What does kenning mean?

Definitions for kenning
ˈkɛn ɪŋken·ning

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word kenning.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. kenningnoun

    conventional metaphoric name for something, used especially in Old English and Old Norse poetry


  1. Kenning

    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 grammatical cases in modern English makes this aspect of kennings difficult to translate.


  1. kenning

    A kenning is a type of metaphorical phrase or compound word used in poetry, especially in Old Norse and Old English literature, which replaces a single, concrete noun. It often contains a significant, indirect or symbolic meaning and helps to create vivid imagery. A kenning can involve multiple words, usually two, connected with a hyphen or written back to back. For example, "whale-road" was a kenning used to mean the sea.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Kenning

    of Ken

  2. Kenningverb

    range of sight

  3. Kenningverb

    the limit of vision at sea, being a distance of about twenty miles

  4. Etymology: [See Ken, v. t.]


  1. Kenning

    A kenning is a type of literary trope, specifically circumlocution, in the form of a compound that employs figurative language in place of a more concrete single-word noun. Kennings are strongly associated with Old Norse and later Icelandic and Anglo-Saxon poetry. For example, Old Norse poets might replace sverð, the regular word for “sword”, with a more abstract compound such as “wound-hoe”, or a genitive phrase such as randa íss “ice of shields”. The term kenning has been applied by modern scholars to similar figures of speech in other languages too, especially Old English.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records


    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Kenning is ranked #30701 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Kenning surname appeared 759 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Kenning.

    95.9% or 728 total occurrences were White.
    1.8% or 14 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    0.9% or 7 total occurrences were Asian.
    0.7% or 6 total occurrences were of two or more races.

Matched Categories

How to pronounce kenning?

How to say kenning in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of kenning in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of kenning in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for kenning

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"kenning." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 25 Jul 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/kenning>.

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    expressing yourself readily, clearly, effectively
    A eloquent
    B foreordained
    C proprietary
    D arbitrary

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