What is a Viking’s wife called?

A lot of focus has gone on Viking men over the centuries, but people are quite still curious about the life of the Viking woman. One thing is certain, though; their standing in society was stronger than other women in the same era of the late 8th to 12th century. They were in charge of the family household, farm, and wealth, and when needed, they took up weapons and fought. In the meantime, when their husbands weren’t home, they were busy in battle and conquered lands.

While that is all interesting, let’s go back to the Viking woman. What name or title was the Viking wife given? We’ll try to answer that here.

Name for the Viking wife

Well, before we go any further, the simple answer is, we don’t know what the Viking wife was called. While there has been renewed interest in the Viking age these past decades, there is still a lot we don’t know about this era. There are bits and pieces, mostly in the sagas, that try to create a fuller picture of the time. The same goes for the name the Vikings used for ‘wife’; it is difficult to know what their actual title was. However, let’s look at the two possibilities.


In the old Norse and other similar languages, the honorary name given to them was “lady” or “lord.” That translated into either “Frawjōn,” “Fraujaz” or “Frauwaz,” though these words were typically used for deities. That’s because the root name, based on the characteristics of it, features both Freyr and Freyja. The name itself does indeed carry a lot of weight, which is particularly compared to the alternatives in the English language that includes Mrs.


Another name some speculate got used for the Viking wife comes from the Old Norse language. They were thought to be called “skjaldmær,” an Old Norse, which means shield-maiden. The Viking women did fight, but it appears mostly only when there was a threat to their life, family, or property. There is archeological evidence in England in some of the Norse immigrant graves that point to this. There are remains of many women with weapons in their graves, which was customary for during Viking warrior burials.

Perhaps the most famous site supporting this idea that Viking women fought comes from the uncovering for what archeologists believed was that of a Birka female Viking warrior. Her remains were found in the Birka, a town in modern Sweden, that acted as an important trading town during the Viking age. What stood out for the historians was the many weapons found in the site. However, one ought not to rush to call these women shield-maidens. There is only direct mention in a few sagas, and it might not have applied to all women.

Wrap up

Curiosity not getting quenched can be frustrating, and that’s what we experience with certain aspects of the Viking age. While it is unclear what the Viking wife was called, we can take these two good guesses and make do with them.


Viking Jewelry