Word of the Day – Berserk

Word of the Day : April 8, 2020


adjective – ber-SERK


Did You Know?

Berserk comes from Old Norse berserkr, which combines ber- (“bear”) and serkr (“shirt”). According to Norse legend, berserkrs were warriors who wore bearskin coverings and worked themselves into such frenzies during combat that they became immune to the effects of steel and fire. Berserk was borrowed into English (first as a noun and later as an adjective) in the 19th century, when interest in Scandinavian myth and history was high. It was considered a slang term at first, but it has since gained broader acceptance.


The dog inevitably goes berserk whenever he hears the doorbell.

“It was the first costume exhibit I had ever seen in my life. I didn’t know such a thing even existed. And I was so excited and I went berserk…. So much of what was in the exhibit, I already owned.” — Sandy Schreier, quoted in The Washington Post, 13 Nov. 2019.

Merriam-Webster Word of the Day