Student Dictionary

2 entries found for berserk.
To select an entry, click on it.
Main Entry: 1ber·serk
Pronunciation: bschwa(r)-primarystresssschwark, secondarystressbschwar-, -primarystresszschwark; primarystressbschwar-secondarystresssschwark, -zschwark
Function: adjective
Etymology: from early Norse berserkr, from ber- (derived from the word for "bear") and serkr "shirt"
: gone out of control : CRAZY, AMOK
- berserk adverb
Word History Many hundreds of years ago in what is now Scandinavia, certain warriors were known for their wild and savage behavior in battle. These fighters wore masks or garments of animal skin and the early Norse word for such a person was berserkr, meaning literally, "bear shirt." The word was borrowed into English in the early 19th century when many people became interested in Norse history and legend. From berserker, with the sense of "a Scandinavian warrior," the word became berserk, a general term for a person whose behavior is reckless and wild.

Pronunciation Symbols