I remember reading somewhere that there is a word in old Norse for unwise/foolish that etymologically refers to someone who's not travelled or left home. Any ideas?

1 Answer 1


You are probably thinking of Icelandic heimskur "stupid, foolish", which comes from Old Norse heimskr "foolish, silly; who has never been from home" (from ON heima "home"). It appears frequently in Norse sagas, sometimes in the intensive form allheimskr "very stupid". A famous instance of this is the saying "Engi er allheimskr, ef þegja má" ("No one is a total fool, if one knows when to be silent") in the Saga of Grettir the Strong.

I am not aware of an opposite word relating wisdom with being well-travelled, though.

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    There's Ingvar the Far-Travelled, (Old Norse: Yngvarr víðförli,) but the name is indeed not associated with being wise, as his entire army was eradicated on his last journey.
    – Codosaur
    Commented May 5, 2021 at 20:00

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