- From Norse mythology has come the word berserk, meaning "deranged" or "raging" or "crazed." Berserk, a legendary Norse hero of the eighth century, .always went into battle without armor and was famed for the savagery and reckless fury with which he fought. In old Scandinavian, ber-serk probably meant "bear-shirt," that is, one clothed only in his shirt and not protected by armor or heavy clothing. Berserk's twelve sons, who like their father fought ferociously and recklessly, were called Berserkers. Later berserker was applied to a class of heathen warriors who were supposed to be able to assume the form of bears and wolves. Dressed in furs, these lycanthropic creatures were believed to fall into a frenzied rage, foam at the mouth, bite their shields, and growl like wild beasts. They were dreaded for their prodigious strength and apparent invulnerability to fire and iron. To go berserk is to go into a frenzy of rage or to be frenetically violent.Alphonse Bertillon (1853-1914) was born in Paris. Although he had no scientific training, he became the chief of the Department of Identification in the prefecture of police of the Seine, at Paris. In that capacity he designed an identification method known as anthropometry (but better known as Bertillonage) that was used with extraordinary results throughout France. His system, which he described in his book Anthropologie metrique et photographique, incorporated the classification of skeletal and other measurements and a complete physical description — color
Dictionary of eponyms. Morton S. Freeman. 2013.