of or relating to ancient Scandinavia, its inhabitants, or their language.


(used with a plural verb) the Norwegians, especially the ancient Norwegians.
(used with a plural verb) the Northmen or ancient Scandinavians generally.
the Norwegian language, especially in its older forms.

Compare Old Norse.

Origin of Norse

1590–1600; perhaps < Dutch noorsch, obsolete variant of noordsch (now noords), equivalent to noord north + -sch -ish1. Compare Norwegian, Swedish, Danish Norsk Norwegian, Norse
Related formsnon-Norse, adjective, noun, plural non-Norse.pre-Norse, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for norse

Contemporary Examples of norse

Historical Examples of norse

  • In Domesday it is spelt 'Flaneburg,' and flane is the Norse for an arrow or sword.

  • William Bowie; probably from Gaelic buidhe, yellow, and so not Norse at all.


    George Borrow

  • This country was a common field for the depredations of the Norse rovers.

  • "I will show you," said Dulcibel, the Norse blood of her father glowing in her face.


    Henry Peterson

  • Trustworthy pictures of Norse houses and costumes are difficult to obtain.

    Viking Tales

    Jennie Hall

British Dictionary definitions for norse



of, relating to, or characteristic of ancient and medieval Scandinavia or its inhabitants
of, relating to, or characteristic of Norway


  1. the N group of Germanic languages, spoken in Scandinavia; Scandinavian
  2. any one of these languages, esp in their ancient or medieval formsSee also Proto-Norse, Old Norse
the Norse (functioning as plural)
  1. the Norwegians
  2. the Vikings
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

Word Origin and History for norse



1590s, "a Norwegian," from obsolete Dutch Noorsch (adj.) "Norwegian," from noordsch "northern, nordic," from noord "north" (see north). Also in some cases borrowed from cognate Danish or Norwegian norsk. As a language, from 1680s. Old Norse attested from 1844. An Old English word for "a Norwegian" was Norðman. As an adjective from 1768.

In Old French, Norois as a noun meant "a Norse, Norseman," also "action worth of a man from the North (i.e. usually considered as deceitful)" [Hindley, et. al.]; as an adjective it meant "northern, Norse, Norwegian," also "proud, fierce, fiery, strong."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper