a member of a race of Scandinavian people who attacked and sometimes settled in parts of NW Europe, including Britain, in the 8th to the 11th centuries Culture In Britain the Vikings were also known as Danes or Norsemen. They settled in the Scottish islands and in areas of eastern England, and the Danish king Canute (often also spelt Cnut) ruled England from 1016. The Vikings were feared as violent and cruel, but they were also noted for their skill in building ships and as sailors. They travelled in their long ships (= long narrow warships) to Iceland, Greenland and North America. They had an important influence on English culture and the English language, and their achievements are still celebrated in festivals such as Up-Helly-Aa. see also Danegeld, Danelaw, Vinland Word Originfrom Old Norse víkingr, from vík
‘creek’ or Old English wīc ‘camp, dwelling place’.