Thor

Thor
/thawr/, n.
1. Scand. Myth. the god of thunder, rain, and farming, represented as riding a chariot drawn by goats and wielding the hammer Mjolnir: the defender of the Aesir, destined to kill and be killed by the Midgard Serpent.
2. a medium-range U.S. Air Force ballistic missile developed in the early 1950s and powered by a single liquid-propellant rocket engine.
3. a male given name.
[bef. 1050; OE Thor < ON Thorr lit., THUNDER]

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Deity, common to all the early Germanic peoples, who appeared as a great, red-bearded warrior of tremendous strength.

The son of Odin (according to some legends) and Jord, the earth goddess, he was the implacable foe of the harmful race of giants but was benevolent toward humans. His name is the Germanic word for thunder. His great weapon was his hammer, Mjollnir. His greatest enemy was the world serpent Jörmungand, which he was destined to kill, and be killed by, in the Ragnarök. Thursday is named for Thor.

Thor with his hammer, Mjollnir, on his knees, bronze statuette from northern Iceland, c. AD 1000; ...

By courtesy of the National Museum of Iceland, Reykjavik

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▪ Germanic deity
      deity common to all the early Germanic peoples, a great warrior represented as a red-bearded, middle-aged man of enormous strength, an implacable foe to the harmful race of giants but benevolent toward mankind. His figure was generally secondary to that of the god Odin, who in some traditions was his father; but in Iceland, and perhaps among all northern peoples except the royal families, he was apparently worshiped more than any other god. There is evidence that a corresponding deity named Thunor, or Thonar, was worshiped in England and continental Europe, but little is known about him.

      Thor's name was the Germanic word for thunder, and it was the thunderbolt that was represented by his hammer, the attribute most commonly associated with him. The hammer, Mjollnir, had many marvelous qualities, including that of returning to the thrower like a boomerang; it is frequently carved on runic stones and funerary stelae.

      Among Thor's chief enemies was the world serpent Jörmungand (Jörmungandr), symbol of evil. According to tradition, Thor failed to smash the skull of Jörmungand, and the two are destined to kill each other in the Ragnarök (the end of the world of gods and men).

      Thor was sometimes equated with the Roman god Jupiter, dies Jovis (Jove's day) becoming Thor's day ( Thursday).

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Universalium. 2010.

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