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Word of the Day
Friday, October 28, 2011

Definitions for berserk

  1. Violently or destructively frenzied; wild; crazed; deranged.
  2. Scandinavian legend. An ancient Norse warrior who fought with frenzied rage in battle, possibly induced by eating hallucinogenic mushrooms.

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Citations for berserk
I was shaking like a washing machine gone berserk. Francisco Goldman, The Long Night of White Chickens
She had had lots of power, in her own way, but she had no more motherly instinct than a berserk rhino. Gregory Maguire, Son of a Witch
Origin of berserk
The English usage of berserk lies in an Old Norse story introduced by Sir Walter Scott in 1822. It is from the Old Norse word berserkr (n.) meaning a raging warrior of superhuman strength. Linguistically, it probably from stems from ber- meaning bear and serkr meaning shirt, thus literally "a warrior clothed in bearskin."