Val·​hal·​la | \ val-ˈha-lə How to pronounce Valhalla (audio) also väl-ˈhä- How to pronounce Valhalla (audio) \

Definition of Valhalla

1 : the great hall in Norse mythology where heroes slain in battle are received
2 : a place of honor, glory, or happiness : heaven an academic's Valhalla

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In Norse mythology, the souls of warriors who died nobly in battle were brought to a magnificent palace, where they spent their days fighting for diversion, immune from lasting injury, and their evenings lustily feasting on freshly killed boar and quaffing the free-flowing mead. In Old Norse, the word for this warrior heaven is Valhǫll (literally, "hall of the slain"); in German, it is Walhalla. English speakers picked up the name as Valhalla in the 18th century. Nowadays, we can use the word figuratively, and induction or admission into a modern-day Valhalla doesn't require passing from this life. It can be a place of honor (a hall of fame, for example) or a place of bliss (as in "an ice cream lover's Valhalla").

First Known Use of Valhalla

1768, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for Valhalla

borrowed from German and Old Norse; German Walhalla, borrowed from Old Norse Valhǫll, literally, "hall of the slain," from valr "the slain" (akin to Old English wæl "slaughter, the slain" and probably to Latin vulnus "wound") + hǫll "hall"; akin to Old English heall "hall" — more at vulnerable, hall

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The first known use of Valhalla was in 1768

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Cite this Entry

“Valhalla.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Aug. 2021.

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