The Old Norse name Hnoss is translated as 'treasure'. It is semantically and etymologically comparable with the Icelandic hnoss ('nipper'), or with the Old Danish noss ('sweetheart) and nusse ('infant').
Freyia is highest in rank next to Frigg. She was married to someone called Od. Hnoss is the name of their daughter. She is so beautiful that from her name whatever is beautiful and precious is called hnossir [treasures].— Gylfaginning, 34–35, trans. A. Faulkes, 1987.
In Skáldskaparmál (The Language of Poetry), a þulur (18–22) mentions Hnoss as the daughter of Freyja ("How shall Freyia be referred to? By calling her (...) mother of Hnoss"), and another passage (75) of the poem describes "Hnoss and Gersemi" as her daughters. Gersemi (whose name also means 'treasure' and only appears in this passage of the Prose Edda) could be the same figure as Hnoss.
I am able to possess Horn’s [Freyia’s] gold-wrapped glorious child [Hnoss; hnoss = treasure]. We received a valuable treasure. Ocean’s fire [gold] rests on shield’s damager [axe]. Freyr’s niece [Hnoss] bears her mother’s eyelash-rain [tears]
- de Vries, Jan (1962). Altnordisches Etymologisches Worterbuch (1977 ed.). Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-05436-3.
- Faulkes, Anthony, trans. (1987). Edda (1995 ed.). Everyman. ISBN 0-460-87616-3.
- Lindow, John (2001). Norse Mythology: A Guide to Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-983969-8.
- Orchard, Andy (1997). Dictionary of Norse Myth and Legend. Cassell. ISBN 978-0-304-34520-5.