This is page 186 of An Icelandic-English Dictionary by Cleasby/Vigfusson (1874)
This online edition was created by the Germanic Lexicon Project.
Click here to go to the main page about Cleasby/Vigfusson. (You can download the entire dictionary from that page.)
Click here to volunteer to correct a page of this dictionary.
Click here to search the dictionary.
This page was generated on 22 Jun 2019. The individual pages are regenerated once a week to reflect the previous week's worth of corrections, which are performed and uploaded by volunteers.
The copyright on this dictionary is expired. You are welcome to copy the data below, post it on other web sites, create derived works, or use the data in any other way you please. As a courtesy, please credit the Germanic Lexicon Project.
G (gé) is the seventh letter. In the old Gothic Runic alphabet (Golden horn) it is represented by RUNE, which was probably taken from the Greek χ. The later common Runic alphabet had no g, and made the tenuis k (RUNE, called Kaun) serve for both; still later, g was distinguished simply by a dot or stroke, RUNE or RUNE, and this character was called 'Stunginn Kaun,' i.e. dotted or cut Kaun, just as the name of Stunginn Týr was given to cut or dotted t.
A. In Scandinavia the letter g begins many fewer words than in German or Saxon, mainly because the prefixed particle ge- is absent. In the fragments of Ulf., although so little is left, ga- is prefixed to about three hundred words, mostly verbs and nouns; in the Anglo-Saxon at least three or four thousand such words are recorded, and in modern German still more: indeed the number is so to say endless, as it can be put to almost any verb. In Icel. the only traces of this prefix are, I. in a few words retaining g before the liquids l and n (gl and gn): α. gl in the word glíkr, similis (and derivatives); glíkr is now obsolete, and even in very old MSS. of the 13th or even the 12th century both forms, glíkr and líkr, glíkendi and líkendi, glíkjast and líkjast, occur indiscriminately; but in older poems gl is the only form. β. gn in gnadd, gnaga, gnauða, gnegg, gneisti, gnípa, gnísta, gnolla, gnógr, gnúa, gnúpr, gnyðr, gnæðingr, gnöllra, gnötra (q.v.), and some poët. words, as gnat, etc. But in mod. usage, in gn and gl, the g is dropped both in spelling and pronunciation, nadd, naga, nauða, hnegg, neisti, nípa ... núpr, nyðr or niðr, næðingr, nöllra, nötra; the gn in these words is almost constantly used in very old MSS., but even at the end of the 13th and in the 14th century the MSS., e.g. Hb., begin to drop the g, vide p. 206 sqq.: the exceptions are few, e.g. Icel. never say nýja tor gnýja, but the word itself, although known, is almost obsolete: so also in modern writers gnótt and gnægtir (abundance) often occur: but the sound gn may be said to be almost extinct. The Danes, Swedes, and Norse still keep the g before n, e.g. Dan. gnave, Swed. gnaga; whereas in glíkr the g has been dropped, and the word has become in Swed. lik, etc.; in Dan. lig, lige, ligning, etc. II. in two Icel. words the prefixed g has hardened into a radical consonant, so that its proper sound is no longer perceived, viz. granni (and compds), a neighbour, prop. one of the next house, Goth. garazna = GREEK, qs. g-ranni, from rann, domus; and greiða, explicare, = Goth. garaidian. The Scandinavian tongues have furthermore done away with the Saxon and German prefix to passive participles, and no trace of them remains even in the earliest writers or poems. The modern English has followed the same law as the Scandinavian in gn, for though it still appears in Engl. words (as gnaw, gnash), it is hardly sounded. The participial prefix remained long in southern England (see Morris's Specimens), but weakened into y or i till at last it dropped altogether.
B. PRONUNCIATION. -- It is sounded hard, soft, or aspirate; hard, as in Engl. gate, gold; soft, as in Swed. dag, Germ. tag, or mod. Gr. γ, but lost in Engl.; aspirate also lost in Engl. I. hard, 1. as initial before a hard vowel, garðr, gull, gott, etc.; and before a consonant, glaðr, gráta; but the prefixed g, in the instances A. 1. above, was prob. always sounded soft. 2. as final after consonants, as sorg, belg, ung, höfgi, or if double, as in egg. II. soft, never as initial (unlike mod. Greek, in which γ is sounded soft throughout), but only as final or sometimes as medial: 1. if single after a vowel, as dag, hug, log, veg, stig. 2. between two vowels if the latter is hard, lega, ligum, vega, vegum, dögum; but in case both the vowels, or even only the last, are soft (an i vowel) the g sound is lost, and it is eliminated altogether or assimilated to the preceding vowel, which thus becomes a diphthong; the same is the case if j follows g; thus syllables and words such as bagi and bæi, dagi and dæi, degi and deigi, eygja and eyja or eya, lagi and lægi or læi are all sounded alike; in olden times there must have been a difference of sound, as old MSS. never confound the spelling in words like those above, whereas in modern letters written by uneducated people, nothing is more frequent than to see, um dæinn for um daginn, or á deíinum for á deginum, and the like; the poets also rhyme accordingly, e.g. segi -- hneigi, Pass. 38. 13; segja -- deyja, 25; segja -- beygja, 25. 12; drýgja -- nýja, 30. 3; eigið -- dregið, 7. 10; deyja -- teygja, 16. 13, etc.; even MSS. of the end of the 15th century frequently give seigia for segja (to say), e.g. Arna-Magn. 556 A, see the pref. to Ísl. ii. p. vi: as a medial, before d the g is sounded hard almost all over Icel., and the d soft (sagði); yet in the peninsula of Snæfells Sýsla many people still reverse this rule, and say sagdi, lagdi, bygdi, bygd, sounding the g soft but the d hard; in the east of Icel. people say bregða, sagði, pronouncing gð both soft; this is no doubt the best pronunciation, and accords well with the modern English said, laid, and the like. III. the aspirate g is sounded, 1. as initial before a soft vowel or j, gefa, gæta, geyma, geir, gjöld. 2. as final, a double g (gg) or g after a consonant is sounded as aspirate in all instances where a single g is lost (vide above), thus laggir, leggja, byggja, byggi, veggir, or margir, helgir, göfgi, engi, mergjar, elgjar, engja. Between two consonants the g is not pronounced, thus fylgdi, morgna, fylgsni, bólgna are sounded as fyldi, morna, fylsni, bólnar.
C. SPELLING. -- Here is little to notice: I. in old MSS. the aspirate g as initial is frequently marked by the insertion of i after it, thus giæta, giefa, = gæta, gefa, but this is not now used. II. in old Norse MSS., -- and, by way of imitation, in some Icel., -- the soft g before a vowel is frequently marked by inserting h after it, thus dagh, deghi, vegha, sagha; in the Middle Ages many foreign MSS. expressed soft sounds in this way, and so they wrote dh = ð, gh = soft g, th = þ, whence comes the th in modern English; we also find gh in words such as Helghi, Fb. pref.; probably the g was in olden times sounded soft in rg, lg, which agrees with the change in English into holy, sorrow, etc.; ngh = ng also occurs, e.g. erlinghi, Eb. i. 537, denoting a soft sound of ng as in modern Danish and Swedish. In MSS. we now and then find a spurious g before j and a vowel, e.g. deygja, meygja, for deyja, meyja, because the sound was the same in both cases.
D. CHANGES. -- The hard and aspirate g, especially as initial, usually remains in modern foreign languages, gate, ghost, give, get, except in Engl. yard, yarn (Icel. garð, garn), etc., where the Anglo-Saxon had a soft g sound. Again, 1. the soft g after a vowel takes a vowel sound, and is in English marked by w, y, or the like, day, say, saw, law, bow, way, low, = Icel. dag, segja, sög, lög, bogi, veg, lág, etc.: and even a double g, as in lay, buy, = Icel. leggja or liggja, byggja. 2. so also before or after a consonant, thus, Engl. said, rain, gain, sail, tail, bail, fowl, etc., = Icel. sagði, regn, gagn, segl, tagl, hagl, fugl; Engl. sorrow, follow, fellow, worry, borrow, belly, = Icel. sorg, fylgja, félagi, vargr, byrgi, belgr. In Dan. lov, skov, vej answer to Icel. lög, skóg, veg, whereas Sweden and Norway have kept the g, Swed. lag, skog, väg.
E. INTERCHANGE. -- Lat. h and Gr. χ answer to Icel. and Teut. g, but the instances of such interchange are few, e.g. Lat. hostis, hortus, homo, hoedus, heri, = Icel. gestr, garðr, gumi, geit, gær; Lat. hio, Gr. GREEK, cp. Icel. gjá, gína; Gr. GREEK = gær, GREEK = gáss, GREEK = gall, etc.
GABB, n. mocking, mockery, Fms. vii. 17, 59, ix. 385, Sturl. i. 155, Sks. 247, Karl. 474, Grett. 101.
gabba, að, [Scot. gab], to mock, make game of one, Fms. i. 72, ii. 67, vi. 112, ix. 385, Stj. 609, Mag. 68, Ísl. ii. 165, Fs. 159; gabb ok gaman, Ó. H. 78: reflex., Bs. i. 319.
gadda, að, to goad, spike, Str. 25, Karl. 172: gaddaðr, part., Sams. 13.
gaddan, n. a kind of head-gear, an GREEK, Orkn. 304; perh. Gaelic.
GADDR, m. [Ulf. gads = GREEK, 1 Cor. xv. 55, 56; A. S. gadu; Engl. gad, goad; Swed. gadd] :-- a goad, spike, Str. 77, Gísl. 159 (on a sword's hilt); gadda-kylfa, u, f. a 'gad-club,' club with spikes, Fms. iii. 329; gadd-hjalt, n. a 'gad-hilt,' hilt studded with nails, Eb. 36 new Ed., Gísl. 159, Fas. iii. 288, cp. Worsaae 494, 495, as compared with 330: metaph. phrase, var mjök í gadda slegit, 'twas all but fixed with nails, i.e. settled, Nj. 280. II. a sting, Al. 168; (cp. Engl. gad-fly.) III. perhaps a different root, hard snow, also spelt galdr (Fms. viii. 413, v.l., cp. gald, Ivar Aasen); the phrase, troða gadd, to tread the snow down hard, Fms. vii. 324, viii. 413, ix. 364, 490; en er Birkibeinar vóru komnir upp á galdinn hjá þeim, Fb. ii. 688: even used as neut., gaddit, Fms. viii. l.c. (in a vellum MS.); gaddit. id. (also vellum MS.); hence gadd-frosinn, part. hard-frozen; gadd-hestr, m. a jade turned out in the snow. IV. a 'gad-tooth,' a disease in cattle, one or more grinders growing out so as to prevent the animal from feeding, described in Fél. xiv. note 250; gadd-jaxl, m. a 'gad-grinder.'
gaffall, m. [Germ. gabel], a fork to eat with, (mod.)
GAFI, a, m. [A. S. geaf = funny], a gaff; fregna eigum langt til gafa, Mkv.: a saying, cp. spyrja er bezt til váligra þegna.
GAFL, m. [Ulf. gibla = GREEK, Luke iv. 9; Engl. gable; Germ. giebel; Dan. gavl; Swed. gafvel] :-- a gable-end, gable, Sturl. ii. 50, Nj. 209, Ísl. ii. 74.
gafl-hlað (gaflað, Nj. 203, 209, Orkn. 244). n. a gable-end, Gísl. 88: in pl. gaflhlöð, Orkn. 470; eystra g., 244; at húsendanum við gaflhlaðit, 450; gaflhlaðit hvárt-tveggja, Ísl. ii. 352; selit var gört um einn ás ok lá hann á gaflhlöðum, Ld. 280.
gafl-stokkr, m. a gable-beam, Eg. 90.
gafl-veggr, m. a gable-end, Nj. 197.
gaga, að, to throw the neck back, Flor. 18.
gagarr, m. a dog; gagarr er skaptr því at geyja skal, a dog is so made as to bark, Mkv. 4: used as a nickname, Landn. 145: in a verse in Eg. a shell is called 'the ever mute surf-dog' (síþögull brimróta gagarr), prob. from a custom of Icel. children, who in play make shells represent flocks and herds, kú-skeljar (cow-shells), gymbr-skeljar (lamb-shells), and put one shell for a dog. gagara-ljóð, n. pl. 'dog-song' (?), a kind of metre in Rímur.
GAGG, n., onomatop. the fox's cry.
gagga, að, to howl (of a fox), metaph. to mock at one, 689. 66.
gag-háls, adj. [gagr], with neck thrown back, epithet of a stag, Gm. 33.
GAGL, n. [Ivar Aasen gagl = wild goose, cp. the Scot. a gale of geese = a flock of geese] :-- a wild goose, Edda (Gl.); gagl fyrir gás, a saying, Ó. H. 87: in poetry, of any bird, hræ-g., blóð-g., etc., a carrion-crow; the