berserk

[ber-surk, -zurk]
adjective
1.
violently or destructively frenzied; wild; crazed; deranged: He suddenly went berserk.
noun
2.
(sometimes initial capital letter) Scandinavian Legend.. Also, berserker. an ancient Norse warrior who fought with frenzied rage in battle, possibly induced by eating hallucinogenic mushrooms.

Origin:
1865–70; < Old Norse berserkr, equivalent to ber- (either *ber-, base of bjǫrn bear2 or berr bare1) + serkr sark, shirt, armor

berserkly, adverb
berserkness, noun


1. violent, mad, maniacal, rabid, demented, lunatic.


1. rational, calm.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
berserk (bəˈzɜːk, -ˈsɜːk)
 
adj
1.  frenziedly violent or destructive (esp in the phrase go berserk)
 
n
2.  Also called: berserker a member of a class of ancient Norse warriors who worked themselves into a frenzy before battle and fought with insane fury and courage
 
[C19: Icelandic berserkr, from björn bear + serkr shirt]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

berserk
"Norse warrior," 1822, introduced by Sir Walter Scott, from O.N. berserkr (n.) "raging warrior of superhuman strength," probably from *ber- "bear" + serkr "shirt," thus lit. "a warrior clothed in bearskin." The -r was O.N. masc. singular ending, mistaken for agent noun suffix. The adj. is 1867, from
such phrases as go berserk.

berserker
alt. form of berserk (q.v.), from O.N. berserkr, acc. of berserk. This is the oldest form of the word in its revival in Mod.Eng. (1822), and perhaps Scott, who introduced it, mistook the -r for an agent-noun suffix.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences for berserker
This form of amok appears to resemble the berserker of the norse.
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