Definition of berserk
1 : an ancient Scandinavian warrior frenzied in battle and held to be invulnerable
2 : one whose actions are recklessly defiant
Variants of berserk
berserkerplay \-ˈsər-kər, -ˈzər-; ˈbər-ˌ\
Origin and Etymology of berserk
Old Norse berserkr, probably from ber- bear + serkr shirt
First Known Use: 1818
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.
First Known Use of berserk
BERSERK Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of berserk for English Language Learners
: crazy and violent especially because of anger
BERSERK Defined for Kids
Definition of berserk for Students
: out of control especially due to extreme anger or excitement
Seen and Heard
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