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See also: Jotun, jötun, Jötun, and jøtun



The jötnar Fafnir and Fasolt seize Freyja in an illustration by Arthur Rackham in The Rhinegold & the Valkyrie (1910),[1] a retelling of Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung)

Borrowed from Old Norse jǫtunn, from Proto-Germanic *etunaz (giant). The word is a doublet of ettin.



jotun (plural jotuns or jötnar)

  1. (Norse mythology) A member of a race of giants who usually stand in opposition to the Æsir and especially to Thor.
    • 1831, Walter Savage Landor, “Gunlaug”, in Gebir, Count Julian, and Other Poems, London: Edward Moxon, 64, New Bond Street, OCLC 3573833, page 279:
      Some with disdain his reasons heard, / While others wisht the cause deferr'd. / Then Ormur spake, in speech of scorn, / Ormur, the friend of Asbiorn, / Who, daring singly to engage, / A jotun, proved his fatal rage.
    • 1908, The Elementary School Teacher, volume 8, Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press, OCLC 54395339, page 214:
      When Christianity became the religion of the people the trolls gradually assumed something of the role formerly played by the more powerful Jotuns.
    • 1967, Ingri D'Aulaire; Edgar Parin D'aulaire, “Loki, the God of the Jotun Race”, in Norse Gods and Giants, Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, ISBN 978-0-385-04908-5; republished as D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths, New York, N.Y.: New York Review of Books, 2005, ISBN 978-1-59017-125-7, page 42:
      When Odin was still young – before he had hanged himself on Yggdrasil and drunk from the Well of Wisdom – his eyes had fallen on a jotun named Loki.
    • 2001, John Lindow, “The Historical Background”, in Handbook of Norse Mythology (Handbooks of World Mythology), Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, →ISBN, page 2:
      The world in which the æsir and jötnar play out their struggle has its own set of place-names but is essentially recognizable as Scandinavia. There are rivers, mountains, forests, oceans, storms, cold weather, fierce winters, eagles, ravens, salmon, and snakes.

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  1. ^ Richard Wagner; Margaret Armour, transl. (1910) The Rhinegold & the Valkyrie, London: W. Heinemann; New York, N.Y.: Doubleday, Page & Company, OCLC 5351515.

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