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Berserk Words: “berserk” to “berserkly”

berserkr- (Old Norse: literally, “bear’s skin”; a Norse-myth warrior).

1. A wild Norse warrior of great strength and ferocious courage, who fought on the battle-field with a frenzied fury known as the berserker rage; often with a lawless bravo or freebooter (pirate). Also a reference to someone who is frenzied, furiously, or madly violent, who goes berserk.
2. From Old Norse berserk, “wild warrior”, probably from the stem of bjorn,; “bear” plus serkr, “shirt"” because either they wore bearskins or were fierce like bears.
A member of a group of Norse warriors who fought with wild unrestrained agrgression.
In a berserk manner; madly; violently angry.

A Norse berserker fights wildly and bloodily.

Old Berserker (Bear Skin) was a famous character in Norse mythology who was a supernatural warrior who fought with great fury and feared nothing. It is said that he even fought without weapons or armor and rushed into battle “protected” only by the bear skin thrown over his shoulder and clawing and biting his victims to death.

Based on this myth, any fierce figher was soon called a berserker; especially one who fought with a fury that seemed almost insane and terrified even his allies. In time, to go berserk came to mean the violent, furious rage of a madman.

Back in 1995, there was an article about three young men, sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen years of age; two of whom were arrested for killing their parents.

The brothers are charged with three counts each of homicide and conspiracy to commit homicide in the slayings of their parents and their younger brother.

Police say the brothers had threatened for years to kill their parents as revenge for trying to impose their strict way of life as Jehovah’s Witnesses on the boys.

The three, two brothers and a cousin, all had shaven heads and tattoos. One had “Sieg Heil!” tattooed above his eyebrows, while two of them had “Berserker” tattooed on their foreheads; an apparent reference to Norse folk stories about warriors so fierce they needed no armor.

Stars and Stripes from Midland, Mich. (AP), March 4, 1995, p. 6.