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Runic Dictionary

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Þjóð Haustl 4III l. 2

Meila — Meili


Meili (noun m.): Meili < fetmeili (noun m.)


[2] Meila: so W, ‘mela’ R


[2] fet-Meila ‘step-Meili <god> [= Hœnir]’: Most scholars have assumed that this kenning refers to Hœnir, rather than Loki, largely because Skm cites several curious periphrases for this god, about whose characteristic activities little is known. The etymology of Hœnir’s name is uncertain and many theories have been proposed (there are eight listed under AEW: Hœnir). The most plausible seem to be those (AEW’s numbers 2 and 3) that associate the name with words for some kind of bird, perhaps a hen (hœna). It is said (SnE 1998, I, 19) that Hœnir can be called sessa eða sinna eða mála Óðins ok hinn skjóta Ás ok hinn langa fót ok aurkonung ‘Óðinn’s bench-mate or companion or confidant and the swift god and the long foot and mud-king’. The last two terms, and the etymology of Hœnir’s own name, have suggested to some (e.g. Turville-Petre 1964, 141-2 and n. 34) that Hœnir might have been a god who assumed the form of a bird, perhaps a wading bird. If so, the determinant fet-(Meili) may be hinting in this direction. Meili was the name of one of Óðinn’s sons, and a brother to Þórr (cf. st. 14/7, Hárb 9/5). In an early work, Finnur Jónsson (1884, 45 but not in Skj) suggested emending bað ‘bade’ (l. 1) to bauð ‘invited’ (which takes the dat. of the person invited) and then emending fet-Meila to feðr Meila ‘the father of Meili [= Óðinn]’ (cf. LP: fet-Meili). These emendations are not supported by either ms. Marold (1983, 157) argues that fet-Meili should refer to Óðinn rather than Hœnir, basing her case on names for Óðinn like Vegtamr ‘Accustomed to the way’ (Bdr 6/1, 13/1). It might be natural for the giant Þjazi to address Óðinn, the leader of the gods, rather than Hœnir.



case: acc.

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