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Iceland

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kjarkur...

iceland01Kjarkur means bravery - it is a positive quality. To the non-Icelander, Icelandic kjarkur also means brave to the point of imprudence - which is not so positive a quality.

The history of Iceland is a history of bravery and belligerence, from its settlement in 874 AD when Viking, Ingolfur Arnason and his family, outlawed from their native Norway, made their home in what is today the country's capital, Reykjavik. Brave (foolhardy?) Vikings also settled communities in Greenland, which disappeared during the climate cooling after the 14th century.

Kjark-madr (brave man), vitlausi (stupid man), gedveikur - crazy.

Kjark-leysi means weak, vantar kjarkur means lacking courage, and a kjark madr is a vigorous man. Berserkr, as in English 'beserk' - means wild with rage, out of control, frenzied, especially in battle.

Icelandic dictionaries defines kjarkur as: courage, spirit, guts, heart, balls, mettle, nerve, spunk, vigour, energy, pith (this latter from a dictionary published 1878; 'pith'?)