How to Curse in Norse

Hon madr roman therva Kuaran
(Your mother wears Roman soldier shoes)

by Nara no Jebu

* Editor's note: because of space, this article was shortened, especially in the listing of Nordic words. Consult the sources listed in the last issue under "Norse Names" to improve your vocabulary.

Every good Northman, barbarian or Seaman should know a good curse or three, and in his home tongue. In the Society we all tend to ignore our home tongues for the "common" we speak now, but that is one of the reasons we're Creative Anachronists not Anarchists.

It gives a feeling of periodness to spit at an opponent's feet and say gutturally "Meyla krafla mikli thur syr" or "child born of a long dead sow", and slam down your helmet. I myself have led a few melee charges yelling "Swina bqllr!" (pig penises) and pointing at the enemy.

Here are some phrases in Norse/English for your use, or you can make your own from the list at the end of this article.

This one is my favorite for personal combat: I hope you many Northmen can use this lesson in language, even if it is for the purpose of insults. In the saga of Eyrbygga Snarrasonar, Eyrbygga beat a warrior of consumate skill by cursing him while they fought, causing him to get angry and make mistakes. Eigil, in his saga, cursed a bersserker until he was so mad he began to chew on his shield, and with a mighty kick, Eigil drove the shield up though the berserker's skull. Grettis Asmundarsonar cursed an unknown (at the time) warrior from across a river. When they meet, the man is so impressed by his courage, he gives Grettis a long boat and later you find out he was a Hertodi, or the equivalent of a duke.

In the Middle Kingdom I witnessed a fight between two Norsemen, which lasted ten minutes and each minute had about 20 blows. From the time of the "lay on" until the bloody end they called each other everything from "drinker of sheep's piss" to "eater of Axemoor food" (honest!).

Here are some solitary words so you can put together your own memorable curses or use singly for effect.

alicarlfat churl, fatsobacrautasshole
baulufotrcow footbeiskaldigripe, bitch
blatqnnblack toothblotheathen
bqllrball, glans penisbraudnefrbreadnose
brusihe-goatburlufotrclumsy foot
daufideaf-mute, stupiddofnidopey
galtiboar (wild)gargansnake
gaugbrojotrgrave robbergelliryeller, screamer
hauknefrhawknosehausakljufrskull cleaver
hladhqndclean handshqfdihead
hrafnasueltirraven starver (coward)hrodisnot
inobornaunbornistrumagifat gut
kamphundrcarrion eaterkerlingold hag
kuensamiskirt chaserledrhalsleather neck
lodinkinnishaggy hairlqngubakfishbelly
matarillifood stingymeinfretrstinkfart
merrmaremeylalittle girl
miklimunnrbig, loud mouthmjonefrstingy, thin nose
murtra small fishmusamouse
oflatidandy, gaudy personormstungaserpent tongue
oskilgetinnborn out of wedlockqlfussdrunkard
skirjayoung cowskreyjaincompetent
slefjadribblertika female dog

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