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This Proto-Germanic entry contains reconstructed words and roots. As such, the term(s) in this entry are not directly attested, but are hypothesized to have existed based on comparative evidence.



Cognate with Lithuanian alkas, elkas ("sanctuary, grove"), Latvian elks ("idol"). Pokorny (p. 32) proposes a derivation from Proto-Indo-European *alk- ("sacred place, sanctuary; idol") (= *h?elk-), from Proto-Indo-European *h?lek- ("to defend"), whence Ancient Greek (aléx?, "defend, ward off"), Ancient Greek ? (alk?, "defence, help, strength"), Latin ulciscor ("avenge"). Kroonen, however, doubts this, adding that "[g]iven the root noun inflection, it is conceivable that the word was adopted from a local non-I[ndo-]E[uropean] language by Germanic and Baltic after their arrival in Europe" (2013:22 s.v. *alh-).


*alhs m[1]

  1. shelter; building
  2. temple; sanctuary
  3. settlement, residence


consonant stemDeclension of *alhs (consonant stem)
singular plural
nominative *alhs *alhiz
vocative *alh *alhiz
accusative *alh? *alhunz
genitive *alhiz *alh
dative *alhi *alhumaz
instrumental *alh? *alhumiz

Related terms


  • Old English: ealh
  • Old Saxon: alah
  • Old High German: alah
  • Norse: (alh), (alh) alh (runic inscription)
  • Gothic: ? (alhs)


  1. ^ Kroonen, Guus (2013), "*alh-", in Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Germanic (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 11), Leiden, Boston: Brill, ->ISBN, page 22

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