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Definition of "kenning" []

  • A figurative, usually compound expression used in place of a name or noun, especially in Old English and Old Norse poetry; for example, storm of swords is a kenning for battle. (noun)
  • A conventional metaphoric name for something, esp in Old Norse and Old English poetry, such as Old English bānhÅ«s (bone house) for "body" (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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Use "kenning" in a sentence
  • "A kenning is actually instead of a name, rather than in addition to (as I just discovered by looking it up with excessive help from Catzilla): "a figurative, usually compound expression used in place of a name or noun, especially in Old English and Old Norse poetry; for example, storm of swords is a kenning for battle.""
  • "The word kenning is derived from the Old Norse phrase kenna ett vid, which means “to express a thing in terms of another”, and is found throughout Norse, Anglo-Saxon and Celtic literature."
  • "In literature, a kenning is a magic poetic phrase, a figure of speech, substituted for the usual name of a person or thing."