K is for Kennings – #AtoZChallenge

A kenning is a figure of speech, or a creative twist of words that refers to a person, object, place, action, or an idea.  Vague, you say?  Maybe.  But, please also note that the prolific use of kennings generally occurred in Old English, Norse and Germanic poetry (like in Beowulf).

Here are some examples (taken from Kennings | Literary Devices):

battle-sweat: blood

sky-candle: sun

whale-road: ocean

Some modern examples, in no particular order are:

crumb-snatcher(s): child, or children of any age that are dependent upon their parents for support, food, shelter, etc.

bookworm: a person who loves to read

tree-hugger: an environmentalist

postman-chaser: dog

pig-skin: a football

ankle-biter: a small child

four-eyes: a person who wears glasses

bean-counter: an accountant, or a CPA

wind racers: horses

Wolf’s joint: wrist

What are some of your favorite kennings?  Do you use them in your creative projects?

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Rochelle Written by:

Writer. Dreamer. Lover of Life. Photographer.
I bring all of these elements to my work and share it with you.
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  1. April 13, 2017

    Informative read. Didn’t know there was a word for it.

  2. April 13, 2017

    I have to admit, I am addicted to writing kennings 😀
    They give such a depth to a story to me. I do use them sparingly though, they can become overwrought otherwise.

    ¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸.•´ (¸.•` ¤ Good luck on the rest of your A to Z challenge

    Sylvia @ The Creative Life

  3. April 13, 2017

    Well thank you for introducing me to this term ‘kenning’. Without knowing what they were called I’ve used them and can identify what they mean. Very interesting.

    Karma #Lexicon of Leaving

  4. April 13, 2017

    “Kennings”… to think all these years I’ve jokingly referred to kids as “curtain-climbers” and/or “rug-rats” and didn’t know I was using kennings!

    Trudy @ Reel Focus
    Food in Film: Kibble

  5. April 13, 2017

    I love this! I can’t think of any other kennings, but those are great ones. My daughter has a funny twist of words sometimes, though. She says things like
    “They’re in my heart family” = loved-ones
    “my sheets are ruined!” = dirty sheets

  6. Well thank you! I didn’t know they had such an official name. BTW, we met via the #Storydam chat on twitter last week, but this is the first time I’ve been able to visit your blog.
    The two I thought of are:
    brown-noser – someone who is a sycophant
    gas guzzler – an inefficient car
    I like sky candle and whale road. They seem very poetic.

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