Motto in Old Norse

According to a definition, motto is a short expression of a guiding principle. Mottos in ancient languages have always been popular, since they express such principles with authority and wisdom of the ancients. User friendly interface below helps to create online mottoes in Old Norse, the language of the Vikings. Catchy phrases that can be created using this tool may be also interpreted as Viking slogans or even battle cries. Such a motto would adorn a weapon as an inscription or shock enemies when shouted during a reenactment of a Viking battle.

1. (noun) and (noun) E.g.: blood and death


2. (noun) is (noun) to (noun) E.g.: man is wolf to man

  is    to  

3. from (noun), (noun) E.g.: from suffering , wisdom

from    ,  

4. (noun) (verb) E.g.: time flies

5. (noun) is in (noun) E.g.: gladness is in battle

  is in  

Based on the Latin motto generator, with the author’s kind permission.

Waiver of Liability

Keep in mind that computer generated texts should be used with caution for any permanent use like tattoos or engravings. This tool is provided “as is”, without warranty of any kind.

{ 102 comments… read them below or add one }


First off thank you for maintaining this site. I, like many others here, am of Scandinavian descent (Norwegian) and have found an identity in reconnecting with my heritage. I have been trying to learn Norwegian for a little while now and recently stumbled over the Havamal… Of course I can only understand the English version so far, but I am interested in finding on Old Norse, or original, translation of a certain “verse”…

The coward believes he will live forever
If he holds back in the battle,
But in old age he shall have no peace
Though spears have spared his limbs.

If you can point me in the right direction I would be incredibly appreciative.


Viking Rune

Ósnjallr maðr
hyggsk munu ey lifa,
ef hann við víg varask;
en elli gefr
hánum engi frið,
þótt hánum geirar gefi.



so is this “old norse” writing and translating used after the actual “runes?” why are the mottos translated into letters and not “runes” like the name converter?



I´m looking for mottos that I want to engrave in some viking-jewelry that I´m making. I stumbled upon the quote “Live free or die”/”Live free or die in battle” by general John Stark, which is very close to what I´m looking for. I thought it would be nice though, if I could find something similar in viking sources. Do you by any chance know of any viking sayings that resembles that? (If translated into old norse it would be “Lifa frjáls (or) deyja í bardagi”, correct?) I´ve also been trying to translate the english sentence “freedom or death/war” into old norse with various online translation tools, but it seems that either the vikings didn´t have the word freedom, or it doesn´t translate in those online translation tools. The closest I get is “sjálfraðr (or) bardagi” and I cant even seem to find the word “or” in old norse. I thought the verse that you posted for Evan was great, and I could imagine using that as well, but when I try to translate it into runes with this sites translation tool, something seems to go wrong. I noticed that the word þótt becomes just two Tyr-runes. Maybe the translation tool preferes english letters only? so þótt becomes thott and soforth, ð is dh, æ is ae, two l´s are just one, et.c.?
And also: I would like to give the verse a little twist so that instead of “but in old age he shall have no peace” it would be “but in slavery he shall have no peace”. “en thrael gefr”=”but in slavery”?

Its a lot, I know, but I would be most thankful if you could help me out, and if you´d like I could return the favor by sending you a piece of the end result, its going to be a kick-ass piece..



did you manage to get translation fpr Live free or die ? if you did could you let me know what it is ?


Jón Arnar

As Icelandic is pretty close still today to Old Norse you could start there.

“live free or die” is directly translated to “Lifðu frjáls eða deyðu”
“live free or die in battle” is directly translated to ” Lifðu frjáls eða deyðu í bardaga”

(or = eða)


Mike Jenningsgs


I am researching my family history and I am hoping to prove that my family name is an anglicised version of a scandinavian family name. I am also into historice re-enactor and you’re website has provided so much useful information. We are trying to create a banner for our group and develop a motto. I personally like Fortis et Liber which translated means strong and free, unfortunately I couldn’t find these words above, any help you could offer in translating this into a motto would be appreciated





I’ve been attempting to translate “brothers in arms” or “brothers in war” into Old Norse, but I don’t have any idea of the proper structuring. Any chance you would have a correct translation,

much appreciated,


Jón Arnar

In Icelandic “Brothers in arms” is directly translated to “Vopnabræður”
Vopn = arms (a) Bræður =Brothers (or Veapons+brothers)

“Brothers in war” is directly translated to “Stríðsbræður”
Stríð = war + Bræður = brothers.



Hi! I’ve been wanting to get a tattoo. Serving in the military, I feel that something in runes and in Old Norse would be rather fitting. I was thinking a quote from the Eddas pertaining to duty or bravery would be perfect, however I don’t know the first place to start in regards to finding the Old Norse translation when I do find a quote I find suitable, then having it written in Futhark as it would’ve been written a thousand years ago.

Pleast help!


Jeff Watt

What of this one (been trying for AGES to get a translation on ALL SORTS of websites):-

“The impossible we do overnight; miracles take a bit longer.”

(It’s not so much a battle motto, more a skald or sorceror’s motto!)
– Jeff



Hey I have been trying to use these translators to get the full correct translation of the phrase (from a game)

“For Russ, For the Allfather, For the wolftime”

Also I was wondering if there was a possibility of getting key words like Wolf or Wulfen (a wolf human hybrid) or King (for russ) in a single of a few Runes and any resources to learn how to pronounce them!


PS this site is awesome!



I’m looking for a place on the net where I can translate whole sentences accurately without having the massive trouble.
Could you direct me to a good page to do that?
I already know how to write it out in Runes but that’s not quite what I’m looking for. More like “Ástar firnaskyli engi maðrannan aldregi”

Because im hopelssly lost on where to look.
If you could help me with a solution to my dilemma that would be wonderful!




Hi, a friend of mine gave me a ring with runes inscribed in them, he never told me what they meant, and I was looking for some help translating the message, but all I got was a bunch of words that made no sense. How can I get it translated?



Yes I am trying to translate “he who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being man” into Old Norse which isn’t working out too well and then I want to turn it into a tattoo with the Elder Futhark, is there any way you can help me with this?


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