The fifth Rune of the First Ætt of the Elder Futhark
(for more information on the First Ætt per se, go to

This is an installment in a series covering each and every Rune of the Elder Futhark. In this series, instead of giving the esoteric meaning of the Rune by citing the Rune poems written in Old Icelandic, Old Norwegian and Anglo-Saxon (a.k.a. Old English), or any modern commentary, the etymology of the Rune name is presented.

R    R    
R       R
R          R 
R       R
R     R
R  R
R R 
R    R
R       R
R          R


Pronunciation: “rrreye-dhoh” with the “rrr” trilled as in Scottish, and “eye” representing the sound of the word “eye,” and the “dh” representing the th-sound found in “the” (but not “thin”); stress being on first syllable “rrreye.”

The r-trill is made with the tip of the tongue rapidly vibrating off the ridge just behind the upper row of teeth (the alveolar ridge), as the vocal cords vibrate. This sort of trill is not to be confused with the uvular trill present in, say, French, where it is the root of the tongue in such vibration against that area of the mouth that closes when you pronounce the k-sound.

NOTE: in Old Norse this particular th-sound as in “the” (but not “thin”) was written “ð.”

Originally, the stress fell on the second syllable, and the oldest form would have had /θ/ (see THURISAZ) instead of /ð/.

Older form: “rrreye-dho” as above, but with stress on  second syllable “dho.”

Oldest form: “rrreye-θo” with stress on second syllable “θo.”

Writing: the RAIDHO stave stands for the phoneme /r/ - trilled “rrr” as in Scottish. You may feel free to use the RAIDHO stave to write a word with an r-sound in it, even if it is not exactly that particular trilled sort of “r.” Let the runes be a LIVING system!

Etymology: RAIDHO is from Proto-Germanic and is based on a sort of consonantal root skeleton consisting of two consonants, /r/ and /ð/ (or /θ/), with a vowel of various sorts in between. The root-meaning had to do with traveling, and the exact sense was expressed by the particular vowel chosen. Here are examples: English ride, rider, road; German Rad (wheel), reiten (to ride), Ritt(er) (knight), (Fahr)rad (bicycle); Anglo-Saxon (Old English) rād (journey on horseback), rath (wagon). Many of the cultic figures of Teutonic and Scandinavian mythology were driven around in wagons or wains (see

Such biconsonantal roots with changing of vowels (ablaut) was characteristic of both Proto-Germanic and Proto-Indo-European, and these roots were the rudimentary building block of the Indo-European proto-language’s “word hoard” (to use a colorful term from Beowulf). Proto-Germanic root r-θ goes back to Proto-Indo-European root r-t,  from where we get Latin rota (wheel), which is the root of many words in English, e.g, rotate.

        Kluge’s Etymologisches Wörterbuch (23rd Edition)
        New Oxford American Dictionary
        Gods and Myths of Northern Europe by H. R. Ellis Davidson
        Urgermanische Grammatik by Wilhelm Streitberg

...Now, NOTICE the entire semantic domain covered by RAIDHO through time. Let this be the MYSTICAL MEANING of RAIDHO. Study it and ABSORB it.

AUTHOR: Francis Tokarski