The noun is borrowed from Old Norse berserkr (“Norse warrior who fights in a frenzy”), probably from bjǫrn (“bear”) + serkr (“coat; shirt”), referring to the bearskins which the warriors wore. Bjǫrn is possibly ultimately derived from Proto-Indo-European *bʰerH- (“brown”); and serkr from Proto-Indo-European *ser- (“to bind, tie together; thread”). Alternatively, it has been suggested that the first element of the word is from berr (“bare, naked”), referring to warriors who went into battle without armour, but this is now thought unlikely. Doublet of berserker.
- Hyphenation: ber‧serk
berserk (plural berserks)
- (historical) Synonym of
- 1848, [Charles Kingsley], “New Actors, and a New Stage”, in Yeast: A Problem. […], London: John W[illiam] Parker, […], published 1851, →OCLC, page 40:
- She had heard of his profligacy, his bursts of fierce Berserk-madness; and yet now these very faults, instead of repelling, seemed to attract her, and intensify her longing to save him.
- beresque (Australian, jocular)
- Furiously, injuriously, or maniacally violent or out of control.
- After seeing his sister stabbed to death, he went berserk and attacked the killer like a wild animal.
- 1908 (date written), Rudyard Kipling, “Regulus”, in A Diversity of Creatures, London: Macmillan and Co., […], published 1917, →OCLC, page 264:
- 'You went Berserk. I've read all about it in Hypatia.' […] 'You've gone Berserk and pretty soon you'll go to sleep. But you'll probably be liable to fits of it all your life,' Beetle concluded.
- (by extension)
- Bizarre; weird.
- 2017 June 26, Alexis Petridis, “Glastonbury 2017 verdict: Radiohead, Foo Fighters, Lorde, Stormzy and more”, in Katharine Viner, editor, The Guardian, London: Guardian News & Media, →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 30 March 2022:
- [T]he writer conjured up a dystopian fantasy more berserk than anything you might find yourself listening to in the small hours at the Stone Circle.
- (rare, dialectal, slang) Wildly joyous; ecstatic.
- Bizarre; weird.
- (intransitive) To be or become berserk.
- 1958 December, Finn O’Donnevan [pseudonym; Robert Sheckley], “Join Now”, in Galaxy Magazine, volume 17, number 2, New York, N.Y.: Galaxy Publishing Corporation, page 28, column 1:
- I suppose losing one hand made Stack especially sensitive to the possible loss of another. The wound was superficial, but he berserked. He killed the native with a riot gun, then turned it on the rest of them. A lieutenant had to bludgeon him into unconsciousness before he could be stopped.
- 1986, Piers Anthony, “Revolt”, in Wielding a Red Sword (Incarnations of Immortality; book four), New York, N.Y.: Del Rey Books, →ISBN, page 246:
- But the blood was in Mym’s mouth, and his berserker rage was coming upon him. No mortal man could match the reflexes and power of a berserker; the fact that Mym’s rage was controlled did not change that. “Isn’t that quaint,” Satan said. “He berserks. Perhaps this will be at least minimally entertaining.” He thrust with the spear again, and Mym dodged aside again, but the miss was narrow.
- 1996, Sarah Harrison, Life after Lunch, London: Sceptre, →ISBN, page 9:
- The American held his serve to love, and by way of a flourish sent one of the balls up to his opponent with a courtesy ace. He followed this with a pretended prayer of thanks and a self-deprecating gesture. The crowd berserked. The camera, sneaking another quick look at the chanteuse, was rewarded with the flicker of a smile.
- 2002, Pamela Kaufman, The Book of Eleanor: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Three Rivers Press, →ISBN, page 240:
- “His enemy was France, but he destroyed his own people to be certain of their allegiance. I watched him charge against a helpless countryside. He berserks, slashes, burns—oh, he’s formidable when he wants a piece of ground. Now he covets Aquitaine.”
- 2009, Janice Josephine Carney, “My Darkness”, in Mantras from the Great Void, Xlibris, →ISBN:
- I berserked / on my loving dog’s / puppies / Poor Molly / I killed her babies / […] / I berserked in New Hampshire / axing my children’s / chickens to death / in a complete rage / I went berserk / and attacked / the chicken coop
- 2011, John Trevillian, The A-Men Return, Matador, →ISBN, page 35:
- First I see of the Wasters is when they berserk through the rubble.
- 2012, Claire Sisco King, “Unhinged Heroes and Alpha Traumas”, in Washed in Blood: Male Sacrifice, Trauma, and the Cinema, New Brunswick, N.J., London: Rutgers University Press, →ISBN, page 51:
- For example, one year after Omega Man’s release Welcome Home, Soldier Boys (Richard Compton, 1972) depicts scenes of soldiers “berserking,” and Skyjacked (John Guillermin, 1972) pits an airline pilot (played by Heston as well) against a berserk Vietnam veteran hijacking a commercial airplane.
- 2014, Mya Lairis, A Guardian’s Passion, Loose Id LLC / Lightning Source, Inc., published 2015, →ISBN, page 158:
- She came to a stop before Vaegar and Gaea, eyes darting to Fenris. “I’m sorry. Am I disturbing something? Were you about to berserk the fuck out?” she asked just as casually as she would inquire about the weather.
- 2017, Christina Phillips, Hooked, Entangled Publishing, LLC, →ISBN:
- “I was expecting an ax-wielding berserker at the very least.” “You would,” Grace retorts, but she’s trying not to laugh. “I only berserk on Sundays.” Charity chokes on her cocktail, and Grace leans over and pats her back. “You don’t berserk at all.”
- 2020, JD Erickson, The Adventures of the Few and Sometimes Stan, AuthorHouse, →ISBN:
- Billy was by all accounts to be a Viking. Six feet four inches tall with a blond beard down to his chest, blue grey eyes that seem to never blink when looking at you. Billy was ready to berserk on a moment’s notice and people sensed it.
- (transitive) To make berserk.
- 1981, Roy Bennett, Images of Summer, Sutton, Surrey: Hippopotamus Press, →ISBN, page 76:
- O holy Virgin, whereabout / Were you when all the swinish rout / Berserked the town? Those legions of the dead / Move only at the lash of lust. / Pray for us, or we die to trust— / Charred matchwood cursing Christ, who also bled.
- 2007, Jeff Weddle, Bohemian New Orleans: The Story of the Outsider and Loujon Press, University Press of Mississippi, →ISBN, page 148:
- After a quote from Miller, calling Bukowski the “poet satyr of today’s underground,” and another from Bukowski, “Sexual intercourse is kicking death in the ass while singing,” Jon worked to lure an audience to see the “world famous poet, critic and storyteller whose Notes of a Dirty Old Man so far has sold 250,000 copies & whose All the Assholes in the World & Mine berserked the establishment to billy-club screams of outrage.”
- 2016, Bravely Second: End Layer, Strategy Guide, Gamer Guides, →ISBN:
- It can use Slash to physically attack one character or Wrath to berserk the party.
- Berserker on Wikipedia.Wikipedia
- berserk, berserker, beserk at Google Ngram Viewer
- “berserk”, in OneLook Dictionary Search.
berserk m anim
This noun needs an inflection-table template.
- berserk in Příruční slovník jazyka českého, 1935–1957
- berserk in Slovník spisovného jazyka českého, 1960–1971, 1989
berserk m (plural berserks)
berserk m pers
- berserk in Polish dictionaries at PWN