be traded around the world. These may be trinkets and other goods won in battle, but may also have been filled with wonders and treasures created by the vikings themselves.

History does show us that many of the ransoms paid by kings and others to prevent the vikings from raiding their lands included gold, but silver was a much more common metal for making jewelry, which was among the most prized trade-item in some parts of the world. While there are some examples of Viking treasures made with the gold and the ivory from Walrus tusks, silver was much more common.

The vikings would also often trade agricultural goods, including livestock, cereals, grains, and even vegetables. They may sell these items for gold and silver, or may have traded them for other items, such as tools or even luxuries like jewelry and glassware.

Surprisingly perhaps, the vikings were known for their skills as tailors or seamstresses, for cloth sails and viking clothes were also in demand. Anyone who has ever traveled the North Atlantic, even in a modern vessel, can easily imagine how rough the weather would have been on sails.


The modern name of Rune-Masters was not even introduced as a word until the late 1800s, but the profession, or more accurately professions of the Rune-Masters were dominated by males, but also included females. The Rune-master as it is now known, was much more than just a stone-worker carving intricate designs into rocks.

There is an old quote, though no real source has ever been provided, about the importance of understanding associated with the runes. “Let no man carve runes to cast a spell, save first he learn to read them well.” Granted, this has been attributed to numerous sources, but a deeper investigation reveals that none of them have proven to be the real basis for this claim.

There does remain more history about the Runes and their uses however, and the implications are that the individuals who served as rune-masters would have been skilled in many different fields. Obviously, they would need the ability to carve rocks, both large and small, as memorial runes were often quite large, intricately carved, and colorfully painted.

So in addition to carving intricate designs, painting was also required. Would that make the rune-masters little more than artists? What of reading the rune stones and interpreting the messages? Would these people have been similar to modern soothsayers? Runes did not only memorialize the individual, they would be used to determine what fate lie ahead.

This brings spiritual teachings into the field of study for rune-masters, as they would be apparently speaking of the will of the gods, and of the fates that awaited the vikings in their travels and in their lives. Whatever they may have been, it would certainly have been an interesting profession for those that could do it well.

Priests (And Priestesses)

The goði or gothi (plural goðar) were the priests and chieftains in old Norse realms. Gyða signifies a priestess, and the very fact that it is known indicates that there were both men and women who were involved in the more spiritual aspects of Nordic life.

There is a vast claim that the vikings were “Pagans”, which is true to some degree. It should be noted though, that the term Pagan is derived from the Roman Latin word Paganus which was used to refer to anyone that was not a practitioner of Christianity, Judaism, or Islam.

No, Islam was not “invented” in the seventh century, though that was when the religion gained a more popular following, and was ultimately merged into what it would become today. That however, is a subject for a different article.

The Norsemen did not have any formal name for their religious and spiritual beliefs. In an effort to classify, record, and understand the nature of Nordic mythology and worship, the name “Asatro” was granted to the religion in the nineteenth century.

The Nordic religion and spiritual beliefs involved the worship of their gods, as well as the worship of mythological creatures including giants and light and dark elves, and their ancestors as well. There were some commonly held tenets between the different people, but also much more in common.

While it was the job of the priests and priestesses to preach to the people, and to ensure they maintained their faith in good stead, the stories of the gods, goddesses, and even of the mythical creatures, as well as the feats and sagas of the vikings gone before, would be told by Scalds or story-tellers.


Scalds (also skald, or skáld) in the days of the old Scandinavian tribes, would have been part oral historians and part story-teller. Most of the modern examples involve Scaldic poetry, though sagas of the vikings of old were also a grand tradition. The scalds would have been something of a cross between oral historians and modern storytellers.

In this mixed role, the Scalds would serve a meaningful purpose in telling tall tales of tradition and lore, and the importance of performing in the same gallant ways as their ancestors. This could serve beneficially in many different ways.

This would of course serve as a means of moral support for the troops, encouraging them to be brave in their deeds as the tales of their ancestors deeds had been told. It would also serve to remind them of their homes and families, and the reason they battled.

Moreover, it would even be a means by which they ensured they remained steadfast in their faith, and adhered to the tenets of their beliefs. It was held that appeasing the gods was an important part of the plan in order to ensure success in battles and adventures, and even in trade. The Scald served as a sort of reminder of what they were doing and why, and also in many ways, as an entertainer of sorts.

Unlike the scribes in the West, who were busy working by candlelight and tediously copying copious quantities of text by hand, the scalds would accompany the kings, as well as other travelers and adventurers.

Explorers, Adventurers, Traders, and Warriors

The vikings were of course great explorers. There is ample evidence of a viking colony on the North American continent dating as early as 1061. Tales of Eric the Red, and Leif Erickson also tell of travels to “the new world”.

More interesting perhaps, are the tales of the indigenous tribes of the American continent, who speak of the Golden Warriors or Red-haired devils they met in the early days of their people. While this theory remains controversial and contested, there are numerous remains discovered throughout the Americas of red-haired giants, and others who were decidedly Caucasoid in appearance. Could it be that viking warriors and adventurers of old became trapped in the Americas during one of the many shifts of ice-floes and other natural cycles of the North Atlantic routes? It is indeed an interesting point to ponder.

Best Old Norse Names For Boys

Aage – We begin the list of the best old Norse names for boys by giving a nod to the past and history of the Nordic people. This entry from the list of Scandinavian names for boys means someone who is representative of their ancestors. Generally, this indicates someone who will be a positive example of the better qualities associated with the ancestors and their tribal or cultural history.

Amund – This pick comes from the boys names that mean protection and is a compound name of sorts. The name is derived from the original words ag and mundr. Ag is a word that means awe, terror, or fear. Mundr is in itself a word with a double meaning, first meaning the edge of a sword and protection or a protector.

Ansfrid – The name Ansfrid is from the list of boys names related to gods and literally translates into one who is protected by the gods. The name was originally a Norwegian name, but through a natural linguistic evolution within the Nordic region and among the various peoples has been brought into the modern vernacular.

Birger – This is actually one of the few names that was originally a viking name for boys and means to help or to assist. While it was originally a viking name, it has remained most popular in the Germanic nations, and remains uncommon, but popular even as a modern German language name.

Brede – This old Norse name for boys literally translates into the word glacier. The implications of the name may be used to indicate someone who is rugged and capable of surviving even under the harshest conditions. This type of individual would likely be just as at home in an isolated environment as they would be serving the best interests of the people within a community.

Ebbe – This entry is another compound name for boys and has different meanings depending on the roots. In the old Norse category of names this name is derived from the name Asbjørn which literally means a divine or blessed bear. In the Germanic variation of the name it means a boar or one who is wild and untamed.

Eilif – The name Eilif is a name for boys that means immortal, though it may not be meant in a literal fashion. In the old Nordic traditions, ones who accomplished great deeds were often memorialized in songs and sagas, and their tales told and passed down from generation to generation. Thus, they were said to be immortal, but primarily in the sense that they and their deeds would never be forgotten.

Eivind – This selection from the list of baby boy names that mean happy also has additional meanings indicating a good life. The name does mean someone who is happy, but it also indicates someone who is lucky, and will consistently be a winner as well. We could all use a little luck and happiness, and if it happens our way more frequently throughout our lives, all the better.

Elof – This entry from the list of names for male heirs may serve as a more meaningful choice than Junior. The name literally translates as someone who is the sole or only descendant or heir of the parents. It may be an ideal name for those couples who have struggled to have a child but finally been successful in their efforts.

Folkvar – This is another entry from the list of boys names for protectors and is a compound derivative literally meaning a guard or protector of the people. The name may appear to be German at first glance, but the Scandinavian and German languages do share common etymology and histories.

Frode – This pick is from the list of names for boys that mean wise and is itself a word that means just that. There are many modern and even some literary iterations of the name, especially in the German and Slavic languages, with some minor variants in the Old Norse.

Geir – This choice is from the list of male names that mean stone or sand and literally translates into a stone wall in the modern English. This would likely be someone who is stoic, not easily perturbed, and very capable, even when under great duress.

Goran – This old Norse name for boys literally means someone who is a farmer or who otherwise works the earth and soil. It may also be that this person was a provider or caregiver, though that variation is subject to limited interpretations.

Gylfi – This name stems from old Norse mythology and this name was borne by the original king of all Scandinavia. In some versions, the name may also be Gangleri, though this was largely restricted to those times he would wander among his people in disguise. There are other variations in spelling such as Gylve, Gylfe, or Gylvi. Ultimately, the first king of Scandinavia may best be remembered for being tricked by the gods, perhaps as a lesson to ring throughout future generations of kings.

Håvard – This is an old Norse name for boys related to horses, or even the modern cowboy. The meaning of the name is a guardian or defender who defends from on high or from upon their horse. While the tales of the noble Knights of the round table are well-known, many of the knights before the time of the crusades were not so aristocratic, and were difficult to defend against without someone equally well-mounted.

Ingmar – This name was perhaps made most famous in modern times with Ingmar Bergman, a noted film director claimed by some to be among the best, if not the premier movie director of all time. This is a compound name partly from Old Norse mythology. Ing was the Nordic god of fertility, though he may also be known as Ingui or Yngvi. Mar is a derivative of Meri meaning one who is great or famous.

Ivor – Ivar the Boneless may very well have been limited to being an Ivor had he not aspired to greatness. This is a great boys name for warriors and means someone who is an archer or bowman. The tales and feats of the Viking bowman are not often portrayed so prevalently in the movies, but great tales have been told and sung about their deeds and their important role in many viking victories.

Jarle – This is a selection from the list of names for men who would be kings and means someone who is either an earl or a leader of men. The name may also indicate a chieftain or one who is born of nobility in some iterations. In Norse poem entitled Rigsbula, the character Jarl is introduced as the son of the Norse god Rig, and the founder of the viking or warrior class of the Norsemen.

Jokull – This old Norse name for boys means someone who is from the glaciers. This would likely be an exceptionally rugged type of individual, capable of working alone or as part of a larger group. They may do well as a leader, but would likely prefer the ability to select their own team or those people whom they preferred to serve with.

Preben – The final entry for the best Old Norse names for boys has an expansive linguistic history and etymology. This was originally an old Slavic name for boys Pridbor, which became Pridbjørn in the Medieval Danish language, and ultimately would become Preben among the Norsemen. The name means one who is a leader in battle, or at least someone who would be first in the fight. The actual translation may vary based on context and the subject.