1

berserk

play
noun ber·serk \ bər-ˈsərk , bə- , ˌbər- , -ˈzərk ; ˈbər-ˌ \
variants: or berserker play \-ˈsər-kər, -ˈzər-; ˈbər-ˌ\
Updated on: 11 Sep 2017

Definition of berserk

1 :an ancient Scandinavian warrior frenzied in battle and held to be invulnerable
2 :one whose actions are recklessly defiant

berserk was our Word of the Day on 01/09/2009. Hear the podcast!

Origin and Etymology of berserk

Old Norse berserkr, probably from ber- bear + serkr shirt


2

berserk

adjective

Definition of berserk

:frenzied, crazed usually used in the phrase go berserk
  • sinister ravings of an imagination gone berserk
  • —John Gruen

berserk

adverb

berserkly

adverb

Recent Examples of berserk from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'berserk.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

Berserk comes from Old Norse berserkr, which combines ber- ("bear") and serkr ("shirt"). According to Norse legend, berserkrs were warriors who wore bearskin coverings and worked themselves into such frenzies during combat that they became immune to the effects of steel and fire. Berserk was borrowed into English (first as a noun and later as an adjective) in the early 19th century, when interest in Scandinavian myth and history was high. It was considered a slang term at first, but it has since gained broader acceptance.

Origin and Etymology of berserk



BERSERK Defined for English Language Learners

berserk

adjective

Definition of berserk for English Language Learners

  • : crazy and violent especially because of anger


BERSERK Defined for Kids

berserk

play
adjective ber·serk \ bər-ˈsərk , -ˈzərk \

Definition of berserk for Students

:out of control especially due to extreme anger or excitement

Medical Dictionary

berserk

play
adjective ber·serk \ bə(r)-ˈsərk , ˌbər- , -ˈzərk , ˈbər-ˌ \

medical Definition of berserk

:marked by crazed or frenzied behavior suggestive of sudden mental imbalance usually used in the phrase go berserk

berserk

adverb


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