Tag Archives: owl

Ugly & a Scruffy Viking

Hello,

This week on Camp NaNoWriMo I’ve reached 11,234 words and have been exploring the Viking origins of valkyrie, happy, and ugly amongst other words. So here’s the story of ugly and its link to scruffy Vikings.

{Extract from “Words The Vikings Gave Us” by Grace Tierney, copyright 2019}

Ugly

Although they say love is blind, it can’t always ignore ugliness. Ugly entered English in the 1200s originally spelled as uglike (frightening or horrible in appearance) from Old Norse uggligr (dreadful or fearful) which comes from the word ugga (to fear).

Thanks to my Camp Nano fellow writer based in Sweden who told me that in Swedish uggla means owl and the wonderfully spelled rugguggla means scruffy. Rugguggla also describes an owl when it is moulting its feathers. They suggested perhaps that image led to the visual image of an ugly person. Now I can’t shake the idea of a scruffy little owl, feathers all over the place, topped with a tiny Viking helmet.

Until next time happy reading, writing, and wordfooling,

Grace (@Wordfoolery)