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Grendel is not described directly as "monkey"

The term "orc-neas" appears in Beowulf, but not as a direct reference to Grendel. The author describes how the various monsters of the world originated from Cain, and "orc-neas" are mentioned in the list. This word appears only once in Anglo-Saxon poetry and prose, according to Klaeber's glossary.

Klaeber gives "evil spirits" as a translation, and Orcus in the etymology. Chickering has it as "walking dead." Silarius 00:36, 16 February 2006 (UTC) Whats up with bob the builder. I tagged it for citation.


This word simply means "one who scathes." It is not a race of creatures of which Grendel is an example. "Unscathed" and "scathing" are the two most common forms of this word used in modern English. Silarius 02:54, 16 February 2006 (UTC)


Under the Story section, someone had written in a few lines that not only had nothing to do with Grendel, but was very juvenile, inapropriate and in poor grammar/leet speak as well. Unfortuneatly I don't know what was the original intent for that section, so I'll leave that for someone more intelligent on the matter than I to redo it, but what was there had to go.

To LightDarkness, re the Bob the Builder reference; it's just someone vandalising the page. I simply made a mistake in my last revert, believing I was correcting it. I'll be more careful in reverting in the future, and I'm quite sure this is a case of vandalism. It seems odd though, that the IP changes...I can't figure that out. Carl.bunderson 02:59, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
I understand :-) The good thing is that it's all been fixed. --lightdarkness (talk) 03:06, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

10/12/06 - I found that someone had also vandalized the Etymology section with the words "cynthia sucks". As I'm relatively certain that the cynthia in question would not appreciate such rumors being spread, and since I'm the contributor who originally wrote the Etymology section (and hence felt somewhat insulted), I removed it from the page.

11/02/06 - Just curious: a few lines in the etymology section that I wrote concerning the alleged similarities between Beowulf and Hrolf's saga were re-written and slightly re-worded. I have no complaint about the revision, but I'm merely curious why Berig re-wrote those few lines. Again, I'm just curious.

I appear to have missed this comment totally. As a belated answer: you call the similarities "alledged" and I assume that you may have read Hrolf Kraki's saga and found them quite different. Yes, Beowulf and Hrólf Kraki's saga have little in common and I do not consider them similar at all. However, the Scandinavian matter appearing in Beowulf (and in Hrólf Kraki's saga) also appears in a more similar way in a wealth of other Scandinavian sources such as the Eddas, Chronicon Lethrense, Skjöldunga saga, Gesta Danorum and Ynglinga saga. This is why Beowulf has been compared with Scandinavian sources since its discovery and why Scandinavian sources are vital to the understanding of Beowulf. To put it plainly, Beowulf and Hrólf Kraki's saga may not seem very similar, but it is mainstream opinion that they (and other Scandinavian sources) treat many of the same characters.--Berig 22:53, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

5/117/07 - Your above comments seem to mirror my own thoughts on the matter. As I had originally written, I was attempting to establish the similiarities between the two works, and also to reference the scholarly belief that the two works, at least in part, deal with the same story and/or subject matter. We must remember that Beowulf was written much later than the events actually occurred, and in Britain -- though the story itself occurred in Scandinavia. However, the editing/re-write does not undermine what I wrote, so I won't complain.

Alternate telling?[edit]

At some point a few years ago, I heard about a creature (whom I thought was Grendel) in a classic tale (which I thought was Beowulf) that no one could defeat, that no man-made (something like that; meaning swords and arrows) weapons could harm, but was finally killed by the hero, who used a simple piece of wood to pierce the creature's skin. Now, I could have sworn this was Beowulf, but I didn't see anything about Grendel being killed by wood in this article. Has anyone heard of an alternate telling of the story where wood was used? --Gero 09:42, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

It sounds like Balder who was killed with a misteltoe.--Berig 19:12, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Unreferenced section[edit]

This section needs references before being restored back to article. -Classicfilms 01:49, 1 August 2007 (UTC)


Translation of the name Grendel is somewhat difficult, as there are no other mentions of it in surviving works of the period, and no extant information exists concerning how the anonymous author arrived at the name.

Possible original Old English roots may have been grynde (abyss), grindan, grindel, or grennian (grating, grinning or gnashing of the teeth), or even groen (green), which may or may not be a reference to a distant or northern homeland (supporting the theory that Grendel may have originated in an earlier legend as a troll, ettin or jotun). And since the original Old English version of the name may have been grendles (possibly meaning "green lies" -- les is Old English for "lies") or grendlas (possibly meaning "green foot" -- las could be a cognate form of last, which means "foot"), further confirmation may not be possible unless corroborating records or documents can be found.

Further complicating this is the probability that the author was relating a story which itself may have originated much earlier in Scandinavia, as is clearly suggested since it takes place in Denmark, concerns a mostly Danish group of characters, and Beowulf himself is Geatish. Therefore it's very likely that Grendel's name (and probably Beowulf's as well) was originally an Old Norse name, not an Old English name as has been generally accepted (i.e., "Beowulf" may have originally been an Old Norse equivalent such as "Bjornulf", or something similar).

However, no Scandinavian source dealing with the same set of characters (e.g. Hrólfr Kraki's saga, Gesta Danorum, Chronicon Lethrense or Skjöldunga saga) give any name for the corresponding creatures (bears and dragons killed by Beowulf's semi-equivalent Böðvarr Bjarki).

The meaning of Grendel's name is debated as much as the meaning of Beowulf's name, but all argument and discussion could very well be moot since it's possible that it was merely a creation of the author. But taking into account the probability that much of the original pagan story was likely skewed by the decidedly Christian views of the anonymous author, we must also consider the possibility that the Grendel character as presented may be entirely different in name and/or behavior from his/its depiction before the tale was finally committed to paper; i.e., there may have been considerable changes made to the character during the passage of several hundred years due to either garbled and altered re-tellings of the story, or changes in religious ideas brought about by the advent of Christianity. Indeed, another possibility is that Grendel may not have even existed in the original pagan story itself, but was later introduced as an adversary.

However, considering the more solid etymological theories concerning Beowulf's own name (as well as the names of other characters mentioned in the poem), it's more likely that when the anonymous author first put the story on paper Grendel's name had an Old English meaning (presumably comparable to its Old Norse original) which has by now become lost or forgotten.

date of Beowulf might be wrong[edit]

from the article " in the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf (bce. 700–1000)" I thought it was 700-1000 CE not BCE Seanm9 (talk) 02:22, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

You're right, ty for pointing it out. I've corrected it. Carl.bunderson (talk) 16:35, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Not convinced of recent edits[edit]

Why is the subject of Grendel's species so toxic? The "Description.." setting clearly presents a debate between scholars, yet recent editors seem to want to omit any mention of the other side of the debate showing Grendel as a monster.Dark hyena (talk) 10:06, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Insignificant Trivia[edit]

Wikipedia is a tertiary source. This means that Wikipedia is a catalogue of secondary sources and is not a venue for original search. This means that - in principle - everything included in Wikipedia should be tied to a secondary source and sourced. Everything without a source is subject to deletion without cause. No factoid is innocent until proven guilty. If it doesn't have a source it should be gone. This allows us the luxury of having less stuff with more confidence it is right rather than more stuff where we have no idea what is right or what is wrong. Some things may be allowed to remain unsourced as a courtesy. On top of this, the requirement of the existence of a secondary source ensures significance. If no writer of any secondary source out there has bothered to mention a factoid, it is probably insignificant and not worthy of inclusion. The more insignificant nonsense that gets included, the harder a reader has to work to get significant information out of an article.

In fact, you will notice that truth is not a sufficient condition for inclusion. It is truth as evidence by a secondary source. Typically truth not evidenced by a secondary source is original research, and thus does not merit inclusion. It may be true that in some book the character Joe Bob was nicknamed "Grendel", and you know this is true because you read the book, but this is original research since you are not using a secondary source.

This is really the reason the trivia section ought to go in most every article. In the case here, the existence of an entire article devoted to trivia, as well as the convenient link already present in this article means the trivia section doubly needs to go as it is only reproducing information from an article devoted to exactly that information. The interested reader can simply select the link, so why bother to reproduce information that can be gotten to so easily?Ekwos (talk) 03:22, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

Question: What in the source for "After a long battle, Beowulf gets fatter and mortally wounds Grendel by ripping his arm off"? Beowulf get fatter??? Is this accurate to the story, or poem, or whatever source??? Jasonred79 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:17, 25 October 2011 (UTC)


The Poem states that Grendels "hond" was ripped off. That must be the hand of Grendel. At least up to the 1600 century In Scandinavia it was common to cut off the hand of a murder just before the beheading. Since the act of committing the murder was done with the hand, it was most likely to be considered the evil portion of the murderer. The assumes is then that the conscience and mind was not a factor in the murderers objectives. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:44, 30 January 2014 (UTC) -- (talk) 00:06, 2 February 2014 (UTC)KLAS A. PERSSON


æglæca sounds a lot like the Swedish word äckliga or Danish word eklige, that means really disgusting. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:07, 31 January 2014 (UTC) -- (talk) 00:06, 2 February 2014 (UTC)KLAS A. PERSSON