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This Norwegian Word List contains Norwegian words with their English translations. The words included here are those that you are likely to find in genealogical sources. If the word you are looking for is not on this list, please consult a Norwegian-English dictionary. (See the "Additional Resources" section below.)

Norwegian is a Germanic language like Swedish, Danish, and Icelandic. There are two official dialects in Norway. Prior to 1915 most Norwegian records are in a language closer to written Danish than to modern Norwegian. You may also want to refer to the Danish Genealogical Word List.

Records published after 1915, such as family and local histories, are in modern Norwegian. Most differences between modern and old Norwegian are simply a matter of spelling. Carefully study the section below on spelling. This will help you find the words in this list.

Contents

LANGUAGE CHARACTERISTICS

Variant Forms of Words

In Norwegian, as in English, the forms of some words will vary according to how they are used in a sentence. Who—whose—whom or marry—marries— married are examples of words in English with variant forms. The endings of a word in a document may differ from those in this list. For example:

Mann man Kone wife
Mannen the man Kona the wife
Menn men Koner wives
Mennene the men Konene the wives


Alphabetical Order

Written Norwegian has three letters not found in the English alphabet: Æ (æ), Ø (ø), and Å (å). In most record sources prior to 1915, Å (å) is written as Aa (aa) and filed at the beginning of the alphabet. Modern Norwegian dictionaries, indexes, the Locality section of the Family History Library Catalog, and this word list use the following alphabetical order:

a  b  c  d  e  f  g  h  i  j  k  l  m  n  o  p  q  r  s  t  u  v  w  x  y  z  æ  ø  å

A through C

A

Spelling

Spelling was not standardized when most early records were made. The following spelling variations are common:

Norwegian English

A

absolvere to give absolution
adel nobility
adelig noble
adelsmann nobleman
adoptert adopted
adresse address
aften evening
alder age
alderdomssvakhet weakness of old age
aldri never
alle all
alltid always
almisse charity
almisselem indigent, poor
altergang Communion
amt county
amtmann chief county administrator
andre others, other, next
anetavle pedigree chart
anfall seizure, attack
anførte entered, mentioned
ankomst arrival
anmerkning remark, notice, note
annen, annet second, another
annen gang second time
anno (Latin) year
annonsere publish, announce
antall number, count
april April
arbeider laborer
arkiv archive
arv inheritance
arvelodd share of inheritance
arving heir
astma asthma
at that
atten eighteen
attende eighteenth
attest certificate
august August
av of, at, by, from
avdeling part, division
avdød deceased
avgangen departed
avgift duty (monetary), fee
avkom offspring, issue
avtale agreement

B

bakbygning back building (additional residence behind the main building)
baker baker
bakke hill
bannlyse excommunicate
baptist Baptist
bar carried
bar barnet held child (at baptism font)
bare only
barn child
barna children
barndom childhood
barnebarn grandchild
barnedåp child baptism
barnefar child’s father
barnløs childless
barsel birth
barselfeber childbed fever
barselseng birthing bed
be pray, request
beboer occupant, resident
bededag prayer day
bedrive hor commit adultery
befolkning population, people
begge both
begivenhet event, occurrence
begravelse funeral, burial
begravet buried
behandle handle, treat, manage
bemerkning remark
ben leg, bone
benekte deny
benåde pardon
beruset drunk
besetning livestock, crew
beskrivelse description
beslektet related
bestefar grandfather
besteforeldre grandparents
bestemor grandmother
besvangre impregnate, get with child, make pregnant
betale pay
betler beggar
bevilge grant
bevis proof
bibliotek library
bind volume (book)
biografi biography
biskop bishop
bispedømme diocese
bli become
blikkenslager tinsmith
blind blind
blod blood
blodgang dysentery
blodskam incest
blodsott abnormal loss of blood during illness
bo to live at
bodde lived
bok book
bokhandler bookseller
bokholder, bokfører bookkeeper
bokstav letter, character
bolig residence, house
bonde farmer
bopel residence, domicile
borger citizen
borgermester mayor
borgerskap citizenship
bot fine, penalty
brann fire
brennevinsbrenner distiller of spirits
brev letter (correspondence)
bro bridge
bror brother
brordatter brother’s daughter
brorsønn brother’s son
brud bride
brudgom bridegroom
bruk farm, use
brygger brewer
bryllup wedding
budeie milkmaid
buskap livestock, crew
by town, city
bygd small country community, village
bygdebok rural chronicles
bygsel lease
byll abscess
byllepest plague (bubonic)
bære carry
bøkker cooper, barrel maker
både both, either
båret carried
båt boat, ship
båtbygger shipbuilder
båtsmann boatswain, bosun

C

cirka approximately
communion Communion
confirmerede confirmed
copulerede marriage

D through F

aa used for å
j used for gj
b used for p ld used for ll
c used for k nd used for nn
d used for t q used for k
e used for æ u used for v
f used for v w used for v
g used for k x used for ks
i used for j 
ch used for k
tj used for kj
hj used for j


Examples:

"gjørtler" spelled as "giørtler"
"mann" spelled as "mand"
"kvinne" spelled as "quinde"

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

This word list includes only words most commonly found in genealogical sources. For further help, use a Norwegian-English dictionary. Several Norwegian-English dictionaries are available at the Family History Library. These are in the Scandinavian collection. Their call numbers begin with 439.82321. Family History Centers can obtain the following dictionaries on microfilm:

Scavenius, H. Glydendals Ordbøker; Norsk-Engelsk [Gyldendal’s Dictionaries; Norwegian-English]. Oslo, Norway: Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, 1945. (FHL film 1,224,705, item 4).

cavenius, H. Glydendals Ordbøker; Engelsk-Norsk [Glydendal’s Dictionaries; English-Norwegian]. Oslo, Norway: Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, 1945. (FHL film 1,224,705, item 3).

Additional dictionaries are listed in the Subject section of the Family History Library Catalog under NORWEGIAN LANGUAGE - DICTIONARIES and in the Locality section under NORWAY - LANGUAGE AND LANGUAGES.

KEY WORDS

In order to find and use specific types of Norwegian records, you will need to know some key words in Norwegian. This section lists key genealogical terms in English and the Norwegian words with the same or similar meanings.

For example, in the first column you will find the English word marriage. In the second column you will find Norwegian words with meanings such as marry, marriage, wedding, wedlock, unite, legitimate, joined, and other words used in Norwegian records to indicate marriage.

English Norwegian
banns lysninger
birth
fødte, født
burial
begravelse, jordet
census folketelling
child
barn
christening døbte, døbt
clerical district prestegjeld
confirmation
konfirmasjon, konfirmerede
death døde, død
engagement forlovelse, trolovelse
father far
female kvinnekjønn
husband ektemann
index register
male mannkjønn
marriage copulerede, egteviede, gift, vielse
military militær
mother mor
moving in innflyttning
moving out utflyttning
name, given fornavn
name, surname
etternavn
parents foreldre
parish sogn
probate skifte
vaccination vaccinerede, vaksinert
wife hustru
year år

 

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