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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Þjsk Lv 6I

[4] refilstíga ‘on secret paths’: This is taken here as acc. pl. used adverbially (so also Kock, NN §426). The sense ‘secret paths’ fits the context here and that in Gylf (SnE 2005, 7-8), where Gylfi arrives at the hall of the gods, incognito (as he thinks) and saying that he has come af refilstígum ‘from the trackless ways/secret paths’ (so Faulkes, SnE 2005, 132). The etymology and exact meaning of this rare cpd are unclear. In ModIcel. it means ‘wrong track’. De Vries (AEW: refill 3) associates refilstígar with the sea-king name Refill, which in turn is linked to refr m. ‘fox’. Janzén (1945, 187) suggests the refil- element is related to a Norw. dialect word meaning ‘tumble off’, whereas according to ÍO: refil- it is refill m. ‘strip’. Poole (2005b, 110) suggests ‘entrenched path, path along a shallow dip in the terrain’; he cites in support the word blóðrefill, which refers to the groove running the length of a sword-blade.


  1. Bibliography
  2. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. AEW = Vries, Jan de. 1962. Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. 2nd rev. edn. Rpt. 1977. Leiden: Brill.
  4. ÍO = Ásgeir Blöndal Magnússon. 1989. Íslensk orðsifjabók. Reykjavík: Orðabók Háskólans.
  5. SnE 2005 = Snorri Sturluson. 2005. Edda: Prologue and Gylfaginning. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2nd edn. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  6. Janzén, A. 1945. ‘Revel, rävel’. ANF 60, 169-87.
  7. Poole, Russell. 2005b. ‘“Orð eftir orð”, “orð eftir orði”: The Progress of the Dictionary of Old Norse Prose’. Scandinavian-Canadian Studies/Études scandinaves au Canada 15, 92-118.
  8. Internal references
  9. Not published: do not cite (GylfIII)


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