fæmt (OSw) fimt (ODan) fimmt (ON) fimt (ON) noun

This word — derived from the numeral fæm/fimm — was the usual term for a summons to appear in a certain place after five days, and for the meeting or gathering held at the expiration of five days. The fæmt was the usual notice, summons, or time limit in relation to judicial matters.

It is known from several Nordic provincial laws and even elsewhere (e.g. the Faroes). OSw fæmt was held five days after an assembly and fulfilled a function similar to a home summons (heimstefna, see hemstæmpnung) in Norway, where debts could be settled. In Iceland, this concept appears in Js and Jó.

There are reasons to believe that the fæmt was the length of a week in early Medieval Norway, and probably in all mainland Scandinavia. This rests, inter alia, on the length of the month, which was six weeks in the GuL (see Sunde 2011b, 224−25). It is not clear when the seven-day week was introduced in Scandinavia, but this probably took place before the introduction of Christianity. Nevertheless, the five-day week continued in use, esp. in matters of law and public business.

fifth ODan JyL 1
OSw ÖgL Kkb, Eb, Db, Äb, Jb, Kmb, Rb, Bb

five day term ODan ESjL 3
five day’s notice summons OIce Llb 13
OIce KRA 29
ONorw FrL KrbB 20 LlbB 4
ONorw GuL Llb, Olb

five days ODan ESjL 3
ODan SkL 142
OIce Llb 15
OIce KRA 11
ONorw FrL Mhb 33

five-day deadline ONorw EidsL 32.6
five-day grace period ONorw EidsL 38.2
five-day interval ODan ESjL 2, 3
five-day time limit ONorw BorgL 11.3
ONorw EidsL 8.2 17.3

gathering OSw SmL
grace OSw SmL
notice OFar Seyð 10
period of five days ONorw GuL Krb, Kpb, Llb, Mhb, Tjb, Leb, Olb
term of five days ODan ESjL 2, 3
ODan JyL 2, 3
ODan SkL 71

within five days ODan JyL 2

yvarsti fæmt (OSw)

the final fifth OSw ÖgL Äb, Bb


Helle 2001, 185−86; Hertzberg s.v. fimt; KLNM s.v.v. fimtarstefna, gravøl, termin, vecka; LexMA s.v.v. Haus, -formen, C, Rechts- und Verfassungsgeschichte. II: Skandinavien; Schlyter s.v. fæmt; Sunde 2011b, 223−29

  • ‘fæmt’. A Lexicon of Medieval Nordic Law.

  • http://www.dhi.ac.uk/lmnl/nordicheadword/displayPage/1608