Heil og sæl

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Heil og sæl (English: healthy and happy) was a common greeting in the Norse society. During the Second World War, the national socialist party in Norway attempted to reintroduce the greeting.


Originally a Norse greeting, it had the form heill ok sæll when addressed to a man, and heil ok sæl when to a woman.

The adjective heil (also hel) is related to the English adjective whole/hale. The verb heile (also hele) is related to the English verb heal through their common origin, the Germanic word stem *haila-. The word has likewise clear connections to the German verb heilen as it is known in the national socialist salute “Heil Hitler”.

The adjective sæl, meaning happy or glad, is in Old English documented only in the negated variant unsǣle, meaning evil.

National socialism[edit]

During the German occupation of Norway (1940–45), National Unification, being the only legal party, sought to introduce in all parts of society this greeting together with a raised right hand. However, the attempt was not successful. Heil og sæl remained compulsory for party members and police.

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Literature and sources[edit]