Odin? You Mean [insert one of hundreds of name variations]!

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You know him as Odin. The marvel universe knows him as Odin, and by extension every 8-18 year old boy in the world knows him as Odin. While today we give him a single name by which to identify him, the deity himself has over the millennia had a tremendous variety of names, most of which you probably have never heard. To historians, part of what makes Odin such a fascinating character is his tremendous laundry list of names by which various Germanic tribes identified him. Some of them have survived to today in our culture, such as the naming of the day Wednesday, or originally Woden’s Day, Woden being another name for Odin. The following list is but a sample of the names given to this incredibly versatile deity, and is only representative of a number of names historians have encountered. How many others have been lost to history is a mystery, but there certainly must have been many, many others.

The first mention of the pan-Germanic deity known as Odin comes to us by way of the Romans. The historian Tacitus wrote in his early 1st Century book Germania about a deity he equates to the  Roman god Mercury. He further describes the rituals used to worship him, such as a mixture of human and other sacrifices, as well as offerings of food and trinkets.

From his beginnings as a Germanic deity, the root of his many German names is thought to be Wōđanaz. This name morphed over the centuries into divergent forms such as Woden, Wođen, Wotan, and Wuotan.

By the Viking Age, Scandinavians had adopted a variation of the name as Ođinn, or Odin, the form most familiar to us today. Yet this variation of the name was not universal across Scandinavia. His name likely took on many other variations, many of which are lost to us today.

Aside from his name variations, the deity most widely know as Odin was, as previously discussed, a versatile god. In fact, one of his traits was that he was able to fulfill many roles and wear many hats, and for each one of these incarnations he was given a name. In the Poetic Eddas, he is given a tremendous variety of names depending on the role he was playing in each myth or story. It must be noted that in the old Norse language, names and nicknames were composites created to describe a person within the name. These additional names are thought to have been assigned as nicknames in response to specific deeds or actions, used by Skalds (the people who recited the myths in poetic form) to help them remember a particular story. If someone asked for a story about Odin by a particular name, that name would contain the information the Skald needed to know which story to recite. Thus, this long list of names was created:

  1. Aldaföðr: Father of Men
  2. Aldagautr: God of Men
  3. Aldingautr:the Ancient God
  4. Alfaðir, Alföðr: All-Father
  5. Angan Friggjar: Delight of Frigg
  6. Arnhöfði: Eagle-headed One
  7. Asagrim: Grim Lord
  8. Ascaric: Spear-King (Frankish)
  9. Atriði, Atriðr: Attacking Rider
  10. Auðun: Wealth Friend
  11. Bági gulfs: Enemy of the Wolf
  12. Baldrsfaðir: Father of Balder
  13. Báleygr: Blazing Eye
  14. Biflindi: Shield Shaker
  15. Bileygr: Feeble Eye (possibly One Eye)
  16. Björn: Bear
  17. Blindi, Blindr: Blind One
  18. Bölverkr: Bale-worker
  19. Böðgæðir: Battle Enhancer
  20. Bragi: Chieftain
  21. Bruni, Brunn: Brown One
  22. Burr Bors: Son of Bor
  23. Darraðr, Dorruðr: Spearman
  24. Draugadróttin: Lord of the dead
  25. Ein sköpuðr galdra: Sole Creator of Magical Songs
  26. Ennibrattr: One with a Straight Forehead
  27. Eyluðr: Ever-Booming
  28. Faðmbyggvir Friggjar: Dweller in Frigga’s Embrace
  29. Frumverr Friggjar.: First Husband of Frigga
  30. Faðir glades:Father of Magical Songs
  31. Farmaguð, Farmatýr: Cargo God
  32. Farmoguðr: Journey-Empowerer
  33. Farmr arma Gunnlaðar: Burden of Gunnlöð’s Arms
  34. Farmr galga: Gallows’ Burden
  35. Fengr: Snatcher
  36. Fimbultýr: Mighty God
  37. Fimbulþulr: Mighty Poet
  38. Fjölnir: Very-Wise or One Who Conceals
  39. Fjölsviðr, Fjölsvinnr.: Much Wise
  40. Foldardróttinn: Lord of the Earth
  41. Forni: Ancient One
  42. Fornölvir: Ancient Oelvir
  43. Frariðr: One Who Fares Forth
  44. Fundinn: The Found
  45. Furor: Fury
  46. Gagnráðr: God of Gainful Counsel
  47. Galdraföðr: Father of Galdr
  48. Gallow’s Lord
  49. Gangleri: Wanderer
  50. Gangráðr: Journey Advisor
  51. Gapthrosnir: One in a Gaping Frenzy
  52. Gauti, Gautr: God
  53. Gausus: God (Langobardic)
  54. Geiguðr: Dangler
  55. Geirloðnir: Spear Inviter
  56. Geirtýr: Spear God
  57. Geirvaldr: Spear Master
  58. Geirölnir: Spear Charger
  59. Gestr: Guest
  60. Gestumblindi: The Blind Guest
  61. Ginnarr: Deceiver
  62. Gizurr: Riddler
  63. Glapsviðr: Seducer
  64. Goði hrafnblóts: Goði (priest) of the Raven-offering
  65. Godjaðarr: God- Protector
  66. Göllnir, Gollor, Gollungr: Yeller
  67. Göndlir: Wand Bearer
  68. Gramr Hliðskjalfar: King of Hliðskjalf
  69. Grímnir, Grímr: The Masked One or The Hooded One
  70. Grímr: Masked or Grim
  71. Gunnar: Warrior
  72. Gunnblindi: Battle Blinder
  73. Guodan: Master of Fury (Langobardic)
  74. Guodan, Gudan: Master of Fury (Westphalian)
  75. Hagvirkr: Skillful Worker
  76. Hangaguð: Hanged God
  77. Hangi: Hanged One
  78. Haptabeiðir: Ruler of Gods
  79. Haptaguð: Fetter God
  80. Haptasnytrir: Teacher of Gods
  81. Haptsönir: Fetter  Loosener
  82. Hár: High One
  83. Hárbarðr: Grey Beard
  84. Hárr.: One Eyed
  85. Hávi: High One
  86. Helblindi: Host Blinder
  87. Helmet-capped Educator
  88. Hengikeptr: Hang Jaw
  89. Herföðr, Herjaföðr: Host Father
  90. Hergautr: Host Gautr
  91. Herjan, Herran: Lord
  92. Herteitr: Glad in Battle, possibly also Gladness of soldiers
  93. Hertyr: Host God
  94. Hildolfr: Battle Wolf
  95. Hjaldrgoð: God of battle
  96. Hjaldrgegnir: Engager of Battle
  97. Hjálmberi: Helm Bearer
  98. Hjarrandi: Screamer
  99. Hlefreyr: Famous Lord or Mound Lord
  100. Hild’s Noise Maker (hild = battle)
  101. Hnikarr, Hnikuð: Thruster
  102. Hoarr: One Eyed
  103. Honger – Hunger
  104. Hotter: Hatter
  105. Hovi: High One
  106. Hrafnfreistuðr: Raven-tester
  107. Hrafnáss: Raven God
  108. Hrammi: Fetterer or Ripper
  109. Hrani: Blusterer
  110. Hrjotr: Roarer
  111. Hroptatýr: Lord of Gods, God of Gods, or Tumult God
  112. Hroptr: The Maligned One or The Hidden One, or Tumult
  113. Hrossharsgrani: Horse-hair Mustache
  114. Hvatmoðr: Whet Courage
  115. Hveðrungr: Roarer
  116. Itreker: Splendid Ruler
  117. Jafnhár: Just As High
  118. Jalfaðr: Yellow-brown Back
  119. Jálg, Jálkr: Gelding
  120. Jarngrimr: Iron Grim
  121. Jolfr: Horse-wolf or Bear
  122. Jölföðr: Yule-father
  123. Jölnir: Yule Father
  124. Jormundr: Mighty One
  125. Karl: Old Man
  126. Kjalarr: Nourisher
  127. Langbarðr: Long Beard
  128. Loðungr: Shaggy Cloak Wearer
  129. Lord of the Wild Hunt , Wilde Jaeger
  130. Niðr Bors: Son of Borr
  131. Njotr: User or Enjoyer
  132. Óðinn: Frenzied One
  133. Óðr: Frenzy, Inspiration, Breath
  134. Ofnir: Inciter
  135. Olgir: Protector or Hawk
  136. Ómi: One Whose Voice Resounds
  137. Óski: Wish Bringer or Fulfiller of Desire
  138. Ouvin: Master of Fury (Faroese)
  139. Rauðgrani: Red Moustache
  140. Reiðartyr: Wagon God
  141. Rognir: Chief
  142. Runatyr: God of Runes
  143. Runni vagina: Mover of Constellations
  144. Sanngetall: Truth Getter or He Who Guesses Right
  145. Sannr, Saðr, Sath: Truth or The Truthful
  146. Siðgrani: drooping mustache
  147. Siðhottr: Broad Brim, Deep Hood, or Slouch Hat
  148. Siðskeggr: Long Beard  or Broad Beard
  149. Sigðir: Victory Bringer
  150. Sigföðr: Father of Victory
  151. Siggautr: Victory God
  152. Sigmundr: Victory Protection
  153. Sigrhofundr: Victory Author
  154. Sigrúnnr: Victory Tree
  155. Sigthror: Victory Successful
  156. Sigtryggr: Victory Sure
  157. Sigtýr: Victory God
  158. Skilving, Skilfing: Trembler (a reference to seidhr or to battle fury?)
  159. Skollvaldr: Treachery Ruler
  160. Sonr Bestlu: Son of Bestla
  161. Spjalli Gauta: Friend of the Goths
  162. Sváfnir: Luller to Sleep (or Dreams), or Closer
  163. Sveigðir: Reed Bringer
  164. Svipall: Fleeting or Changeable
  165. Sviðrir: Wise One
  166. Sviðurr: Wise One
  167. Svolnir: Sweller
  168. Thekkr: Welcome One
  169. Thrasarr: Quarreler or Raging, Furious
  170. Thriði: Third
  171. Thriggi.: Triple
  172. Thrór: Burgeoning or Inciter to Strife
  173. Throttr: Strength
  174. Thrundr, Þund : Sweller
  175. Thunnr, Þuðr: Lean or Pale
  176. Tveggi: Double
  177. Tviblindi: Twice Blind
  178. Unnr, Uðr: Beloved, Lover
  179. Váði vitnis: Foe of the Wolf
  180. Váfoðr, Vafuðr: Dangler
  181. Váfuðr: Wayfarer
  182. Váfuðr Gungnis: Swinger of Gungnir
  183. Vakr: Vigilant
  184. Valdr gala: Ruler of Gallows
  185. Valdr vagnbrautar: Ruler of Heaven (I’m not 100% convinced of this translation)
  186. Valföðr: Father of the Slain
  187. Valgautr: God of the Slain”
  188. Valkjosandi: Chooser of the Slain
  189. Valtamr, Valtam: Slain Tamer or Warrior
  190. Valtýr: Slain God
  191. Valthognir: Slain Receiver
  192. Vegtamr: Waytamer
  193. Veratýr: God of Being
  194. Viðrir: Stormer
  195. Viðfraegr: Wide-famed
  196. Viðrimnir: Contrary Screamer
  197. Viðurr: Killer
  198. Vingnir: Swinger
  199. Vinr Lopts: Friend of Loptr
  200. Vinr Lóðurs: Friend of Lóðurr
  201. Vinr Míms: Friend of Mímir
  202. Vinr stalla: Friend of Altars
  203. Vodans: Master of Fury (Gothic)
  204. Voefuðr: Dangler
  205. Völsi: Ever Ready Phallus
  206. Völundr rómu: Smith of Battle
  207. Vut: Master of Fury (Allemanic, Burgundian)
  208. Weda: Master of Fury (Frisian)
  209. Wild Huntsman, Wilde Jaeger (German)
  210. Wôdan: Master of Fury (Old High German)
  211. Woden: Master of Fury (Anglo-Saxon)
  212. *Wôðanaz: Master of Fury (proto-Germanic)
  213. Wolf: Wolf (German)
  214. Wuotan/Wuodan: Master of Fury (Langobardic, Old High German)
  215. Wunsch: Wish (German)
  216. Yggr: Terrible One
  217. Yrungr: Stormy
  218. LIST SOURCE 1
  219. LIST SOURCE 2

Odin’s latest incarnation of course is Santa Claus, meaning Giver of Gifts in the language of children. (I’m joking…or am I?)

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3 Comments

  1. Erik Von Norden says:

    Does No. 205 really say, “Völsi: Ever Ready Phallus” or is that a typo?

    Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised.

    1. Christophe says:

      Odin was quite the “player” in several of his stories.

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