[ nawr-dik ]
/ ˈnɔr dɪk /
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of, relating to, or characteristic of a Germanic people of northern European origin, exemplified by the Scandinavians.
having or suggesting the physical characteristics associated with these people, typically tall stature, blond hair, blue eyes, and elongated head.
(sometimes lowercase) of or relating to skiing events involving ski jumping and cross-country skiing.Compare alpine (def. 5).
a member of the Nordic people, especially a Scandinavian.
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Origin of Nordic

1895–1900; <French nordique, equivalent to nordnorth + -ique-ic


Nor·dic·i·ty [nawr-dis-i-tee], /nɔrˈdɪs ɪ ti/, nounanti-Nordic, adjectivenon-Nordic, adjective, nounpro-Nordic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What is Nordic skiing?

Nordic is a classification used to refer to types of skiing, including cross-country skiing and ski jumping.

The terms Nordic and Nordic skiing are used in contrast with Alpine and Alpine skiing, which refer to what’s sometimes also called downhill skiing. Alpine events include the downhill, the slalom, the giant slalom, and the super giant slalom (popularly called Super G). Both nordic and alpine are sometimes left uncapitalized.

There are multiple Nordic events in the Winter Olympics, including multiple events in both ski jumping (Normal Hill and Large Hill) and cross-country skiing (including sprints and longer distance races, such as the one known as Skiathlon). The event called Nordic Combined features both cross-country skiing and ski jumping.

There are also Nordic skiing events in the Paralympic Winter Games.

The skis used in Nordic skiing differ from those used in Alpine skiing in shape, size, and structure.

Example: Alpine skiing gets a lot of attention during the Olympics, but the Nordic events are also very exciting to watch.

Where does Nordic skiing come from?

The first records of the word Nordic in reference to skiing come from the mid-1900s. In general, the word Nordic is often used in much the same way as Scandinavian, making reference to a region encompassing several Northern European countries (the root nord means “north”). Skiing was first developed in and around this region as a practical means of travel and transport.

The sport of cross-country skiing has its roots in Scandinavian hunting culture. Ski jumping came about later—it was developed in the early 1800s in Norway.

Nordic events like cross-country skiing and ski jumping have been featured at every Winter Olympics since the first Winter Games in 1924.

What are some words that often get used in discussing Nordic skiing?

How is Nordic used in the context of skiing?

In the context of skiing, the term Nordic is used in contrast with Alpine, which refers to other kinds of skiing, like downhill and slalom. Nordic is used in the name of the Winter Olympic event known as Nordic Combined, a combination of two other Nordic events: cross-country skiing and ski jumping.


Try using Nordic!

Which of the following skiing events is NOT classified as a Nordic event?

A. Ski Jump
B. Large Hill Ski Jump
C. Skiathlon
D. Giant Slalom

How to use Nordic in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for Nordic (1 of 2)

/ (ˈnɔːdɪk) /

skiing of or relating to competitions in cross-country racing and ski-jumpingCompare alpine (def. 4)
(of recreational walking) incorporating the use of poles that resemble ski poles to aid movement

British Dictionary definitions for Nordic (2 of 2)

/ (ˈnɔːdɪk) /

of, relating to, or belonging to a subdivision of the Caucasoid race typified by the tall blond blue-eyed long-headed inhabitants of N Britain, Scandinavia, N Germany, and the Netherlands

Word Origin for Nordic

C19: from French nordique, from nord north
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