Names: A Journal of Onomastics
Nicknames, which occur in all cultures and time periods, play a unique role in highlighting identity. The pool of first names has always been relatively limited, thus most people were identified by their nicknames, especially before surnames became commonplace. The quantity of nicknames in Old Norse literature is large, and recurring nicknames provide a tool for understanding narrative transmission, cultural history, and etymology. Medieval explanations for giving nicknames are suspect, but they provide a glimpse into the possible reasons for so many of them coming down to us. An overview on nickname terminology is provided, as well as literary examples showing the fluidity of medieval terminology in nickname narrative explanations. The overall approach is therefore to explore the ways in which nicknames are described in the literature and how this information aids in understanding medieval Norse society and culture through its naming customs.
© 2018 American Name Society
Peterson, Paul R. "Old Norse Nicknames: Origins and Terminology." Names: A Journal of Onomastics (April 2018): 1-10.
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