Valkyrie definition

wäl-kîrē, -kīrē, väl-, wälkə-rē, väl-
Any of Odin's handmaidens who conducted the souls of the slain to Valhalla.
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(norse myth.) Any of the handmaidens of Odin who conduct the souls of heroes slain in battle to Valhalla and attend them there.
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Alternative spelling of valkyrie.
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(Norse mythology) Any of the female attendants of Odin, figures said to guide fallen warriors from the battlefield to Valhalla.

Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen (published 1853) famously features valkyries.

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Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
valkyrie
Plural:
valkyries

Origin of valkyrie

  • Old Norse Valkyrja welə- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Old Norse valkyrja (“chooser of the slain", singular), plural valkyrjur (plural), either from Germanic roots equivalent to, or formed in Norse from, the elements valr (“the slain") + kjósa (“to choose"). Cognate to Old English wælcyrge. First attested in English as a proper noun (Valkyries) in the 1770s; attested as a common noun (valkyries) since the 1880s.

    From Wiktionary

  • The proper noun Valkyries was attested before the common noun valkyries. See the entry valkyrie for more.

    From Wiktionary