Would you use a Norse name for your child?

Despite their tough historical image. many Norse names are gentle. All are perceptive. Myths and legends reveal names, many of which are still in use today. Interestingly, research reveals more male Viking names than female ones. Was this early sexism – the exploits of the male warriors being more noteworthy than the supportive role of the Viking female?

To give a baby boy a Norse name of Thor may be rather extreme. Alternatively, could you name a girl Eir meaning “mercy” (derived from the goddess of medicine and healing) perhaps?

There are Norse names in common usage that we may not recognise as such. Ingrid is Norse in origin referring to “god or beautiful woman” and Freya means “noble woman” (originally the goddess of fertility and love).

The most frequently occurring Viking name in the USA is actually Eric. This is derived from the son of Eric the Red who reportedly reached the shores of America five centuries before Columbus! The name means “eternal ruler/forever strong” and Erica is the female counterpart.

Olivia and Livana (Liv) have Norse origins meaning “life”. Despite the warrior myths, there are many male Viking names of quite pedestrian origin: Aros for example means “from the mouth of the river” and Garth originates from “someone who works in a garden”.