goþer (OSw) góðr (ON) adj.

Literally ‘good’. People referred to as goþer served legal functions such as to inspect, give valuations, appear as witnesses, give advice, and are often difficult to delimit from other representatives of the local community with similar functions.

highest ranked OIce Llb 19
of higher social standing ONorw GuL Kvr
of the highest social standing ONorw GuL Llb
worthy OSw UL Kmb
OSw VmL Mb


bæzta mæn (OSw)

honest men OSw MEL Äb

goth bonde (ODan)

good householder ODan ESjL 2

gothe bolfaste men (OSw)

good resident men OSw KrL Rb

gode byamen (OSw)

good townsmen OSw MESt Äb

gode friborne men (OSw)

good free men OSw KrL Rb

goþæ konor (pl.) (OSw) gothe kone (pl.) (ODan)

These could give testimony of pregnancy and childbirth.

good women OSw BjR MESt DbI ODan ESjL 1 JyL 1 SkL 1

goþer drænger (OSw)

Occurring once of a man, presumably a pilgrim, who is re-baptized in the river Jordan.

good man OSw SmL

goþir mæn (OSw) gothe mæn (ODan) góðir menn (pl.) (ON)

In ON, a more or less well defined group of men acting as advisors to and representatives of the king, but also more generally referring to all upstanding citizens defended by the king and the bishop. In ODan, sometimes with another adjective such as ræt ‘just’ or san ‘true’, usually of a group of men who testified or inspected something. In OSw, men taking part in the eriksgata (q.v.) (SdmL).

good men OSw BjR KrL Kb, Gb MEL Gb MESt Kb, Gb, Jb, Bb, Kmb, Skb, Rb, SmbI, Tb SdmL Till ODan ESjL 2, 3 JyL Fort, 1−3 SkL 44, 95, 105, 231 SkBL VSjL 24 OIce Þfb 8, HT 2 Js Mah 4 KRA 16

reliable men ODan JyL 3

sturdy man OSw MEL Kb

true men OSw MEL Kb

trustworthy men ODan VSjL 75, 82

gömin ok goþer (OSw)

careful and caring OSw UL Äb

göþa ok goþan göra (OSw)

suggest and substantiate someone’s free status OSw UL Kmb VmL Mb


Helle 1972, 19−102; KLNM, s.v. drengskapr; Lindow 1976, 106−12; SAOB s.v. god (2c), godeman; Sawyer and Sawyer 2002; SL SmL, 443, note 6; Tamm and Vogt, eds, 2016, 309

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

  • http://www.dhi.ac.uk/lmnl/nordicheadword/displayPage/1778