Oh Mighty Odin! Hear My Plea! Answer this question about Valkyries? The word, I mean?

Valkyrie–a Chooser of the Slain.
One of the mythic warrior women who gathered the souls of dead Viking Warriors to Valhalla.

But the word!



“Kyrie” is the Greek word for “Lord”.


How did the name of a Scandanavian demi-goddess get a Greek suffix?

Or, perhaps, this isn’t really the word the Vikings used, but rather something Xian monks used when writing down the sagas?

According to my books on the subject the “altnordisch” (“old norse”, I’m not sure about the correct English term) word was Valkyrja. It is a relatively direct translation of “chooser of the slain”. I can’t think of an English example, but German has several words related to choosing that share a common root with the -kyrja part (kiesen (obscure), Kür, Kurfürst…) I wouldn’t be surprised if there were English examples as well.


The word “kyrie” (kurie) is in the vocative case. Therefore it translates not just to “Lord”, but “O Lord”. That is to say, it is only used when directly addressing someone.

In its more standard form (nominative), the word is “kyrion” (kurion) for lord, or “kyria” (kuria) for mistress.