Share this entry

kenning Line breaks: ken|ning
Pronunciation: /ˈkɛnɪŋ/

Definition of kenning in English:


A compound expression in Old English and Old Norse poetry with metaphorical meaning, e.g. oar-steed = ship.
Example sentences
  • Obviously, in poetry where this was one of the most important mechanisms, the kennings for very common nouns (such as ‘man’ or ‘woman’) are various and inventive.
  • They composed and recited poems in a fairly simple verse form which relied heavily on alliteration and also the use of kennings.


Late 19th century: from Old Norse, from kenna 'know, perceive'; related to ken.

Words that rhyme with kenning


Definition of kenning in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day coiffeur
Pronunciation: kwäˈfər
a hairdresser