Most sources will tell you that the old Norse
name Sverre comes from the verb sverra
, turning, possibly related to the words swivel
. The name should therefore mean someone running around, changing directions; someone uncontrollable, violent
I tend to like another theory better. In his book "Fun with words", Sverre Kloumann argues that this meaning is not in line with other Norse names. A lot of superstition is attached to the Norse names, and they tend to describe very powerful and positive traits. The Norse had names like Steinar (originally meaning "stone warrior"), Arne (originally ørn, "eagle"), Rolf ("glory" or "fame") and others concerning power, riches and prowess in battle. In this light, Sverre Kloumann suggests another meaning of "turn".
The verb "å dreie" (to turn) was strangly used as "to throw" (and "throw" and "dreie" are related, appearently). So Sverre could mean "the turner", i.e. "the thrower". Maybe king Sverre was a good spear thrower?
Source of facts: "Moro med ord", Sverre Kloumann, ISBN 82-03-22530-6, p 298.