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Runic Dictionary

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Ásb Ævkv 5VIII (OStór 8) l. 3

hvassri — the sharp


hvass (adj.; °-an; -ari, -astr): keen, sharp



[3-4] með hvassri tuggu Herjans ‘with the sharp mouthful of Herjan <= Fenrir(?)> [SWORD]’: What makes this kenning problematical is the use of Herjan, normally a name for the god Óðinn (cf. LP: Herjan(n)), within a kenning whose other elements suggest a reference to the wolf Fenrir, and the myth, recounted in Gylf (SnE 2005, 27-9), of how the gods wedged a sword between Fenrir’s open jaws when they were binding him. It seems that the poet either thought Herjan was an alternative name for Fenrir or had forgotten the myth to which sword-kennings of the type ‘mouthful, mouth-prop of the wolf’ conventionally refer. Cf. Meissner 150, who suggests hergarmr, ‘war-Garmr <monstrous dog>’. Kock (NN §2495B) understands the kenning to mean ‘Óðinn’s biter’, i.e. ‘Óðinn’s sword’.



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