While the second half of the word, "-wang", is widely considered to mean "field" and waggs appears for "paradise" in Gothic, the first half of the word has not resulted in a standard result, though at least a dozen attempts have been made to interpret it. Scholar Rudolf Simek states that it is possible to consider the term as a Proto-Germanic term for "Asgard" or "Other World" due to the unclear meaning, that Christian authors who used it seemed have a poor understanding of it as well, and that it corresponds with the North Germanic terms Iðavöllr (possibly "field of activity" or "the continually renewing, rejuvenating field") and Glæsisvellir ("the shining fields").
19th century scholar Jacob Grimm comments that etymological connections have been proposed between Norn and Neorxnawang, but says that the theory raises etymological and lore problems: "The A. gen. pl. neorxana, which only occurs in 'neorxena wong' = paradisus, has been proposed, but the abbreviation would be something unheard of, and even the nom. sing. neorxe or neorxu at variance with norn; besides,the Parcae are nowhere found connected with paradise."
Late 19th and early 20th century philologist James Bright proposes that the variant neorxena- element derives from the phrase ne wyrcan, meaning "no working".