fu·​thark | \ ˈfü-ˌthärk How to pronounce futhark (audio) \
variants: or less commonly futhorc or futhork \ ˈfü-​ˌthȯrk How to pronounce futhark (audio) \

Definition of futhark

: the runic alphabet — see rune illustration

Did You Know?

The word futhark describes an alphabet originally of 24 and later of some 16 angular characters. It is suspected to be derived from both Latin and Greek and was used for inscriptions and magic signs by the Germanic peoples, and especially by the Scandinavians and Anglo-Saxons, from about the third to the 13th centuries. The spelling "futhark" is from the first six symbols of the runic alphabet: f, u, th, a, r, k. The alphabet did, however, encounter revision of letters over time resulting in the variants "futhorc" and "futhork."

First Known Use of futhark

1851, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for futhark

from the first six letters, f, u, þ (th), o (or a), r, c (=k)

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about futhark

Time Traveler for futhark

Time Traveler

The first known use of futhark was in 1851

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about futhark

Statistics for futhark

Cite this Entry

“Futhark.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/futhark. Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

More from Merriam-Webster on futhark

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about futhark

Comments on futhark

What made you want to look up futhark? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!