An Icelandic-Scandinavian Multilingual On-line Dictionary

Editor in chief: Þórdís Úlfarsdóttir
Project manager: Halldóra Jónsdóttir

ISLEX is a multilingual on-line dictionary where the source language is modern Icelandic and the target languages are Danish, Norwegian (both Norwegian standards, bokmål and nynorsk), Swedish, Faroese and Finnish. The project is a collaboration of academic institutes in Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, The Faroe Islands and Finland. They are:

  • The Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies in Reykjavík, Iceland
  • The Society for Danish Language and Literature (DSL) in Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Institutt for lingvistiske, litterære og estetiske studier at Bergen University, Norway
  • The Institute of Swedish at Gothenburg University, Sweden
  • Fróðskaparsetur Føroya in Tórshavn, Faroe Islands
  • The University of Helsinki in Finland

The dictionaries between Icelandic and Danish, Norwegian and Swedish are already open on the web (, and the Faroese and Finnish dictionaries will be available at a later date.

The project is organised in the following way. The Icelandic editorial team is responsible for the source language and the design and development of the ISLEX database. The work on the target languages is supervised and funded by each of the participating institutes in the different countries.

The ISLEX-project began in 2005 and the first version of the dictionary was opened to the public in November 2011. Its use is free of charge.


Sýnishorn af flettu: víkingaskip The dictionary is processed in a specially designed database on the web. It contains 50,000 headwords in Icelandic and 3000 pictures. The pronunciation of every headword is provided as a recorded sound. The use of hyperlinks is built into the database, both for cross-references within the dictionary and for external material. For every inflected word there is a link to a database of Icelandic inflections where its full paradigm is displayed.

As Icelandic is the source language of the dictionary, the search functions are optimised for that languge. However, ISLEX users can to a certain degree look up Scandinavian words and text strings as well.

The ISLEX project is the first on-line dictionary which combines many Scandinavian languages. Its focus is on modern Icelandic with a special emphasis on a variety of phrases and fixed expressions, all of which are translated into the target languages.  There are also many examples of use, with full translations.

Sýnishorn af flettu: eplakaka The original objective of the project was to fill a need for a dictionary between Icelandic and the other Nordic languages. After its opening on the web in 2011, ISLEX has been extremely well received by its users who find it a valuable language support.

Among the target groups are Icelandic speakers with medium to advanced knowledge of Scandinavian, and Scandinavians with limited to advanced knowledge of Icelandic, e.g. teachers, students and translators. In fact, all those who need a modern dictionary between Icelandic and the other Nordic languages. The work is also well suited for research, e.g. those researchers who are interested in contrastive analysis of the Scandinavian languages. ISLEX is a unique tool for providing insight into the relationship between Icelandic and the other languages.

The project has mainly been funded by the governments of the participating countries, as well as important funds such as Nordplus Sprog and Nordisk Kulturfond.

ISLEX runs in a Postgres database and uses Linux Operating System. All its software is written in Perl. The dictionary is available at the following sites: