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Runic Dictionary Entry for:


(OWN: grimmr), m. n. 'chieftain, leader (?)'


This noun is a hapax legomenon (Sö126) and its meaning is somewhat unclear. In ON, the adj. grimmr means ‘heartless’, ‘strict’, ‘wicked’. In the runic material, it appears as the second element in the word folksgrimʀ, ‘grimmʀ of the warriors’. Sophus Bugge (Runverser 161) writes that skaldic poets used the noun gramr (literally ‘wrath’) to mean ‘king’ or ‘warrior’ and that the related adjective grimmr was most likely used in the same way; Svend Grundtvig (1866: 601) also mentions the word in his examples of poetic verse on Swedish runestones. The noun used in a compound has also been recorded as late as the nineteenth century in the Swedish folksong ‘Stolt Herr Alf’ with the meaning ‘leader’:

Hielp nu Oden Asagrim,

Jagh tränger nu til dig kalla,

Óðinn, leader of the Æsir,

I need to call upon you now,

(Arwidsson 1834: 11)

Hübler (1996: 110–12, 179) sees the word as one of three poetic or unusual expressions on Sö126 (the other two: draug orrustu and verða falla).


Sveriges runinskrifter. (3 1, no. 126, p. 94)
ARWIDSSON, Adolf Iwar, ed. 1834–42. En Samling af Kämpavisor, Folk-Visor, Lekar och Dansar, samt Barn- och Vall-Sånger. 3 vols [1. (1834); 2. (1837); 3. (1842)]. Stockholm.
BRATE, Erik, and BUGGE, Sophus. 1887–91. Runverser. Antiqvarisk tidskrift för Sverige 10.
GRUNDTVIG, Svend. 1866. ‘Oldnordisk Litteraturhistorie’, in Historisk Tidsskrift 3. Række 5, pp. 499–618.
HÜBLER, Frank. 1993. ‘Schwedische Runedichtung der Wikingerzeit’. Unpublished Master’s Dissertation. Albert-Ludwigs-Uniwersität zu Freiburg i. Br.

Etymological Dictionary
AEW s.v. ‘grimmr’.
IEW s.v. ‘grimmr’ [p. 398].
ÍO s.v. ‘grimmur’.

ODa. Dictionary
DÆDSO s.v. ‘grimmær’.
Kalkar 1976 s.v. ‘grym (grim)’.

ON Dictionary
LP s.v. ‘grimmr’.
Cleasby and Vigfússon s.v. ‘grimmr’.
Fritzner 1883-1896 s.v. ‘grimmr’.
Heggstad s.v. ‘grimmr’.

OSw. Dictionary
OSM s.v. ‘grymber’.
Schlyter s.v. ‘Grimber’.

Runic Dictionary
Das Runenwörterbuch s.v. ‘KrimY’, ‘FulkskrimY’.
ONF s.v. ‘-grimʀ’.

Word forms and occurrences:

grimmʀ(grimmr),ʀ Sö126

Page last updated:
24 February 2009

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