Are you searching for a cool Viking name for your little warrior? Look no further. Here is a list of popular choices, from the Viking Age itself and from more recent times.
Welcome, curious explorer, to the Viking Age, where names were not just a means of identification but often symbols of power, destiny, and myth. The names born by warriors, explorers and Kings have traveled across oceans of time.
In this article, we delve into the rich heritage of Viking names, each carrying the weight of stories untold and battles fought. These names are relics of a time when the northmen roamed the seas, their legacies etched into Nordic history.
Whether you seek inspiration for a new life entering the world, a character in your latest creative endeavour, or simply wish to satisfy a thirst for knowledge, this compilation of Norse-inspired names is your vegvesir.
Why choose a Viking name?
We can see from the number of people reading this article since it was first published that more people than ever before are searching for a Norse-inspired name for their new creatures. That includes children, by the way!
Naming your new arrival is a difficult and highly personal choice. No-one should say what's right and what's wrong, although there are some banned names in Norway. While that may seem excessive, it's with good reason.
Scandinavian names are popular and not just in the Nordic region. That goes for modern names but also names that were popular or have been inspired by the Viking Age.
Perhaps it’s because Norway frequently tops the charts as the happiest country in the world, or because current pop-culture has made cool Viking names so in-demand.
Whatever the reason for the sudden international popularity, many Norse-inspired names remain popular Scandinavian names to this day. Most have moved in and out of fashion to varying degrees over the years.
We've pulled together a list, albeit not exhaustive, that won't give your adorable little Viking an axe to grind. Discover names that have stood the test of time, their meanings as profound today as they were a millennium ago. From the halls of Valhalla to the serene Norwegian fjords, join us on a voyage to uncover the enduring allure of Viking names.
Popular female Viking names
In no particular order, here are some of the most popular women's viking names from the era. Many have their roots in the names of Norse goddesses and some even have come back into fashion in recent years as popular baby girl names in Norway.
So if you have a little girl on the way or you're searching for a name for your Norse-inspired artwork, look no further.
Not a name that's unique to the Viking era, but Astrid is still a cracker of a name for your favourite little princess. Derived from Old Norse roots, Astrid means ‘godly strength' or ‘divinely beautiful.'
Its origins point to the ancient Viking belief in divine entities, underscoring the name's roots in a culture that admired strength and beauty in equal measure. The name is popular today, helped by the fame of singer, Astrid S. Her success has brought the name back into the limelight, further enhancing its contemporary appeal.
The name continues to be a preferred choice among the royal families in Scandinavia, reflecting a history steeped in tradition.
The use of Astrid among royals not only signifies its aristocratic undertone but also its continued resonance in the modern era. The persistence of Astrid in these circles is a testament to the enduring strength and beauty this name conveys, echoing the Viking values from which it originated.
Freya, an enchanting moniker drawn from ancient Norse language, means ‘lady' or ‘noble woman.' As a name, it embodies an air of regality and sophistication, making it an appealing choice for those intrigued by the richness of Norse mythology.
For students of Norse mythology, the name Freya would instantly spring to mind when contemplating powerful female figures. Freya was not just any goddess in the Norse Pantheon; she was a principal deity, renowned for her beauty.
She was a multifaceted figure, revered and cherished by the Vikings. This reverence adds a layer of profound meaning and respect to the name, making it a choice that is both historically significant and contemporarily compelling.
Freya is a name that resonates globally, and its widespread adoption testifies to its enduring charm. For instance, it has found favour among owners of female Siberian huskies worldwide. It's an apt name for such a strong, beautiful breed, reflective of the goddess's enduring qualities of grace, strength, and allure.
Further cementing its importance, a stunning statue of Freya graces the cityscape of Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. This statue, standing tall and proud on Djurgården Bridge, is not merely an emblem of the city's rich heritage. It is also a visual reminder of the grandeur and influence of Norse mythology, underscoring the reverence for Freya that persists even today.
As such, the name Freya is not just a name; it's an echo of ancient strength and femininity that continues to reverberate in the modern world.
Ingrid, a name resounding with divine connotations, means ‘beautiful goddess' in its ancient Norse roots. This combination imbues the name with a sense of celestial beauty and divinity, making it a striking choice for anyone seeking a name with historical depth and spiritual significance.
The name Ingrid has been cherished in Scandinavia for centuries, and its popularity remains unabated. It's been carried with dignity and grace by individuals from all walks of life, from reigning monarchs and accomplished actors to everyday students.
Renowned individuals from Scandinavia have borne the name Ingrid, further elevating its prestige. Ingrid Bergman, the Swedish actress whose unforgettable performances left an indelible mark on Hollywood's Golden Age, is a notable namesake. Equally talented is Norwegian actress Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, who has made significant contributions to both the stage and screen, lending the name a modern appeal.
Moreover, the name Ingrid features prominently in Scandinavian royal lineages. A prime example is Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway, the eldest child of Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit.
She serves as a young ambassador for the name, underscoring its ongoing relevance in contemporary Scandinavian society.
One of the most beautiful names in the Scandinavian repertoire (at least in this writer's opinion), the original Norse meaning of Solveig is ‘strong house', but it can also be taken to mean daughter of the sun or the sun's path.
Solveig is a central character in the play Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen, which could explain the name's popularity in Germany and France, as the play is popular there. To pronounce it correctly, ignore the g and emphases the first syllable, as so: SOHL-veye.
A famous Norwegian with the name is Solveig Kloppen, a journalist, actress and host of the Norwegian edition of Pop Idol. The 48-year-old was born in Trondheim and also previously worked as a stand-up comedian.
The original translation of Sigrid comes in several different variants due to dialects. Victory, wisdom, and beauty are all on the list of translations from Old Norse.
Now, Sigrid is a common, yet beautiful, name that can be found in plenty of places outside of Scandinavia. With the increasing international popularity of the Norwegian singer Sigrid, we could see the name become even more common outside of Norway.
A fun one (though not necessarily recommended) for English speakers; Frigg was the goddess of earth, air, and fertility in the Norse Pantheon. She was also the wife of Odin.
Although the name continued to feature in folklore long after the Christianisation fo Norway, Frigg is rarely used these days, yet it remains a name full of historical value.
A Finnish band are named after the goddess, and there is an amateur sports club in Oslo that takes the name. A natural gas field in the North Sea between Norway and the United Kingdom also takes the name.
The goddess of fertility and agriculture, Siv (or Sif) was the wife of Thor in Norse mythology. Because of this, the name has been taken to mean ‘bride' over the years. and is translated as bride. It was mentioned multiple times in the works of Snorri Sturluson.
The name is a popular one today. Siv Jensen is the current Minister of Finance. and has led the Progress Party since 2006. Siv Stubsveen started her career as a model and saleswoman before turning her hand to hosting on Norwegian TV and radio.
For the shield maiden in your life – Gunhild is derived from the words war and battle. The name has many other spellings that are used across the Nordic countries, including Gunnhild, Gundhild, Gunhilda, and Gunnhildr.
The name also lends itself to the French clothing company Gunhild. The label was named after its founder, the Norwegian designer Gunhild Nygaard, who setup the company after years working with the likes of Givenchy and Christian Dior.
Gunhild Stordalen is a Norwegian physician and environmental advocate. She is the founder and president of EAT Foundation, Co-founder of Stordalen Foundation and CEO of GreeNudge, and often features in debates on climate change, public health, and the global food system.
Saga, a name that instantly sparks intrigue, is often associated with the terms ‘story', ‘tale', or ‘fairy-tale', underlining its narrative essence. However, this name carries much more depth than a mere storyteller.
Read more: Why Did The Viking Age Start?
In Norse mythology, Saga was the goddess of poetry and history, and in some accounts, she was even identified with Frigg, the queen of the gods. This mythological background infuses the name with a sense of wisdom, creativity, and leadership, ideal for a child destined to leave their mark on the world.
The cultural relevance of the name Saga is concentrated primarily in Scandinavian countries, specifically Iceland, Sweden, and Norway. However, its rarity outside of these nations amplifies its charm, making it an intriguing choice for parents seeking a distinctive name with a rich cultural backdrop. This geographic exclusivity lends an air of originality to the name Saga, ensuring it stands out in a crowd.
Popular male Viking names
Now, it's the turn of the guys. Many of these names are taken directly from Norse gods. Some of these are well-known thanks to the popular culture of today, although very few make the list of most popular baby boy names in Norway.
Whether you prefer a popular name or one less familiar, you'll find something for you on this list. Let's dive right in…
Thor or Tor is not just a name, but a badge of courage, strength, and resilience. Its roots in mythology and its relevance in modern pop culture make it a versatile choice for your little hero.
Whether evoking the image of the hammer-wielding god who commands thunder and lightning or the charismatic, tightly-clad hero of American pop culture, the name Thor embodies an undeniable sense of heroism. This makes it an outstanding choice for a little boy who is destined to forge his own path with strength and courage.
Thor, in Norse mythology, is revered as one of the most powerful gods, embodying strength, valor, and perseverance. This gives the name a potent connotation of might and resilience, a heroic legacy that can inspire your little one as he grows.
Its evolution into the realm of American pop culture, through the hugely popular Marvel superhero character, further underscores the name's universality and ongoing appeal.
For those keen on authenticity and cultural fidelity, the Scandinavian version of the name, Tor, is an excellent choice. Pronounced just as it’s spelled, it retains the essence and impact of its more famous variant, while offering a nod to the name's authentic roots in Nordic culture.
Numerous notable personalities from Norway have carried the name Tor with distinction, further cementing its prestige. Tor Erling Staf was a renowned Norwegian barrister known for championing controversial cases.
Tor Endresen, a celebrated Norwegian singer, represented his country at the 1997 Eurovision Song Contest, showing that the name's heroic undertones can be interpreted creatively as well. However, he did finish last with zero points!
A name with layers of depth and complexity, Loki is more than just a popular moniker for male huskies; it holds deep roots in Norse mythology as the trickster god.
This name has also found fame in modern times, most notably in the Marvel Cinematic Universe where Loki is portrayed as a charismatic antihero, regularly at odds with his adoptive brother Thor.
Historically, Loki's relationship with other gods has been multifaceted, placing him in a ‘moral middle ground.' He is known for his cunning and mischievous nature, and his actions range from beneficial assistance to malevolent pranks. This duplicitous characteristic gives the name Loki an air of mystery and unpredictability.
So, if your little one displays a mix of charm and mischief, showing a range of characteristics that keeps you guessing, Loki could be the perfect fit.
It is a name that embodies an intriguing blend of mischief and complexity, perfect for a child full of surprises!
Imbued with a sense of strength and raw, natural power, the name Bjørn translates directly to ‘Bear'. What could be more inspiring than naming your child after one of nature's most formidable creatures? The symbol of the bear is closely tied to traits of strength, courage, and resilience, offering a sense of dynamism to this robust name.
Following the popularity of the Vikings TV series, the name Bjørn has seen a resurgence in interest internationally. However, it's important to remember that Bjørn has been a steadfast fixture in Norwegian nomenclature for centuries, standing the test of time with its symbolic connection to Norwegian heritage and nature.
In English-speaking countries, the name is often Anglicized as ‘Bjorn,' though this spelling doesn't quite capture the true essence of the original Norwegian pronunciation. The ‘ø' and ‘o' are distinct letters in the Norwegian alphabet, each producing different sounds.
To truly pronounce Bjørn, it's advised to speak with a native Norwegian speaker. However, as a rough guide, it's closer in sound to ‘bjurn' rather than ‘bjorn'.
Add Ivar to the list of names made popular by the Vikings TV series. The name has a rich history among Kings, warriors, and other famous figures of folklore. Its meaning can best be described as ‘bow warrior', or archer.
Ivar is not as common as a name today in Scandinavia as it once was. That said, it is also the source of the Scottish name Ivor, which is more common on the British Isles.
Per Ivar Staberg is a former Norwegian football referee and player, while Ivar Johannes Koteng is a Norwegian businessman and chairman of Rosenborg football club.
The highest and most complex of all the gods from Norse mythology, Odin reined over art, war, wisdom, and death.
Perhaps because of Odin's role in folklore, the name hasn’t survived well over the centuries. Nevertheless, for the main dude in your life, the name Odin is hard to match.
Odin Staveland is a Norwegian musician and composer, while Odin Thiago Holm is a teenage footballer from Trondheim who signed for Oslo side Vålerenga in 2019,
Yet another name of kings, including the current monarch in Norway: Kong Harald V. This name remains popular today: though is often shortened to Harry in many countries.
Harald Hårfagre (Harald Fairhair) is portrayed by medieval Icelandic historians as the first King of Norway. Much of what we think we know about this famous Harald is based on sagas that were written long after his death.
Knut translates to knot and has been a popular name throughout Scandinavia and Europe for some time. A number of royals have lived under this name, including a prince of Denmark who defeated the kind of England in the 11th century to become the king of Norway, Denmark, and England.
The Norwegian writer Knut Hamsun won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1920. Knut Bjørnsen was a speed skater who turned professional sports commentator for national broadcaster NRK.
Ragnar, a name steeped in the robust Viking tradition, enjoys widespread popularity across Scandinavia. Its historical significance coupled with its strong, distinctive sound makes it an appealing choice for those seeking a name with a powerful resonance.
International recognition of the name Ragnar skyrocketed following the success of the acclaimed Vikings TV show, which introduced audiences around the world to the charismatic lead character, Ragnar “Lothbrok” Sigurdsson. This legendary Norse figure, portrayed as a legendary Viking hero and eventual king, imbued the name Ragnar with an aura of courage, leadership, and adventure.
However, the legacy of the name Ragnar extends beyond the realm of popular culture. Numerous notable individuals in history have proudly carried this moniker, further enhancing its prestige.
Ragnar Sigvald Skancke, a prominent wartime politician, lends the name a historical weight and political significance. Another bearer of the name, Ragnar Frisch, was an eminent economist, celebrated as the co-recipient of the first-ever Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.
Magnus, a name exuding strength and grandeur, has long been a preferred choice among Vikings and modern-day Scandinavians alike. Derived from Latin, the name Magnus directly translates to ‘great,' offering a hint as to why it has been a popular choice among royalty.
The name holds an inherent sense of power and majesty, which makes it an excellent choice for parents seeking a moniker that carries an aura of greatness and leadership.
The name's royal associations are historically supported, with many kings christened Magnus over the centuries. It serves as a testament to the timelessness and enduring prestige of this name, offering a regal touch to those who bear it.
The name's prominence extends into the world of modern-day intellect and sports as well. A noteworthy figure is Magnus Carlsen, the Norwegian chess prodigy and world champion who some regard as the ‘king of Chess'. His accomplishments in the intellectual sport bring a contemporary dimension to the name, emphasising that its ‘greatness' can manifest in various fields of life.
The name Leif, rich with historical significance and global resonance, is primarily associated with the renowned Nordic explorer Leif Erikson.
His daring voyages in the 11th century, which led him to North America, instills the name Leif with a spirit of adventure, exploration, and courage that has transcended time and borders.
Despite its historic roots, the name Leif remains relevant and widely used in contemporary times, especially in the United States, where the memory of Erikson's trailblazing voyages continue to inspire.
Leif Juster was a beloved figure in Norwegian entertainment – a comedian, singer, and actor whose charm and talent endeared him to many. His popularity enhanced the appeal of the name within and beyond Norwegian borders.
Further reinforcing its cultural relevance, the name Leif is also familiar to American audiences thanks to Leif Garrett, a well-known American singer, actor, and television personality. His fame during the late 20th century brought the name into the American pop culture lexicon, further extending its reach.
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