Word of the Week: grefleysingr

After a summer hiatus, the MNLD word of the week returns with a term fitting for the beginning of autumn when everyone is finishing their summer gardening:

grefleysingr (ON) n.

Literally a ‘hoe-freedman’. A former slave who had been granted freedom but whose freedom had not yet been announced at an assembly and therefore possessed a liminal legal status. The term appears only once in Grg Vís 112. The name grefleysingr has been variously interpreted as referring to someone permitted only to be armed with a hoe as a weapon (as opposed to the folkvápn born by free men) or as someone relieved from the more onerous tasks performed by slaves, such as digging.

spade-freedman OIce Grg Vís 112

See also: folkvapn, leysingi, þræll

Refs.: CV; F; GAO s.v. Freigelassene; Grg I:174 n. 171; KLNM s.v. leysingi

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