[ krah-kuhn ]
/ ˈkrɑ kən /
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noun (often initial capital letter)
a legendary sea monster causing large whirlpools off the coast of Norway.
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Origin of kraken

From Norwegian
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


Why is kraken trending?

On July 23, 2020, searches for kraken increased 4,782% compared to the previous week after the National Hockey League (NHL) announced its newest team in Seattle, Washington, will be known as the Kraken.

What is a kraken?

In Scandinavian folklore, the kraken is an enormous sea monster storied to cause huge whirlpools off the coast of Norway, destroying ships and sailors. The kraken has often been depicted as a giant squid—sightings of which very real sea animals may have inspired the kraken myth.

As a legendary, fearsome creature of the sea, the kraken has proven a popular, apt, and original team name and mascot for the new sports team in Seattle, a seaport city on the Puget Sound with a rich maritime history and culture. While Seattle was previously home to a professional ice hockey team, the Metropolitans, in the early 1900s, the Kraken expansion team are the 32nd franchise in the NHL and will take to the ice in the 2021–22 season.


The Seattle Kraken have adopted “Release the Kraken!” as a prominent slogan, which is itself a popular quote and cultural reference. In his role as Zeus in the 1981 film Clash of the Titans, actor Laurence Olivier orders Poseidon to “release the Kraken” to destroy the city of Argos. Liam Neeson memorably reprised the role and line in the 2010 remake of the film.

In his poem “The Kraken” first published in 1830, English poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson paints a picture of an ancient, mysterious, and formidable kraken:

Below the thunders of the upper deep,
Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy sides; above him swell
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumbered and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages, and will lie
Battening upon huge sea worms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

Ever wonder how other sports teams got their names? Learn the stories behind some of the most striking team names in sports—including the Kraken’s baseball and football counterparts, the Mariners and Seahawks.

How to use kraken in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for kraken

/ (ˈkrɑːkən) /

a legendary sea monster of gigantic size believed to dwell off the coast of Norway

Word Origin for kraken

C18: from Norwegian, of obscure origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012