The Old Norse theonym Óðinn (popularly anglicised as Odin) and its cognates, including Old English Wōden, Old Saxon Wōden, and Old High German Wuotan, derive from the reconstructed Proto-Germanic theonym *wōđanaz.
The masculine noun *wōđanaz developed from the Proto-Germanic adjective *wōđaz, related to Latin vātēs and Old Irish fáith, both meaning ‘seer, prophet‘. In modern Continental Scandinavian, the name is spelled Odin, or in modern Swedish often Oden; this latter form is also found in toponyms such as Odense. In Icelandic, he is Óðinn and in Faroese Óðin.
Adjectives stemming from *wōđaz include Gothic (wods) ‘possessed’, Old Norse óðr, ‘mad, frantic, furious’, and Old English wōd‘mad’. The adjective *wōđaz (or *wōđo) was further substantivised, leading to Old Norse óðr ‘mind, wit, soul, sense’, Old English ellen-wōd ‘zeal’, Middle Dutch woet ‘madness’ (modern Dutch: woede ‘anger’), and Old High German wuot ‘thrill, violent agitation’.
Additionally the Old Norse noun æði ‘rage, fury’ and Old High German wuotī ‘madness’ derive from the feminine noun *wōđīn, from *wōđaz. The weak verb *wōđjanan, also derived from *wōđaz, gave rise to Old Norse æða ‘to rage’, Old English wēdan ‘to be mad, furious’, Old Saxon wōdian ‘to rage’, and Old High German wuoten ‘to be insane, to rage’.
Over 170 names are recorded for Odin. These names are variously descriptive of attributes of the god, refer to myths involving him. This multitude of names makes Odin the god with the most names known among the Germanic peoples.
The modern English weekday name Wednesday derives from Old English wōdnesdæġ. Cognate terms are found in other Germanic languages, such as Middle Low German wōdensdach (Dutch woensdag), and Old Norse Óðinsdagr (Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Onsdag). All of these terms derive from Proto-Germanic *Wōdanas dagaz, itself a Germanic interpretation of Latin dies mercurii (“Day of Mercury”). In Old High German, the name derived from Odin’s was replaced by a translation of Church Latin media hebdomas (‘middle of the week’), hence modern German Mittwoch, compare Icelandic: miðvikudagur.
For our services, please visit our page.