The word viking does not mean pirate: from Old Norse víkingr, from vík ‘creek’ or Old English wīc ‘camp, dwelling place’.
‘Vig’ in danish is the inlet where the viking ships gathered. I’m danish, so I should know. ;)
Well davidbeatnick, I never said Viking just means pirate, that was someone I…
Since I assume it is my blog post that is being referred to here, let me clarify that “viking” meaning pirate is in reference to the way the word “víkingr" is used in Old Norse texts, or more specifically, Old West Norse texts from Iceland and Norway round about the 1200s and 1300s, including places where the Latin pirata (pirate) and related words were explicitly glossed as equivalent to víkingr. The origin of the word is still debated, which was one of the points of my blog post (which in turn was loosely related to some of my work when I was a grad student around 2006 or so—at the time I wrote the blog post I was revisiting an old conference paper for my current work on Cultural Memory theory and Old Norse literature). While the “creek” or “camp” suggestions certainly have a lot going for them, there are some other ideas out there too—I particularly like Eldar Heide’s idea, which I reference at the end of the blog post. (also, I’m assuming davidbeatnick’s comment “I’m danish, so I should know…” refers to knowing the modern Danish definition of “vig”, rather than implying that being Danish grants magical insight into proto-/Old Norse or Old English…)
All that said, it is a bit unfair of me to just say “VIKING MEANS PIRATE” as though that were the only authentic meaning throughout history—the question of origins highlights precisely the fact that different meanings have been dominant throughout history, and in fact may be complicated by non-Scandi origins, as the potential Old English origin for the word suggests. “Viking” as “Viking age Scandinavian” is as valid for the contemporary English speaker as “Pirate” was for the 13th century scribe. I say “Viking = Pirate” primarily as a way to highlight the fact the fact that, while for English speaking countries the word tends to be used to mean ALL Viking age Scandinavians, it had a much more specific referent in Scandinavian languages of the time—though I confess that my research focused on the literary West Norse of the Middle Ages, and didn’t really work much with the evidence from older rune stones or older skaldic verse (most surviving rune stones and skaldic verse are medieval rather than Viking age, but the older stuff is great!). I think the picture is potentially different there, but I had a more particular thesis relating to the sagas that I was focused on, and all this is stuff that I haven’t had time to really think about for a while now, so I’m afraid I don’t have details for ya’ll at the moment… would like to return to it one day though.