What Are Some Examples of English Kennings?


Quick Answer

Ankle-biter, bean counter, bookworm, first lady and tree hugger are some examples of modern English kennings. Battle-sweat, swan of blood, whale's way, sky-candle and blood-ember are some examples of traditional or old English kennings.

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Full Answer

Kennings are figurative expressions that replace names. Kennings are usually compound, comprised of two or more words used to replace a single word.

An ankle-biter is a kenning for a child. Bean counter means an accountant, and a tree hugger is an environmentalist.

Kennings are a form of circumlocution commonly used in old Norse poetry. Their origins lay in Old English, Old Icelandic, Danish and German. Battle-sweat is a Norse kenning for blood, and whale's way was used in "Beowulf" as a kenning for the sea.

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