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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Þul Sjóvar 1III

[1] sær, sílægja ‘sea, ever-lying one’: The same pair of heiti from ‘the language of men’ and ‘the language of gods’ opens the list of the sea-names in Alv 24/1-2 (NK 127) Sær heitir með mǫnnom, | enn sílægia með goðom ‘It is called sær among men and sílægja among the gods’, but the latter name is not found elsewhere. Presumably, the word is a euphemism and most likely means ‘one ever-lying still’, from - ‘ever’ (intensifying prefix) and the strong verb liggja ‘lie’ (cf. AEW: silægja; Meissner 1924, 136), alternatively interpreted as sil-ægja, from sil ‘slowly flowing water’ and ægir ‘sea’. Cf. also Shetland Norn sjologa ‘mist lying over the sea’ (< *sjá-lægja lit. ‘sea-lying’); however, in compounds sjór/sær never occurs as si-/sí- (see Kommentar III, 352-3).


  1. Bibliography
  2. AEW = Vries, Jan de. 1962. Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. 2nd rev. edn. Rpt. 1977. Leiden: Brill.
  3. NK = Neckel, Gustav and Hans Kuhn (1899), eds. 1983. Edda: Die Lieder des Codex Regius nebst verwandten Denkmälern. 2 vols. I: Text. 5th edn. Heidelberg: Winter.
  4. Kommentar = von See, Klaus et al. 1997-. Kommentar zu den Liedern der Edda. 6 vols (continuing). Heidelberg: Winter.
  5. Meissner, Rudolf. 1924. ‘Die Sprache der Götter, Riesen und Zwerge in den Alvíssmál’. ZDA 61, 128-40.
  6. Internal references
  7. Not published: do not cite ()


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