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indo-european miller mjolnir mjolner crusher mjol flour icon

Mjölnir, Mjǫlnir, Mjollnir, Mjölner, Mjølner, Mjølnir, Mjølne. Those are the many names for a famous hammer of Thor!

They all literally mean A CRUSHER. A miller is also a crusher, the one who brings you flour from crushed grains.

Mjøl in Norwegian Nynorsk literally means "flour" or "powder" that is why Mjølner could also mean "The one who crushes to powder".

In Russian there is a word молния (molnija), in Bulgarian мълния (mŭlniya), in Bosnian munja, in Old Church Slavonic мльньи (mlĭnĭi), млънии (mlŭnii) also in Welsh mellt all of them meaning "lightning" - the weapon of The Storm God. It is a powerful force of nature that... crushes oaks, buildings and sets mills ablaze.

The word Miller therefore comes from the process of crushing or melting (by lightning). From Middle English melten, from Old English meltan ("to consume by fire, melt, burn up, dissolve, digest") and Old English mieltan ("to melt, digest, refine, purge, exhaust"), cognate with Icelandic melta ("to melt, digest").

In Old Norse texts, Mjölnir is identified as hamarr "a hammer", a word that in Old Norse and some modern Norwegian dialects can mean "hammer" as well as "stone, rock, cliff". As such it is a cognate with Sanskrit अश्मन् (aśman), meaning "stone, rock, stone tool, hammer" as well as "thunderbolt". In Persian a stone is "sang" and a thunderbolt is "sprenčan-sang" or صاعقه (sa'eqe). In Sogdian a stone is "snk" and a thunderbolt "spryncn snk".

What is even more interesting is that in Classical Neo-Hittite "GIŠ kamisanā-" means "log", "thunderbolt" while the word "kamy" in Old Church Slavonic means "stone". GIŠ in this Hittite word is just a Determiner Sumerogram for wood and in combination with "kamisanā-" = "thunderbolt" literally means "wood for fire" that is "log".

All this could form a uniform idea of miller's profession, grinding stone, flint stone, thunderbolt and fire connection. Black flint stones (or maybe Flintstones hehe) when struck upon each other release a very small lightning that could be used to create fire.

"Thor bore down on Hrungnir at tremendous speed and brandishing his hammer hurled it at Hrungnir from a great distance. Hrungnir lifted up the whetstone in both hands and flung it against the hammer and the whetstone colliding with it in mid-air was smashed to pieces. One part fell to the ground and all the whetstone quarries have come from those fragments. The whetstone that Hrungnir threw is the source of all the flint in Midgard." - Skáldskaparmál, Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson. Jacob Grimm talks about a stone called the Thunder-stone and says that "our fathers saw it in the hard flint".


English: miller

Middle English: miller, millere

Frisian: miller

Afrikaans: Miller

Old English: mylner, mylnere, milnere

Old Norse: mylnari

Icelandic: mylnari

Norwegian Nynorsk: mylnar

Kurdish: mîlyar

Punjabi: ਮਿੱਲਰ (milara)

Gujarati: મિલર (Milara)

Sinhalese: මිලර් (milar)


Old Church Slavonic: мльньи (mlĭnĭi)

Serbo-Croatian: млинар, mlinar

Bosnian: mlinar

Polish: młynarz

Belarusian: млына́р (mlynár)

Slovak: mlynár

Czech: mlynář

Czech: mlít ("to grind")

Old Church Slavonic: млънии (mlŭnii) ("lightning")


---> Hungarian: molnár

---> Estonian: mölder

Latin: molīnārius, molitor

Catalan: moliner

Spanish: molinero, molinera

Swedish: mjölnare

Portuguese: moleiro, moleira

Danish: møller

Norwegian Bokmål: møller

Norwegian Nynorsk: møllar

Dutch: molenaar, molenaarster

Low German: Möller

Polabian Drevani: molonica ("mill")

Asturian: moler ("to grind")

Catalan: moldre ("to grind")

Occitan: mòler, mòlre ("to grind")

Romansch: moler, moller ("to grind")

Sardinian: molere, moliri, moli ("to grind")

Spanish: moler ("to grind")

Old East Slavic: молотъ (molotŭ) ("hammer")

Old Belarusian: молот (molot) ("hammer")

Belarusian: мо́лат (mólat) ("hammer")

Russian: мо́лот (mólot) ("hammer")

Ukrainian: мо́лот (mólot) ("hammer")

Old East Slavic: молоти (moloti) ("to grind")

Russian: моло́ть (molótʹ) ("to grind")

Ukrainian: моло́ти (molóty) ("to grind")

Latin: molō ("to grind")


Romanian: morar, morăreasă, morăriță

Westrobothnian: mörnnar


Old Polish: młot ("hammer")

Polish: młot ("hammer")

Slovincian: młot ("hammer")

Upper Sorbian: młót ("hammer")

Serbo-Croatian: mlȏt ("hammer")


Norman: monnyi

Champaignat: moure ("to grind")

Franco-Provençal: modre ("to grind")

French: moudre ("to grind")

Galician: moer ("to grind")

Portuguese: moer ("to grind")

Walloon: moure ("to grind")


Lithuanian: malūnininkas, malėjas

Old Prussian 1350 AD: malunis ("gristmill")

Westrobothnian: malar

Belarusian: мало́ць (malócʹ) ("to grind")

Hittite: malla-i ("to grind")

Lithuanian: málti ("to grind")

German: mahlen ("to grind")

Old Armenian: մալեմ (malem) ("to crush")

Old Saxon: malan ("to grind")

Middle Low German: malen ("to grind")

Middle Dutch: mālen ("to grind")

Dutch: malen ("to grind")

Afrikaans: maal ("to grind")

Old High German: malan ("to grind")

Middle High German: malen, maln ("to grind")

German: mahlen ("to grind")

Old Norse: mala ("to grind")

Icelandic: mala ("to grind")

Faroese: mala ("to grind")

Old Swedish: mala ("to grind")

Swedish: mala ("to grind")

Danish: male ("to grind")

Norwegian: male ("to grind")

Westrobothnian: mala, mäla, mjäla ("to grind")

Gothic: 𐌼𐌰𐌻𐌰𐌽 (malan) ("to grind")

Latin: malleus ("hammer")

Catalan: mall ("hammer")

English: mallet, malleus ("hammer")

French: mail ("hammer")

Portuguese: malho ("hammer")

Galician: mallo ("hammer")

Campidanese: mallu ("hammer")

Aromanian: malj, maljiu ("hammer")

Romansch: magl ("hammer")

Serbo-Croatian: ма̑љ, mȃlj ("hammer")

Spanish: mallo ("hammer")

Middle English: malme ("sand")

English: malm, maulm, maum, mawm ("sand")

Scots: maum; maumie ("sand")

Dutch: malm ("sand")

Middle High German: malm ("sand")

German: Malm; malmen, zermalmen ("sand")

Old Norse: malmr ("sand")

Icelandic: málmur ("sand")

Faroese: málmur ("sand")

Norwegian: malm ("sand")

Old Swedish: malmer ("sand")

Swedish: malm ("sand")

Danish: malm ("sand")

Gothic: 𐌼𐌰𐌻𐌼𐌰 (malma) ("sand")

Latgalian: malt ("to grind")

Latvian: malt ("to grind")

Polish: miał ("dust, fine powder, chalk, muddy water")

Belarusian: мялю́ (mjaljú) ("I grind")

Old English: mealm, mealmstān ("sand")


Albanian: maj ("hammer")

Romanian: mai ("hammer")

Walloon: maye ("hammer")

Italian: maglio ("hammer")

Logudorese: magiu ("hammer")

Sicilian: magghiu ("hammer")


Old Church Slavonic: млатъ ⰿⰾⰰⱅⱏ (mlatŭ) ("hammer")

Bulgarian: млат (mlat) ("hammer")

Macedonian: млат (mlat) ("hammer")

Serbo-Croatian: мла̑т, mlȃt ("hammer")

Slovene: mlȃt ("hammer")

Old Czech: mlat ("hammer")

Czech: mlat, młat ("hammer")

Slovak: mlat ("hammer")

Lower Sorbian: mlaś ("to grind")


---> Finnish: mylläri

Old Swedish: myllare, mylnare

Ancient Greek: μύλη (múlē) ("mill, hand-mill, nether millstone")

Greek: μυλωνάς (mylonás)

Albanian: mullixhi

Italian: mulinaro

Saterland Frisian: Muller

German: Müller, Müllerin

Luxembourgish: muelen ("to grind")


Aromanian: murar

Galician: muiñeiro, muiñeira

Irish: muilleoir

Gaelic: muillear

Italian: mugnaio


Old Lithuanian: melnikas

Russian: ме́льник (mélʹnik)

Bulgarian: мелничар (melničar)

Ukrainian: ме́льник (mélʹnyk), млина́р (mlynár), міро́шник (miróšnyk)

Welsh: melinydd

Luxembourgish: Mëller

Middle English: meller

Czech: melu ("I grind")

Polish: mielę ("I grind")

Slovak: meliem ("I grind")

Russian: мелю́ (meljú) ("I grind")

Ukrainian: мелю́ (meljú) ("I grind")

Old Church Slavonic: мелѭ (meljǫ) ("I grind")

Macedonian: меле (mele) ("I grind")

Serbo-Croatian: ме̏ље̑м, mȅljȇm ("I grind")

Slovene: mẹ́ljem ("I grind")

Lower Sorbian: mjelom ("I grind")

Upper Sorbian: mjelu ("I grind")

Old East Slavic: мѣлъ (mělŭ) ("finely ground substance")

Belarusian: мел (mjel) ("finely ground substance")

Russian: мель (melʹ) ("sandbank, shoal"), мел (mel) ("chalk")

Old Church Slavonic: мѣлъ (mělŭ) ("lime")

Chakavian: mẽlj ("fine sand"), mél ("dust, powder")

Slovene: mẹ̑lj, mél, míl ("sandbank")

Old Czech: měl ("shoal, sandbank, fodder")

Czech: měl ("pebble, dust, powder, loose earth; spit, shoal")

Old Polish: miel ("sandbank"), miał ("finely ground substance")

Polish: mieł ("dust, fine powder, chalk, muddy water")

Lower Sorbian: měł, měłny ("finely ground substance")

Lithuanian: smė̃lis, smėlỹs ("sand")

Latvian: smēlis ("fine sand")

Old Norse: melr ("sandbank")

Bulgarian: ме́ля (mélja) ("to grind")

Old Irish: meilid ("to grind, to crush")

Old English: mealm, mealmstān ("sand")

French: meunier, meunière


Old Church Slavonic: млѣти (mlěti) ("to grind")

Serbo-Croatian: мље̏ти, мле̏ти, mljȅti, mlȅti ("to grind")

Slovene: mlẹ́ti ("to grind")

Polish: mleć ("to grind")

Slovak: mlieť ("to grind")

Upper Sorbian: mlěć ("to grind")

Kashubian: młënôrz


Sanskrit: मृणाति (mṛṇā́ti) ("crush, smash, kill")

Non Indo-European languages:

Amharic: mīleri

Japanese: ミラー (Mirā)

Kazakh: мылжың (mıljıñ)

In a Celtic story called "Poagey Liaur Jeh Cailagh" the mill is actually a hero that kills the evil witch.

Finally, the old woman came to the mill.

"Mill, did you see a girl with a long leather bag pass this way?"

The mill said: "Come close, Cailleach, so that I may hear clearly what you are asking. Come and whisper into my wheel, where I might hear you clearer."

The old woman went up to the wheel and thrust her head forward to whisper into it and just then the mill wheel twisted round and dragged her into its cogs and stone pivots so that she was ground right up and the tiny pieces were washed down the nearby hole in the ground where the water ran.

And this hole was called the "Towl Creg y Vuggane" where, some say, you may hear the hag's cry even to this day.

Article created on the 19th of May 2018. Last updated on the 9th of September 2020.

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