viking

viking
\ \ [19] There are two competing theories as to the origin of the word viking. If its ancestry is genuinely Scandinavian (and Old Norse víkingr is first recorded in the 10th century), then it was presumably based on Old Norse víkinlet’, and it would denote etymologically ‘person who lives by the fjords’ – a logical enough notion.
\ \ However, earlier traces of the word have been found in Old English and Old Frisian, from around the 8th century, which suggests the alternative theory that it may have been coined from Old English wīccamp’ (ancestor of the -wick, -wich of English place-names). On this view, the term originated as a word used by the Anglo-Saxons for the Norse raiders, who made temporary camps while they attacked and plundered the local populace. It was introduced into modern English at the start of the 19th century as an antiquarian’s or historian’s term.

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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