Antedating of "Viking"

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Wed Mar 20 17:28:03 UTC 2013

I e-mailed John Simpson, the chief editor of the OED, about the "Viking" entry.  His response was that he believed the logic of the OED first edition was that the modern word "Viking" is a loan from Scandinavian and distinct from the Old English "wiking."  He thought it likely that the same logic would be followed when the entry is revised.  This seems to square with Amy's comment about "vikingr."

Fred Shapiro

From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of Amy West [medievalist at W-STS.COM]
Sent: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 9:51 AM
Subject: Re: Antedating of "Viking"

Isn't that one of the problems with the term -- that it's actually
recorded in OE before it's recorded in ON? We have it in BoM and the ASC
(entry for 980 for example), but earliest runestone instance I know of
is U 617 Bro, dated based on style to 990-1010, which is probably pretty
contemporaneous with both the BoM and ASC texts (depending on how you
date those).

What's interesting about Fred's hit is that it's *clearly* modeled on
the ON _vikingr_ rather than the OE _wicing_ (with that Vikinger variant
being given). Fred's hit also is earlier (by only a smidge) of the 19th
century antiquarian interest in things Norse than I expected. . .

And Christine Fell refers to the 1807 instance as the term's
"re-emergence" in English in her article. . .

---Amy West

On 3/20/13 12:00 AM, Automatic digest processor wrote:
> Date:    Tue, 19 Mar 2013 22:39:05 -0400
> From:    Dave Wilton<dave at WILTON.NET>
> Subject: Re: Antedating of "Viking"
> I think we can antedate that by about 800 years.
>  From "The Battle of Maldon" in BL Cotton Otho A. xii, probably written not
> long after the battle itself, which was in 991, lines 25–26a:
> "Þa stod on stæðe,     stiðlice clypode
> wicinga ar."
> (Then there stood on the bank, and fiercely called out
> a messenger of the vikings.)
> Ælfric, in his grammar, also glosses the Latin "pirata" as "wicing oððe
> flotman" (viking or sailor).
> There are lots of other Old English examples of the word.
> Of course, it may not have been used much in the intervening centuries, but
> I suspect that more searching will turn up interdatings.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
> Shapiro, Fred
> Sent: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 8:07 PM
> Subject: Antedating of "Viking"
> Viking (OED 1807)
> 1795 Thomas Pownall_An Antiquarian Romance_  75 (Eighteenth Century
> Collections Online)  These sea-rovers pursued their praedatory enterprizes,
> each Vik, Vikin, or Vikinger, with one separate band, and in his own fleet.
> Fred Shapiro

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