Sources and Symbols
I made this amateurish
dictionary some years ago with more enthusiasm than knowledge of the subject matter.
Looking at it these days, I can see a lot of things wrong with it but haven't
had the opportunity to give it the complete overhaul would need - please do
not regard it as anything like authoritative. It contains a certain amount
of gung-ho guesswork and supposition in assigning doubtful words to declensions
and genders, and in labelling the different categories of reconstruction. Some
reconstructions taken from old sources might be based on outdated theories. It
includes a small number of completely arbitrary neologisms with no scholarly authority,
albeit labelled as such with an exclamation mark. Although these are constructed
in the form of supposed cognates of words attested in other early Germanic languages,
there's no knowing that they were ever actually used in Gothic.
(whether due to personal ignorance or the fragmentary nature of the evidence)
are not always noted, uncertainties for example over gender or declension. Some
definitions are based on those of other dictionaries and glossaries (variously
English or German), some on the original texts or my naive understanding of them
at the time. This is not a recipe for accuracy. Lots of detail in certain areas
may give a false impression of comprehensiveness throughout. Some entries are
bound to contain as yet undetected errors and misunderstandings.
were compiled over some time during which I came to have access to more resources
and to learn a little bit more about the language, which makes for uneven and
Still, I'm leaving it online for now because it might
be of interest if you're stuck for ideas about a Gothic word for something, so
long as you check words afterwards, e.g. in Streitberg's
dictionary and the place
where it they occur, or (in the case of reconstructions) best see for yourself
how cognates are used in the related early Germanic languages, then add whatever
Inverse Prophetical Insight you can summon. Check the Key
for a list of symbols and abbreviations, including marks to distinguish various
categories of reconstructed words. Comments? Queries? Mistakes to report? Passing
thoughts? Gifts to betow? Wisdoms to impart? Then contact me.
The dictionary is in six files (A-C, D-F, G-L, N-O, P-S, T-Z), each of which may
take a moment to appear the first time you select them. There are somewhat over
I tried to include the following information:
Verbs which take a genitive
or dative direct object. Coverage is not guarenteed to be comprehensive.
main forms of verbs like brukjan, with a contracted past tense, in the
order: infinitive - first person preterite, past participle, thus: kaupatjan
- kaupasta, kaupatiths; "to slap" - "I slapped",
The main forms of the preterite-present verbs,
in the order: infinitive - first person singular present, first person plural
present, first person preterite singular, thus: thaurban - tharf,
thaurbum, thaurfta; "to need" - "I need", "we need", "I needed".
VII. strong verbs with e in the root are also given in the past if they
belong to the minority with no ablaut change (slepan, ufblesan),
and certain other anomalous verbs such as gaggan, in the order: infinitive
- first person preterite, past participle, thus: gaggan - iddja,
gaggans; "to go" - "I went", "gone".
a noun (or adjective) ends in S, F/FS or TH/THS, I give the genitive singular
(or genitive masculine singular, or occasionally some other oblique case) to indicate
if the fricative is voiced in oblique forms, e.g. dius (gen. diuzis),
riqis (gen. riqizis). Asterisks indicating hypothetical forms are
only supplied if the word in not attested as an independent word in any form at
all. For consonant stems like menoths, the genitive plural is given, since
the genitive singular of this declension in the same as the nominative. Note:
this information is not included if the adjective is really the past participle
of a weak verb, e.g. ga-tarhiths, for which the genitive would be ga-tarhidis.
Weak verb past participles with -ths all have more than one syllable, and
can be identified by the endings: iths, oths & aiths, all of which are voiced
to -d-. Also note: if the stem ends in l, r, m or
n followed by a fricative, thus -lth, -rth, -nth,
-lh, -mf, etc. (that is, if the fricative follows a continuant),
the fricative will alway remains voiceless in oblique forms.
adjectival i-stems are noted, since these are not obvious from their dictionary
form. Anomalies like aiws are noted.
Any feminine noun ending in
-s (directly preceeded by a consonant) can be regarded as a regular i-stem, with
the following exceptions:
1) If it is labelled f. (feminine consonant stem),
rather than sf. (strong feminine).
2) Abstract nouns from Class 1 weak verbs
(e.g. laiseins) behave like i-stems except that the nominative plural is
-os, and the genitive plural -o.
3) Anomalies (like: haims, dulths, nahts,
waihts) are noted, with the neuter alternative ni waiht appearing under
For a more reliable guide based strictly on the attested
texts (with less speculation and only occasional referrence to cognate forms),
see Wilhelm Streitberg: Gotisch-Greichisch-Deutsches Wörterbuch http://www.wulfila.be/lib/streitberg/1910/
Examples mostly consist of
quotes from the Gothic Bible or the Skeireins. There are usually no references.
Sometimes an attested phrase is put into the infinitive, or otherwise adapted
or simplified. Occasionally a simple phrase is made up to illustrate a point.
If in doubt, check the searchable online corpus at http://www.wulfila.be
The Bible and Skeireins can be searched at the above address. Text and translations
of the latter are also available at http://www.gotica.de/
(Due to lack of the appropriate symbols on the word processor I started out with,
I have used hw and th, which correspond to hv and þ
at the Wulfila Project. I've avoided ambiguity in the case of the former combination
by dividing word elements with hyphens: thairh-wakan.)
Abbreviations and symbols are based
on those used in Wright's Grammar, except that the class number of weak verbs
appears in Arabic numerals, to further distinguish them from the strong verbs,
which are identified by Roman figures (Thanks to Mitchell & Robinson's "A
Guide to Old English" for this idea). I have also added extra symbols to
distinguish between different categories of reconstructed forms - see also Key.
the main definition I have tended to split words with hyphens into their component
elements, following the practise of Wright's Grammar (un-ga-laubeins "lack
of faith"), but rarely in examples (hilp meinaizos ungalaubeinais
"help [me in my] my lack of faith").
The words are derived
in a number of ways. By far the biggest source for Gothic words is the surviving
extracts of the Gothic Bible, reputedly translated in the fourth century AD by
Bishop Wulfila. In addition, some much shorter texts survive: a few pages of a
commentary on the Gospel of St John, known as The Skeireins ('interpretation,
clarification'), two pages of a church calendar, some brief statements on 6th
century legal documents, and a short list of sermon topics. Together these form
the corpus of 'classical' Gothic, our most reliable source for vocabulary.
I have not given a cautionary *asterisk symbol to words which are recorded in
Wulfila's bible, or any other Gothic text of the Wulfilan tradition (Skeireins,
Calendar, etc.), even if their dictionary form (infinitive, nominative singular,
etc.) happens not to have survived. Likewise, when genitive forms of attested
words are quoted in brackets, there is usually no asterisk, even if the genitive
itself does not happen to have been recorded.
There are many more words
which are implied by biblical Gothic. For example one part of speech derived from
another (e.g. *ga-riudan "blush", reconstructed on the basis
of ga-riudei "modesty" and rauths 'red'), or simple words
that are only recorded in compounds (e.g. *waddjus, from baurgs-waddjus,
etc.). Such 'implied' words are marked with a star.
for details of other symbols used to denote words contained in #personal names
and words recorded in Latin and Greek texts contemporary with the Goths, ®runic
inscriptions, •etymological reconstructions of loan words from Gothic into other
languages (and here also reconstructions from Crimean Gothic), and %rune/letter
names from the Vienna-Salzburg codex. All of these categories involve a degree
of speculation, especially the etymological one. Often the form of the word and
even grammatical declension can be deduced with reasonable certainty from comparison
with cognates in other Germanic lanuages, but the exact meaning is more of a guess
(cf. •lintheis "soft, mild, sweet-natured", adduced from Spanish
Spanish lindo, and cognate with OE lithe, ON linr). I have
included derivatives from such roots in the same category, thus •linthjan "assuage",
but unattested compounds with no precident in the extant texts (whether of corpus
words or reconstructions) count as !neologisms (e.g. !linthi-waurms "dragon").
All non-corpus words, including Crimean Gothic ones, are given in reconstructed
There are currently a small handful of outright !neologisms (23, including derivatives)
- with no specific evidence that they ever existed in Gothic, though all have
analogies either within the language, or among the other old Germanic tongues.
All are clearly marked as such with the symbol "!"
for instance, appears in Grimm's Teutonic Mythology - potentially a source of
many more. !Gilws and !groneis are from Tolkein's well-known poem
Bagme Bloma; as with !rauks, these words are formed by analogy with other
Germanic languages. !Mairqr & !mairqeis have cognates in Germanic,
Balti, Slavonic and further afield, as well as featuring in the name Mirkwood,
mentioned in at least one Old Norse lay that shows evidence of Gothic traditions.
The others are compounds of attested Gothic roots, coined to fill a gap. Future
editions, if any, may eliminate this category, or expand it.
chosen illustrate various ways of forming new words: 1) By etymological analogy
with the other early Germanic languages (thus !groneis "green"),
2) New compounds from recorded words !kunthi-gairnei "curiosity",
3) extending the sense of an attested word (e.g. waurms, attested meaning
"serpent" is also included under the entry for DRAGON - in such cases
the attested meaning is specified, to make it clear that the word is not recorded
in Gothic with this sense), and 4) loan words (!Daikaimbair "December",
cf. the attested Naubaimber "November").
By convention, the default dictionary form of adjectives is the masculine singular.
Agent nouns too usually appear in masculine form, although this might be more
the result of the cultural mores of the New Testament era. Any weak masculine
(n-stem) noun can be turned into a weak feminine, thus: kasja "male
potter" > *kasjo "female potter", and vice-versa: haithno
"heathen woman" > *haithna "heathen man". Masculine
nd-stems like frijonds "friend" correspond to feminine jo-stems;
in this instance frijondi does occur. There is also an example of a masculine
a-stem paired with a feminine o-stem: daura-wards "male door-keeper",
daura-warda "female door-keeper" (if Braune/Helm's emendation
of so daurawardo is correct - cf. 112 a.3), and the feminine suffix -ini
(jo-stem) attested in Saurini "Syrian woman", cognate with Modern
German -in. By analogy with Old High German (cf. OHG lâhinârra),
masculine nouns in -areis, might correspond to feminine jon-stems in *-arjo.
dictionary was begun with the aim of making an English-Gothic equivalent to the
glossary in Wright's "Grammar of the Gothic Language". It was later
supplemented from Wilhelm Braune's "Gotische Grammatik", as revised
by Karl Helm. During the early stages, I also used Eric Craven's online version
of the glossary in Friedrich's "Lehrbuch der gotischen Sprache". In
the course of all this, occasional words were collected from disparate sources,
those listed below, together with extrapolations from Gothic personal names in
countless history books.
Finally, I got access to two amazing online
resources, which have meant I was able to vastly expand both the number of words,
and the level of detail. These are: Gerhard's Koebler's "Gotisches Woerterbuch"
and the Wulfila Project, a searchable internet version of the Gothic corpus, based
on Wilhelm Streitberg's "Die Gotische Bibel". Thanks also to Andras
Rajki, for his Gothic(-English) Dictionary, which has been very useful in later
revisions; also to the good folk of the Yahoo groups "gothic-l" and
"Theudiskon" for stimulating discussion which has often led to modifications
and expansions of this dictionary.
Awiliudo allaim izwis! Salutes to
the scholarship and generosity of all.
Biddulph, J (ed.): Xenododo (parts 1 & 6)
W & Helm, K: Gotische Grammatik
Campbell, A: Old English Grammar
WD: The Romance Languages
Feyerabend, K: Langenscheidt's Pocket Greek Dictionary
J: Lehrbuch der gotischen Sprache
Gordon, CD: The Age of Attila
Teutonic Mythology (trans. Stallybrass)
Heather, P: The Goths
GD (ed.): E KAINE DIATHEKE ("The New Testament" - British & Foreign
Koebler, G: Gotisches Woerterbuch
Looijenga, T: Runes Aound
the North Sea and on the Continent AD150-700
Page, RI: Introduction to English
Pollington, S: Wordcraft: Wordhoard & Wordlists: Concise New English
to Old English Dictionary & Thesaurus
Preobrazhensky, AG: Etimologicheskiy
Slovar' Russkago Yazyka
Priebsch, R & Collinson, WE: The German Language
Skeat, WW: A Concise Etymological Dictionary of the English
Streitberg, W: Gotisches Elementarbuch
Various: The Oxford English
Wade, Terrence: Russian Etymological Dictionary
Grammar of the Gothic Language
For English Bibles, I have consulted
the Authorized Version, the Good News Bible, and the Holy Bible of the CTS.
The Wulfila Project: online corpus based on Streitberg:
The Titus Project
(Click on "text database" in right window for large collection of ancient
texts and corpora, including the Gothic Bible)
G: Gotisches Woerterbuch: http://www.koeblergerhard.de/publikat.html
Skeireins Project + Gotica Minora: http://www.gotica.de
; and at http://syllabus.gmxhome.de/gotica/
; (also available at the following address) http://web.archive.org/http://www.gotica.de/
Germanic Lexicon Project: including "Heyne's dictionary"
(Gothic-German) + 'A Comparative Glossary of the Gothic Language' by GH Balg
+ Wright's 'Grammar of the Gothic Language' & Braune's 'Gotische
Grammatik', etc.: http://www.ling.upenn.edu/~kurisuto/germanic/language_resources.html