Definition of kenning in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkɛnɪŋ/


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


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ken|ning

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