The Old Norse name Garmr has been interpreted as meaning "rag". The etymology of the name remains uncertain. Bruce Lincoln brings together Garmr and the Greek mythological dog Cerberus, relating both names to a Proto-Indo-European root *ger- "to growl" (perhaps with the suffixes -*m/*b and -*r). However, Daniel Ogden notes that this analysis actually requires Cerberus and Garmr to be derived from two different Indo-European roots (*ger- and *gher- respectively), and in this opinion does not establish a relationship between the two names.
One of the refrains of Völuspá uses Garmr's howling to herald the coming of Ragnarök:
After the first occurrence of this refrain the Fimbulvetr is related; the second occurrence is succeeded by the invasion of Jötnar (giants) in the world of gods; after the last occurrence, the rise of a new and better world is described.
Then Óðinn rose, | the enchanter old,
And the saddle he laid | on Sleipnir's back;
Thence rode he down | to Niflhel deep,
And the hound he met | that came from hell.
Bloody he was | on his breast before,
At the father of magic | he howled from afar;
Forward rode Óðinn, | the earth resounded
Till the house so high | of Hel he reached.
- Then shall the dog Garmr be loosed, which is bound before Gnipahellir: he shall do battle with Týr, and each become the other's slayer.
- Bellows, Henry Adams (trans.). 1923. The Poetic Edda. New York: The American-Scandinavian Foundation.
- Brodeur, Arthur Gilchrist (trans.). 1916. Snorri Sturluson: The Prose Edda. New York: The American-Scandinavian Foundation.
- Lincoln, Bruce (1991). Death, War, and Sacrifice: Studies in Ideology & Practice. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-48199-9.
- Ogden, Daniel (2013). Drakon: Dragon Myth and Serpent Cult in the Greek and Roman Worlds. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199557325.
- Orchard, Andy (1997). Dictionary of Norse Myth and Legend. Cassell. ISBN 978-0-304-34520-5.
- Simek, Rudolf (1996). Dictionary of Northern Mythology. D.S. Brewer. ISBN 978-0-85991-513-7.
- Media related to Garmr at Wikimedia Commons