6

Имеется в виду буквальное значение слова. The word is meant in its literal sense.

5

Well, it is just the ethnic name, Vaeringjar in Old Islandic or væringi in Old Norse. It probably got into Slavic languages via Greek Βάραγγοι.

The word itself is probably a compound of vár "pledge" and gengi "companion", i.e. "a sworn person" or "a foreigner who has taken service with a new lord by a treaty of fealty to him, or protégé".

Source: English and Russian Wikipedia.

  • It's not all clear about this etymology. We have a resembling Swedish word 'varg' meaning 'wolf' which differs from Icelandic úlfur, Danish/Norwegian ulv, etc. However, this word is very much like Hugarian 'farkas', Moksha вьрьгаз, Erzyan верьгиз, and common Uralo-Fennic 'ver' (blood). – Manjusri Feb 1 '13 at 14:51
  • 1
    @Manjusri - According to the historical development of the Slavic languages, this я in варЯг could't appear out of nothing, it had to develop from a nasalized vowel, which, in turn, had appeared from a vowel + a nasal consonant combination. Texnic's answer fits this development well, but I cannot see the source of this я in the Uralic etymology you propose. – Yellow Sky Feb 1 '13 at 15:53
  • That could appear from loaned Uralic e/ä as well. – Manjusri Feb 2 '13 at 7:38
  • @Manjusri - But what's the reason for Slavs to call the Northmen "wolves" and to do it in a Finno-Ugric language? Northmen were rather respected and were elected Slavs' princes. Don't you see a logic contradiction here? Besides, Northmen, vikings, never associated themselves with wolves, their totem symbol was the raven. – Yellow Sky Feb 2 '13 at 14:38
  • There were not just Slaves in Ancient Russia. And speaking about 'respected northmen' or 'their totem' - of which there had been many more types than just raven - is, in my opinion, a mere mythological speculation. – Manjusri Feb 2 '13 at 16:26

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