Concept

Kenning

Summary
A kenning (Icelandic: cʰɛnːiŋk) is a figure of speech in the type of circumlocution, a compound that employs figurative language in place of a more concrete single-word noun. Kennings are strongly associated with Old Norse-Icelandic and Old English poetry. They continued to be a feature of Icelandic poetry (including rímur) for centuries, together with the closely related heiti. A kenning has two parts: a base-word (also known as a head-word) and a determinant. For example, the base-word of the kenning "íss rauðra randa" ('icicle of red shields' [SWORD], Einarr Skúlason: Øxarflokkr 9) is íss ('ice, icicle') and the determinant is rǫnd ('rim, shield-rim, shield'). The thing, person, place or being to which the kenning refers is known as its referent (in this case a sword). Although kennings are sometimes hyphenated in English translation, Old Norse poetry did not require kennings to be in normal word order, nor do the parts of the kenning need to be side-by-side. The lack of grammati
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