Old Norse Words in the Norman Dialect

By Arnaud Le Fèvre

Norman Word

Meaning in English

Old Norse (origin)

acllaumpaer to tie together, to fix klampi (hook, peg)
acre acre akr (field, harvest); åker in N, acker, yacker in Y
agrap bait which is thrown on snow catch birds grípa (to catch)
agrès (MF) tackle (Naut) greði
amain of easy use almanna (for everyone)
arrimer (MF) to stow (Naut) rýma
atori stained, mouldy torr (ruined)
bâbord (MF) port side (Naut) bakborði
badaé soaked, covered with mud baða (to bathe)
bar stretcher bera (to bear)
bardeau (MF) (Naut) barði
bateau (MF) boat bátur
bau beam * bjalkr
beaupré (MF) bowsprit (Naut) bógsproti
bec stream bekkr; beck in Y, bekk in N
bécard, béquerel lamb above 1 year bekri (ram)
bédière, bédot bad bed beðr (bed, litter)
ber cradle bera (to bear)
betas yard (Naut) OD betàs; beiti-áss in Ic
bette fishing bait beita
bie kind of jug biða (little wood container)
bingue round wicker basket with two handles bingr (container)
bitaer to touch bíta (to bite)
bitte (MF) pillar to fasten boats (Naut) biti
blikyi to squint blíkja (to shine, to glitter)
bllêque overripe bleikr (pale); blek (idem) in N, blake (sallow, yellow complexion) in Y
bord (MF) board (Naut) borð
bouline (MF) bowline (Naut) bóglína
brague vivacious, noisy braka (to crackle)
brant sharp prow (Naut) brandr (spur)
brayer (MF) kind of rope (Naut) bræða
brier to knead briðja (to grind, to break, to chew vigorously) or Germanic brekan
bru bride, daughter-in-law brúðr (bride)
bruman bridegroom, son-in-law brúðmaðr (bridegroom)
brûquet brisket brjósk (cartilage); briùsk in OD
bu(t)/bye, beuf shed (now usually found as part of a place name) búð
buret, buron piggery, little shed búr (lean-to, little shed)
canne copper container to carry milk *kanna (container to put on a table, a big cup); N kanne
carlingue (MF) cabin (Naut) OD karling
catouilli to tickle **kittla; kittle in Y, kile in N
célin, célan pilchard, kind of sardine which is used to bait síld (herring)
cingler (MF) to make for (Naut) sigla
cliu little piece of fabric klútr (scarf)
cllapâodaer to dabble * ?; klappe (to apply quickly, to put down quickly, to slap with the hand) in N, clap (idem) in Y
colin (MF) hake (fish) koli
coque, coqueron hay heap which is let dry in a field kökkr (heap), cock (idem) in Y
cotte; cottin; cotie little shed; little house; row of houses kot (little house)
crabe (MF) crab krabbi
craque (f. noun) crow, sloe (in relation with the plumage color of the bird) kráka (f. noun : crow); kråke in N (idem), crake in Y; ON krækiber (small black berries), N krækjeber/kråkeber (idem)
crax kind of little bird (Saxicola torquata) kráka (crow); kråke in N (idem), crake (idem) in Y
crique (MF) creek kriki (little bay)
dale valley dalr; dal in N, dale in Y
dalle drain, sink which is carved in stone dæla (trench, trough, gutter)
dalot (MF) hole inside a boat to evacuate water (Naut) dæla (trench, trough, gutter)
dam marsh area dammr (water reserve)
dégréer (MF) to unrig (Naut) greiða
delle ploughed piece of land deill
dic(k) dyke díki
doque, dogue, doche a plant which leaf is used to ease nettle stings dokka; ådocka in Swedish, docken in Y
drague waders * draga (to drag)
dran (MF) (Naut) drendr
dranet fishing net which is draged dragnet (draga (to drag) and net (net))
drôle imaginary being which is able to frighten, goblin, troll tröll
ebbe ebb tide * OD ebbe
écalle banquet hall (now usually found as part of place names) skáli; * scale (pasture, summer dwelling) in Y
écanchoun scraggy skakkr (tilted, unequal, wrung)
écart (MF) (Naut) skarfr
écarver (MF) (Naut) skarfa
éclo horse hoof track slóð (track)
écomaunt disgusting skömm (shame)
écoraer to count dried fish skora (to mark)
écore steep band (along a river) skor (crak, precipice); * scar, scaur (idem) in Y
écoute (MF) rope which is fastened on the sail bottom corners to fix and adjust its orientation (Naut) skaut
écrède scale * skreið (fish shoal, dried fish)
égrillaer, grillaer to slide skriðla; OS skrilla (to skate)
élingue (MF) sling slyngva
élinguer (MF) to sling (to load a parcel) (Naut) slyngva
élugi to stun, to exhaust, drunk lÿjask (to be tired)
embarni to make a woman pregnant barna (idem); barn (young child in Y, under 13 years in N)
enfétounnaer to fasten the cows to prevent them from eating the apples in the apple-trees festr (rope)
équiper (MF) to equip (Naut) skipa
eskei easy to drive ship of little size (Naut) skeið
eskipre seaman skipari (sailor)
esnèque easy to drive ship of little size (Naut) snekkja
esquif (MF) little ship (Naut) skip
est (MF) east austur
estague stay (Naut) stag
estière helm (Naut) stýri
estran shore * strönd
estrenc rope (Naut) strengr
esturman pilot, steersman (Naut) stýrimaðr (steersman)
étac heap stakkur
étalingue (MF) chain which is bound with the anckor (Naut) staglína
étambot (MF) piece of wood or metal which forms the rear limit of the hull (Naut) stafn-borð
étambrai (MF) (Naut) timbr
étigot piece of wood which sticks out **stigi (ladder); stige (ladder, stile, fence) in N, stee, stey (idem) in Y
étoc tree trunc stokkr (tree trunc, log)
étrave (MF) big building piece, longitudinal or median, at fhe forward part of the boat keel (Naut) stafn
étui (MF) canvas which wraps up the sail or covers up the boat (Naut) stæðingr
ey island (now found as suffix in island names) ey; ey in Y, øy in N
eyaer to see, to observe, to put an eye eygja (to see, to look at); related to auga (eye)
falle bird crop, chest, stomac falr (hole inside which is put the stick to fix a spear)
feste kind of rope (Naut) festr (rope)
fiaée big amount fé (herd)
finaer to find finna
flâner (MF) to stroll flana (to act hastilly and carelessly)
flleu, fleur bay, marsh (now usually found as suffix in place names) flói
fllie kind of sea shell same origin as Faeroean flidha
flliet little stream fljót (stream)
fllique piece of bread or meat flikki (bacon rasher)
fllo herd flokkr (group, troop)
fllonaer to get angry, to irritate flóna (to heat up, usually milk)
fllot; flot (MF) flood flóð
fllotte (à) afloat á floti
fllouette, fllouet weather cock fluga (fly)
flloundre plaice (fish) OD flundra ; flynder in Danish; flyðra in Ic
flotte (MF) fleet (Naut) floti
forlenc groop of furrows of a certain width (Agric) from AS : furlang in OE
furolles will-o’-the-wisp * fýri (fire)
gade, grade currant gaddr (thorn)
gales joys, festivities gala (to sing)
galetaer to shiver with cold kaldr (cold)
gardin garden garðr; Y garth.
gare river bank vör or Frankish warôn
gate way, street, narrow passage gata; gate (way, street) in Y, gata (street) in N
gaupaillaer to eat gluttonously * gapa (to open wide the mouth) or gúlpa (to chew with the mouth full); gape (idem) in N, gawp (idem) in Y
génotte, gernotte little plant (Conopodium majus) which underground tuber is edible jarðhnot (earth (jar) nut (hnot)); jordnøtt in N
gloe log glóð (glowing embers)
gnaquaer to bite ** gnaga (to gnaw)
gord fishery made with 2 rows of poles, on a river ground, closed with a net garðr (fence)
goubelin imaginary being which is able to frighten, goblin, troll ?; goblin in English
gravaer to pierce, to mark with pox grafa (to dig); ** graave in Y
gréer (MF) to rig (Naut) greiða (to fit out, to get ready)
greillot hook to hitch up greiða (to fit out, to get ready)
grou liquid manure **gróf (hole); grop (drain) in N, groop (liquid manure drain) in Y
grunne rocky sea bed which uncovers rarely grunn
guaunchaer to go ganga
guenette, guenipe
(gouine in French)
bad life woman, lesbian kvinna (woman)
guilledou (courir le) (MF) to look for love affairs (and to run “hunting” like a wolf for this) kveldúlfr (evening-wolf)
guindas, guindeau (MF) little capstan with an horizontal axis (Naut) vindáss
guinder (MF) to pull up via a pulley and a rope (Naut) vinda
little shark (fish) hár
hague red bay of howthorn hag (from hagthorn : hawthorn)
hague open meadow hagi
hagui to chop OD hagga; Ic höggva (to hit with an axe)
haler (MF) to haul in, to tow (Naut) hala
hammaer to row to move back (Naut) hamla
han plant which lives along the river banks (with long roots) hampr (hemp)
hanequaer to tighten strongly the rolled up sail (Naut) hankar (hank)
hangar (MF) warehouse heimisgarðr (home); OD heimsgarðr
har hair hár
harousse old horse, old mare hross (horse or mare)
harpaer, happaer to grap, to catch * harpa (to grip, to pinch)
hâtie hate hata (to hate)
haubaner (MF) to fix with cables (Naut) höfuð-benda
have, havenet shrimp or bird net háfr (net) and net (net)
havetâoque little octopus from haf (sea), means “sea pocket”
havette (bête -; f. noun) fantastic animal who attracts children in the bottom of the waters háfr (net) or hafkitta (f. noun : big creature living in the sea)
havre (MF) haven höfn; OD hafn (port)
havroun wild oat hafri (oat); havre (idem) in N, haver (idem) in Y
hel tiller (Naut) OD helm; hjálmr (helm) in Ic
herquette rake herkja (to roam)
hétier big flat pan * heitr (burning, hot)
heune head, top (Naut) húnn
hore, horette young girl hóra (hore)
hougue mound, hill haugr
houle (MF) swell hola (hollow)
houlle round hill (now found in place names) hóll
houlme, houme, homme islet hólmi
houmard lobster humarr
houole (f. noun) cavity, hole, cavity inside rocks hola (f. noun : hole)
houvelin spider crab * hófr (hoof)
houvet sort of crabe * hófr (hoof)
hovelland the place where the furrows stop on perpendicular furrows (Agric) from AS : heafodland in OE
hublot (MF) porthole (Naut) húfa
hus house (now found as suffix in place names) hús
itague (MF) (Naut) útstag
jaumière (MF) (Naut) hjálm
jinganne (de) askew vingla (to confuse) or vingladhr (confused)
lague specy, race lag (order, position, community, law)
land land (now found as suffix in place names) land
lanet net which tightened lagnet (leggja (to lay) and net (net))
lâonaer to stroll * lúinn (tired, exhausted)
leican simpleton (simple minded) * leika (to play); laik, lek (idem) in Y, lek (idem) in N
liban (MF) (Naut) lík-band
lieu (MF) pollock, coley (fish) lýðrr
lige free, independant, empty * ?; ligge (to stay, to lie down) in N, lig, ligg (idem) in Y
lingue (MF) kind of fish lyng-fiskr
londe grove lundr
loure norman bagpipe or kind of bag lúðr (kind of horn)
mâove sea bird már, plur. mávar
marsouin (MF) porpoise marsvín (kind of whale)
mat (MF) mast (Naut) mastr
matenot companion mötunautr or Dutch mattenot
melgreux grass which grows on sand dunes from melr (dune) and græs (grass); melgresi in Ic
melle ring which is used to fix an animal mella (slipknot)
merque mark, track, particularity merki
mielle sand dune mellr (-mel(l)(s) as a placename element in Scandinavian England, e.g., Ingoldmells (Lincolnshire)
minchi to break, to spoil * minnka (to diminish)
mucre, muque mould mygla (same sens) ou mykr (manure); muck (manure) in Y, møkk (manure, dirt) in N
mulaer (se) to sulk múli (mouth)
naquettaer to have one’s teeth chattering gnötra (the same, due to a mortal desease) or nötra (to shiver)
nez (MF) cape nes; ** ness in Y
nord (MF) north norður
orfi kind of thin and long fish hornfiskr
ouaiche, houage (MF) wake (Naut) vök
ouest (MF) west vestur
ouinaer to cry veina (to moan)
oure rocky and uncultivated slope urð (heap of stones fallen from a hill side)
pouque bag, sack poki; poke in Y, pakke (paquet, parcel) in N
quille (MF) keel (Naut) kjölr
racage (MF) collar which is put around the mast to diminish a yard friction (Naut) rakki
rade straight avenue, straight alley raða (to align, to put in order)
ralingue (MF) rope which reenforces the sail edges (Naut) rálik
raque perced bowl which is used to make a “racage” (Naut) rakki (“racage”)
raquer (MF) (Naut) raka (to rake hay)
raquillon hay scrap which is eaten by the cattle, pear or apple core rask (scrap)
raun king of sea shell, young ram under 2 years ram (ram)
raz (MF) strong current in a narrow passage which links two seas rás (current, channel)
rêquaer, rêchaer to pick up the last fruits * rekja (to extend) or raka (to rake hay)
reuchin round trip, course hringr (ring)
ridet male hare * riða (verb which describes the mating of a male animal, moreover of the horse)
rimée hoarfrost hrím
ringuenaie round dance hringr (ring)
riper (MF) to let slide (Naut) rispa
ris (MF) part of the sail where are the ties which allow to decrease the sail surface (Naut) rif
rogue, roque fish eggs hrogn
rohal walrus rosmhvalr (rosm = red, red-brown)
ronchaint field round hring (ring)
rouf (MF) roof deck which does not extent on all the ship surface (Naut) hróf
sigle sail (Naut) segl (same meaning) or sigla (to set sail)
sombrer (MF) to sink (Naut) sumla
sud (MF) south suður
sund strait, passage (Naut) sund
supaer to suck up súpa
talputte fish which is found in the puddles from pyttr (puddle)
tanguer (MF) to pitch (Naut) tangi
taungoun kind of seaweed (long, brown, on rocky shores) þang
thuit cleared area þveit
tialz tent which is pitched on a ship board at moorage (Naut) tiald
tierre chain or rope which is used to fix an animal to a post tjóðr
tillac (MF) upper desk on a ship (Naut) þilja
tille (MF) (Naut) þilja
tilli to split, to shop, to prune telgja (to shop with a knife or an axe)
tolet (MF) cylindrical piece around which a moving element pivots (Naut) þollr
tondre tinder tundr
torve peat torf, torfa
tôt (m. noun) farm tóft (f. noun)
touer (MF) to tow (Naut) toga
tourp isolated farm, hamlet (now found in place names) þorp (village, a clearing in the forest in Proto-Nordic); torp in N, thorp(e), torp, trop (hamlet; now found in place names) in Y
tribord (MF) starboard (Naut) OD stíorbordh; Ic stjórnbordhi
tro kneading-trough trog
trutaé curdled þrútna (to rise, to swell)
tun enclosed meadow (now found as sufix in place names) tún
ullac outlaw útlagi
vague (MF) wave vágr
vamôque poppy valmogi; valmoghe in OS
varangue (MF) on a boat, 2 component piece in the lower part of a torque (Naut) OD vrang; Ic röng
varou werwolf varúlfr
vâtre mess, messy water * vatn (water)
vélingue kind of seaweed vringla (to roll up)
vendinc place where the plough is turned (Agric) from AS : wending in OE
vibord (MF) (Naut) vígi-borð
vic (MF) bay vík
videco woodcock vidhkokkr (vidhr (wood) and kokkr (cock))
viquet wicket víkjask (to slip away)
virewite, virouette weather cock veðr-viti
volle round hill (now found as suffix in place names) hvóll
vrek, vrak, vré wrack (seaweed) reki or vágrek, OD vrek

* : words for which there is strong evidence of old Norse origin, but need confirming.
** : words for which there is no strong evidence but which are likely to have old Norse origins.

ON old Norse.
OD old Danish.
OS old Swedish.
MF modern French (mots normands passés dans le français).
AS Anglo-Scandinavian (from Danelag/Danelaw).
OE old English.
N Norwegian.
Ic Icelandic.
Y Yorkshire.
Naut nautical term.
Agric agricultural term.
The Norman “ll” following a consonant is pronounced “li”; e.g. : “fllot” is pronounced “fliot”.


Bernage G., in Heimdal, n°29, Bayeux, 1984.
Boimare, J. and Boëmare, J-M., in Heimdal, n°39, Bayeux, 1979.
de Gorog, R. P., The Scandinavian Element in French and Norman, New-York, 1958.
Mabire, J., Légendes Traditionnelles de Normandie, 1997.
Renaud, J., Les Vikings et la Normandie,1989.

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