Where does the word “Viking” come from and What does Viking mean in Old Norse and Icelandic?

The word Viking is found in Anglo-Saxon, with the spelling wicing, as early as the eighth century, but, curiously, it is not found in modern English until the early nineteenth century, having been introduced then from the Norwegian vikingr.

However, the evidence indicates that it was the Anglo-Saxon term that was the earliest ancestor, having been formed from wic, “camp.”

The name was apparently formed because of the practice of the vikings to set up temporary encampments while carrying out a raiding expedition.

The word was adopted into the various Scandinavian languages and, in Old Norse and Icelandic, acquired the meaning of “the practice of piracy.”

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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