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Names for Iceland

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Title: Names for Iceland  
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Subject: Timeline of Icelandic history
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Names for Iceland

There are numerous different names for Iceland, which have over the years appeared in poetry or literature.

The names of Iceland

In Icelandic

Many names have been used to refer to Iceland in the Icelandic language. These names include colloquial, formal, and poetic forms:

  • Eylenda, fem.—island, that is to say Iceland
    Stephan G. Stephansson
    Fjarst í eilífðar útsæ
    vakir eylendan þín.
    Far in the eternal yonder sea
    your island wakes.
  • Fjalladrottning, fem.—queen of the mountain or Iceland
  • Fjallkonan, fem. with definite articlelady of the mountain, a figure representing Iceland
  • Frón, neu.— old Norse word for land, Iceland
    Heima á Fróni.
  • Garðarshólmi, masc.—Iceland, named after Gardar Svavarsson
  • Hrímey, fem.
  • Hrímgrund, fem.
  • Hrímland, neu.—(the book Crymogaea occasionally uses “Hrímland”)[1]
  • Ísafold, neu.
  • Ísaland, neu.
    ...og flykkjast heim að fögru landi Ísa.
  • Ísland - Iceland's official and most common name
  • Jökulmær, fem.—Young woman of the glacier, Iceland
  • Klakinn, masc—literally the iceberg or the ice cover
  • Norðurey, fem.— literally meaning "northern island", used in jest in the Westman Islands since Iceland is north of them
  • Skerið, neu-literally the skerry
  • Snjóland, neu.—Snowland
  • Snæland, neu.—the name that the Viking Naddoddr reputedly gave to Iceland in the 9th century meaning "snow land"
  • Thule, neu.—some scholars claim Iceland was the land of Thule.[2]
  • Týli, neu.—Thule
  • Þyli, neu.—Thule

Icelanders also have several nicknames for themselves, including Frónbúi or Frónverji ("an inhabitant of Frón") and Landi ("fellow countryman").

In Latin

Iceland has prominently been called by three names in Latin:

  • Islandia - directly from Icelandic language "Ísland"
  • Snelandia - a Latinization of the more poetic name Snæland
  • Insula Gardari - literally meaning "Island of Garðar", compare Garðarshólmi


  1. ^ Ræður og greinar < Ráðherra < Forsætisráðuneyti
  2. ^ Strabo, Geographica, book 2, chapter 5, start of paragraph 8: Ὁ μὲν οὖν Μασσαλιώτης Πυθέας τὰ περὶ Θούλην τὴν βορειοτάτην τῶν Βρεττανίδων ὕστατα λέγει, παρ' οἷς ὁ αὐτός ἐστι τῷ ἀρκτικῷ ὁ θερινὸς τροπικὸς κύκλος· "Pytheas of Massalia therefore chooses the furthest regions around Thule, [which is] the most northern of the lands around Britain, around which the "summer turning circle" [= the line of celestial latitude where the sun turns at midsummer] is the same as the Arctic Circle.", which may refer to the sun being circumpolar at midsummer.
    Strabo 1.4.2: ἥν φησι Πυθέας ἀπὸ μὲν τῆς Βρεττανικῆς ἓξ ἡμερῶν πλοῦν ἀπέχειν πρὸς ἄρκτον, ἐγγὺς δ᾽ εἶναι τῆς πεπηγυίας θαλάττης : "[Thule] which Pytheas says is a six days’ sail north of Britain, and is near the frozen sea."
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