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"말" also means "end" but I'm not sure whether it's in the noun or verb sense, or both. — Hippietrail 04:11, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Mara (folklore)[edit]

A mara, mare is a kind of malignant female wraith in Scandinavian folklore believed to cause nightmares. [...]

The mara was thought of as an immaterial being [...] who seated herself at the chest of a sleeping person and "rode" him or her, thus causing nightmares. In Norwegian/Danish, the word for nightmare is mareritt/mareridt, meaning "mareride". [...]

The mara was also believed to "ride" horses, which left them exhausted and covered in sweat by the morning. [...] Even trees could be ridden by the mara, resulting in branches being entangled. The undersized, twisted pine-trees growing on coastal rocks and on wet grounds are known in Sweden as martallar (marepines). [...]

The concept of the mara has very old roots in the folklore of the Germanic peoples, possibly the belief was shaped as early as in proto-Indo-European religion. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, the word can be traced back to an Indo-European root *mer, meaning to rub away or to harm. [1] The Slavic nightmare spirit mora is likely to have been derived from this root as well, and possibly also the Irish deity Mórrígan and the Buddhist demon Mara. [...] The Anglo-Saxon belief in this creature still echoes in the word nightmare. In later English folklore, hags and witches took on many of the roles of the mara, producing terms such as hagridden and haglock. [...]

-- Quoted from Mara (folklore)

Either nightmare or mareridt "mareride" is an evil or demon believed to ride on a sleeping man or woman as if a horse or mare, whence the term may have been derived better than from any other fancy idea.
The Swedish martallar (marepines) sounds like the Korean 타다 (mar-tada) (literally, horse-ride) "to ride on horseback." --KYPark 15:08, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

Similarities to Scandinavian Languages[edit]

Does any one else notice the similarity between the Korean 몰 (mol) or 말 (mal) and the Old Norse word mál? Not only do they have similar pronunciations, but they also share the same meaning. Ásmóðr Vánagandsson (talk) 21:31, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

About horse, that's not entirely surprising -- the horse came originally from central Asia, and it appears that many of the words for horse around the world also came with the animal. Compare English mare, Welsh march, Japanese (uma), Mongolian морь (morʹ), Mandarin (), etc. See the Proto-Indo-European entry *mark(')- (horse) for some discussion of this term's roots. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 21:13, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

Alternative form -- does this apply equally to all the senses / etymologies?[edit]

Should this alternative form be moved to a specific etymology section? ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 16:50, 21 September 2016 (UTC)