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See Man (word) for the Germanic etymology. See Mannus for the mythological ancestor recorded by Tacitus.
"man, human"
Shape Elder Futhark Futhorc Younger Futhark
Runic letter mannaz.svg Long-branch m rune.svg Short-twig m rune.svg
Transliteration m
Transcription m
IPA [m]
Position in rune-row 20 14
Two early forms of the m-rune of the Younger Futhark.

*Mannaz is the conventional name of the m-rune of the Elder Futhark. It is derived from the reconstructed Common Germanic word for "man", *mannaz.

Younger Futhark ᛘ is maðr ("man"). It took up the shape of the algiz rune ᛉ, replacing Elder Futhark .

As its sound value and form in the Elder Futhark indicate, it is derived from the letter M (𐌌) in the Old Italic alphabets, ultimately from the Greek letter Mu (μ).

Rune poems

The rune is recorded in all three Rune Poems, in the Norwegian and Icelandic poems as maðr, and in the Anglo-Saxon poem as man.

Rune Poem:[1] English Translation:


Maðr er moldar auki;
mikil er græip á hauki.
Man is an augmentation of the dust;
great is the claw of the hawk.


Maðr er manns gaman
ok moldar auki
ok skipa skreytir.
homo mildingr.[clarification needed]
Man is delight of man
and augmentation of the earth
and adorner of ships.


Man byþ on myrgþe his magan leof:
sceal þeah anra gehwylc oðrum swican,
forðum drihten wyle dome sine
þæt earme flæsc eorþan betæcan.
The joyous man is dear to his kinsmen;
yet every man is doomed to fail his fellow,
since the Lord by his decree
will commit the vile carrion to the earth.

Modern usage

For the "man" rune of the Armanen Futharkh as "life rune" in Germanic mysticism, see Lebensrune.


  1. Original poems and translation from the Rune Poem Page ("Ragnar's Ragweed Forge").

See also