English Words with Old Norse Roots – 10 Words

awkward

lacking grace or skill in manner or movement or performance

Once an awkward mix of supreme talents, James, Wade and Bosh now complement one another with remarkable grace.
—New York Times (May 4, 2014)
geyser

a spring that discharges hot water and steam

Random explosions of noise erupt like geysers spouting at will.
—BBC (Apr 12, 2014)
irk

irritate or vex

Hardliners, irked by the foreign policy shift since Rouhani was elected in June, have repeatedly criticized the deal.
Reuters (Feb 10, 2014)
kindle

catch fire

Every player participates in clinics, like the one on Wednesday, which was free, to kindle interest in a potential fan base.
—New York Times (Apr 17, 2014)
muggy

hot or warm and humid

It also works in warm, muggy areas where air conditioning is a big portion of utility costs.
-Forbes (Jan 6, 2014)
ransack

search thoroughly

We answered the students’ questions about character development and symbolism, while imagining our house ransacked, stripped of valuables.
—Salon (Apr 12, 2014)
steak

a slice of meat cut from the fleshy part of an animal

At Lucky’s, a steak worthy of The Flintstones comes with mashed Yukon potatoes and sage-spiked gravy.
-Southern Living (Apr 29, 2014)
whirl

turn in a twisting or spinning motion

They whirl gleefully around a flagpole that now flies the Russian flag.
—Slate (Mar 14, 2014)
berserk

frenzied as if possessed by a demon

And in 2009, Serena Williams famously went berserk on a line judge at the US Open, threatening to shove a ball in an uncomfortable place.
—Salon (Feb 10, 2014)
blunder

an embarrassing mistake

“The Sleep-walkers” analyses the run-up to the war and paints a picture of blunders and misunderstandings in the complexities of European imperial politics.
—BBC (Mar 2, 2014)

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