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On the etymology of compounded Old Icelandic Óðinn names with the second component -foðr
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Scandinavian Languages.
2008 (English)In: Scripta Islandica: Isländska Sällskapets Årsbok, ISSN 0582-3234, E-ISSN 2001-9416, no 59, 93-120 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A group of Old Icelandic Óðinn names are known to contain the second component -foðr, the etymology of which has been subject to some discussion. In the present study, an etymology presented by Hollifield (1984), according to which -foðr is to be understood as cognate with Greek -pátōr, is considered superior to the alternative suggestions. A problem with this etymology is discerned: Greek compounds in -pátōr are possessive, whereas the -foðr compounds are traditionallt regarded as endocentrics. An attempt is therefore made to interpret each of the known -foðr compounds as possessive. The method employed consists of testing tentative semantic possibilities with reference to the mythological account of Óðinn and his ancestry given in Snorra Edda. The study does not yield any conclusive results, but it is found that an interpretation of Alfoðr as a possessive compound meaning 'having a forefather who is (grown) big' enjoys remarkable support from the account given in Snorra Edda of Óðinn's ancestry, where his grandfather Buri is described as "beautiful in appearance, big and powerful" (Edda 1987: 11). For the remaining compounds, it is suggested that they might have been formed through free combination of the second component -foðr with first components gathered from other dithematic Óðinn names, thus lacking a semantic relationship between the components.

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Uppsala: Swedish Science Press , 2008. no 59, 93-120 p.
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-111344OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-111344DiVA: diva2:280675
Available from: 2009-12-10 Created: 2009-12-10 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved

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Strandberg, Mathias

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