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Runic Dictionary

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Þul Óðins 4III l. 1

Hléfǫðr — Hléfǫðr


Hléfǫðr (noun m.)


[1] Hléfǫðr: ‘Hleífrudr’ B


[1] Hléfǫðr: This cpd is not found elsewhere, which is also the case with the variant reading Hleifruðr (‘Hleífrudr’) in B. The LaufE mss have (normalised) Hléfróðr. The B variant is adopted in Skj B and Skald (but rejected in LP: Hléfǫðr). According to von Friesen (1900, 197), the form Hleifruðr could have resulted from reinterpretation of *Hleiforðr (= OE hlāford ‘lord, master’) in analogy with other Óðinn-names ending in ‑uðr (e.g. Geiguðr, Dǫrruðr). The reading Hléfǫðr, on the other hand, is supported by a number of Óðinn-names with the second element -fǫðr (reinterpreted as ‘father’; see Note to st. 1/4 above), as well as by other names with the first element Hlé-: e.g. the Óðinn-name Hléfreyr in st. 5/3 below, the giant-name Hlébarðr in Hárb 20/5, Hlévangr, a dwarf-name in Vsp 15/4, the f. pers. n. Hlédís gyðia ‘Hlédís the sorceress’ in Hyndl 13/4 (NK 290), etc. The meaning of this Hlé- element is disputed. According to Falk (1924, 17-18), hlé- may be identical either with hlé n. ‘lee, shelter protecting from bad weather’ (hence Hléfǫðr means ‘lee-father’) or with the name of the sea-god Hlér, also used as a term for ‘sea’ (hence ‘a storm-quieting god’). He suggests that the name might refer to Óðinn as a sea-god, since he is known for taking on the names and functions of other gods. In LP: Hléfǫðr, however, hlé- is interpreted as ‘famous’ (cf. the runic name Hlewagastiʀ in the Gallehus inscription (Run DR 12VI (KJ43)), whose first part is often connected with the adj. hléðr ‘famous’). On this heiti, see also Strandberg (2008, 109-11).



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