This is an overview page of the declension patterns for nouns. It lists all the words and names a B2 level student needs to be able to decline.
Memorizing the declension of nouns is one of the hardest and most tedious things about learning Icelandic. There are about 22 basic patterns for the endings a word can take (and a handful of other irregular declensions), and you cannot know for sure what category a word falls into without already having studied its declension. In addition to those words ending patterns, each category can include a sound change, and occasionally an additional letter pops up or disappears.
The following table lists all the common patterns. You should not memorize this table, instead you should use it as a reference to get an overview for the patterns. The most important patterns are shown in uppercase.
SingularPlural
1st2nd3rd4th1st2nd3rd4th
FISKURurisarauma
fuglisarauma
bjórsarauma
skógururiararauma
matururararauma
lækniririiisarauma
vinururiaririuma
staðururaririuma
hvalurursiriuma
bróðirirurururururrumra
PABBIiaaaarauma
frændiiaaaururuma
bygginguuarararuma
flugvélarararuma
búðaririruma
keppniiriruma
bókarururuma
höndiarururuma
MAMMAauuuururuma
steikurururuma
PÍANÓisuma
eyraaaaauuuma
strætiiiumaiiuma
To memorize this list, start by studying only words that follow the most common patterns (fiskur, pabbi, mamma, and píanó). Don’t memorize the endings, instead memorize the words themselves by reciting the four cases, including the helper words. Start by learning the singular, leave the plural for later. Recite a few words a day like they were your evening prayers until it begins to stick. Always recite the tables including the helper words, so that your phrase is: “hér er fiskur, um fisk, frá fiski, til fisks”. Focus on learning only a handful of words really well. If you know a few words really well, your brain will begin to pick up on patterns as you read more text in Icelandic by yourself.

Masculine

The “fiskur” pattern

This is the most common pattern for strong masculine nouns.
Declension singular and plural
SingularPlural
First casehér er fiskurhér eru fiskar
Second caseum fiskum fiska
Third casefrá fiskifrá fiskum
Fourth casetil fiskstil fiska
Regular words:
  • fiskur, hundur, hestur, dagur, tómatur, bátur, eldur, heimur, vindur, punktur, munnur, ormur, stormur, ostur, póstur, prestur, pottur, blýantur, gangur, garður, hattur, sandur, vaskur, partur, kokkur, diskur, peningar, helmingur, reikningur, víkingur, unglingur, samningur, þriðjungur, geitungur, dómur, draumur, lögfræðingur, sálfræðingur, verkfræðingur, sjúkdómur, aldur, plástur, hnífur, þjófur, laukur, strákur, hreimur, hópur, skápur, hvítlaukur, ísskápur, bakgrunnur, tölvupóstur, misskilningur
Names:
  • Ólafur, Haukur, Haraldur, Eiríkur, Ingólfur, Hlynur, Vilhjálmur, Gunnlaugur

The “fugl” pattern

This is exactly the same pattern as “fiskur” except for the lack of the “ur” in the first case.
SingularPlural
First casehér er hákarlhér eru hákarlar
Second caseum hákarlum hákarla
Third casefrá hákarlifrá hákörlum
Fourth casetil hákarlstil hákarla
Regular words:
  • háls, koss, rass, fugl, botn, ofn, örbylgjuofn
Words where the consonant is duplicated only in the first case:
  • morgunn, steinn, gaffall, trefill, djöfull, lykill, þjónn, himinn, Sveinn, Þorsteinn, Páll, Egill
Words that show an omission of a letter in the third case:
  • hamar, sykur, gróður, gaffall, trefill, lykill, himinn, Egill
Words with umlaut:
  • karl, hákarl, snjókarl (a-ö)
  • Egill (e→a)
Names:
  • Jón, Gunnar, Einar, Kristján, Stefán, Jóhann, Björn,[1] Halldór, Pétur, Arnar, Kristinn, Ragnar, Guðjón, Óskar, Karl, Ásgeir, Ágúst, Kjartan, Sigurjón, Friðrik, Aron, Hilmar, Baldur, Rúnar, Brynjar, Ómar, Ingvar, Sævar, Garðar, Viktor, Þórarinn, Hafsteinn, Ívar, Grétar, Aðalsteinn

The “matur” pattern (rare)

This is a rare pattern.
SingularPlural
First casehér er maturhér eru matar
Second caseum matum mata
Third casefrá matfrá mötum
Fourth casetil matartil mata
Words:
  • matur, hafragrautur

The “skógur” pattern

SingularPlural
First casehér er skógurhér eru skógar
Second caseum skógum skóga
Third casefrá skógifrá skógum
Fourth casetil skógartil skóga
Words:
  • skógur, rithöfundur
Names:
  • Magnús, Jóhannes, Tómas, Jónas

The “bjór” pattern

SingularPlural
First casehér er bjórhér eru bjórar
Second caseum bjórum bjóra
Third casefrá bjórfrá bjórum
Fourth casetil bjórstil bjóra
Predictable words:
  • arkitekt, ananas, vírus, ís, lás, bjór, kór, vír, gítar, mínus, pappír, bílskúr, plús, haus, lakkrís, strætó
Words where the consonant is duplicated in the first case:
  • bíll, stóll, hæll, kjóll
Names:
  • Daníel, Davíð, Róbert, Benedikt, Alexander, Björgvin, Kristófer, Jakob, Axel

The “staður” pattern

SingularPlural
First casehér er staðurhér eru staðir
Second caseum staðum staði
Third casefrá staðfrá stöðum
Fourth casetil staðartil staða
Words:
  • litur, úlnliður, munur
Umlaut:
  • staður, sumarbústaður (a→ö)
Additional letter:
  • drykkur, lækur, verkur, veggur, bekkur, verkur, fótleggur, handleggur (j)
In the singular, this is the same pattern as “matur”.

The “hvalur” pattern

SingularPlural
First casehér er tölvuleikurhér eru tölvuleikir
Second caseum tölvuleikum tölvuleiki
Third casefrá tölvuleikfrá tölvuleikjum
Fourth casetil tölvuleikstil tölvuleikja
Words:
  • bolur, glæpur, selur, sveppur, smiður
Umlaut:
  • dalur, hvalur (a→ö)
Additional letter:
  • tölvuleikur, vængur, hringur, styrkur (j)
Same except no “ur” in first case:
  • bar (a→ö)

The “vinur” pattern

SingularPlural
First casehér er vinurhér eru vinir
Second caseum vinum vini
Third casefrá vinifrá vinum
Fourth casetil vinartil vina
Words:
  • vinur, fundur, hönnuður, þáttur, vegur, viðburður, gestur
Words with umlaut:
  • sonur (o→y)
  • köttur, flugvöllur, ávöxtur (ö→e)
  • fjörður (jö→i)
  • markaður (a→ö, a→u)
  • afsláttur (á→æ)
  • mánuður (u→a, “til mánaðar”)
Names:
  • Sigurður, Guðmundur, Þórður
Names with umlaut:
  • Hörður (ö→e)
The following words and names follow the same pattern as “vinur”, except they don’t have an “-ur” in the first case:
  • björn (jö→i; jö→ja), Björn (jö→i; jö→ja), örn (ö→e; ö→a), Örn (ö→e; ö→a)

The “pabbi” pattern

This is the most common pattern for weak masculine words.
SingularPlural
First casehér er pabbihér eru pabbar
Second caseum pabbaum pabba
Third casefrá pabbafrá pöbbum
Fourth casetil pabbatil pabba
Words:
  • metri, sími, tími, listi, klukkutími, Spánverji, Kínverji, auli, biti, bolli, bolti, fáni, gluggi, heili, hiti, hluti, jeppi, kjáni, koddi, kuldi, leki, listi, lúði, miði, mosi, penni, poki, púði, skóli, skuggi, sófi, stigi, texti, tími, ungi, vöðvi, vökvi, ökklar, afi, ansans, api, asni, banki, hávaði, jakki, kafli, kassi, klaki, lampi, líkami, magi, nagli, pabbi, pakki, spítali, takki, aumingi, vasi, túristi, olnbogi, fótbolti, handbolti, körfubolti, snjóbolti, tannbursti, bakpoki, forseti, bílstjóri, hálftími, klukkutími, hálfviti, möguleiki, vandi, fjöldi, rjómi, svimi, áhugi, nútími, raunveruleiki
Words with umlaut:
  • pabbi, afi, magi, spítali, félagi, banani, kastali, sandali (a→ö in plural third case)
  • þjálfari, kærasti, hamborgari, kennari, dómari, leikari, málari, múrari, pípari, prentari, ritari, svindlari, söngvari, þjálfari, hamborgari, geimfari, sjúkraþjálfari, ljósmyndari (a→u in plural third case)
  • brandari, bakari, hátalari, kjallari, brjóstahaldari (a→ö in plural third case, also a→u in plural third case)
Names:
  • Árni, Bjarni, Helgi, Gísli, Andri, Bjarki, Atli, Guðni, Sindri, Snorri, Kári, Tryggvi, Ingi, Ari, Hjalti

The “frændi” pattern (rare)

This pattern is the same as “pabbi” in the singular, but has a different plural. It only appears in a handful of words that all end in “-ndi”.
SingularPlural
First casehér er frændihér eru frændur
Second caseum frændaum frændur
Third casefrá frændafrá frændum
Fourth casetil frændatil frænda
Words:
  • frændi
Words with umlaut:
  • bóndi (ó→æ in plural)
  • eigandi (a→e in plural)
  • nemandi (a→e in plural)

Feminine

The “bygging” pattern

This patterns appears in words that end in “-ing” and most female names that are strongly declined. Nouns that end in “-ing” are all derived from verbs, like how the English “a building” is derived from “to build”.
SingularPlural
First casehér er bygginghér eru byggingar
Second caseum bygginguum byggingar
Third casefrá byggingufrá byggingum
Fourth casetil byggingartil bygginga
Words:
  • bygging, spurning, setning, fæðing, hreyfing, klipping, kosning, menning, minning, rigning, sýking, sýning, tenging, trygging, staðfesting, bólusetning, tilfinning, pæling, uppfinning, auglýsing, fjarstýring, leiðbeiningar, upplýsingar
Names:
  • Guðrún, Kristín, Sigrún, Ingibjörg, Elín, Katrín, Guðbjörg, Guðný, Ólöf, Sólveig, Elísabet, Kolbrún, Guðlaug, Sigurbjörg, Björg, Áslaug, Laufey, Sigurlaug, Rannveig, Þorbjörg, Dagný, Sóley

The “flugvél” pattern

SingularPlural
First casehér er vélhér eru vélar
Second caseum vélum vélar
Third casefrá vélfrá vélum
Fourth casetil vélartil véla
Words:
  • flugvél, vél, nál, skeið, skál, grein, sundlaug, teskeið, eldavél, hrærivél, myndavél, uppþvottavél, helgi, París, hlið (in the meaning of “a side”)
Irregularities:
  • stöð – The fourth case singular is “til stöðvar”, there is a “v” added
Names:
  • Rakel, Karen

The “búð” pattern

SingularPlural
First casehér er búðhér eru búðir
Second caseum búðum búðir
Third casefrá búðfrá búðum
Fourth casetil búðartil búða
Regular words:
  • mynd, sól, tónlist, sál, átt, bið, gæs, leið, list, mynd, rás, þjóð, ást, baun, blokk, borg, búð, frétt, hjálp, hurð, húð, lest, lykt, skák, skuldir, sorg, stjórn, sveit, von, heyrn, lausn, ferð, breidd, hæð, lengd, stærð, þyngd, einkunn, vakt, dýpt, hindrun, hugsun, höfuðborg, íbúð, ísbúð, ábyrgð, bíómynd, hugmynd, ljósmynd, tilraun, hljómsveit, framtíð, heimsókn, rannsókn, aðgerð, ritgerð, afsökun, hátíð, ull, bómull, hönnun, þróun, tónlist
Umlauts:
  • jörð, gjöf, röð, sög, þörf, jarðarför, afmælisgjöf, jólagjöf, biðröð, rödd (ö→a)
  • byrjun (ju→ja)
Irregular plural:
  • mús → mýs
  • brú → brýr
  • tá → tær
Names:
  • Berglind

The “bók” pattern

SingularPlural
First casehér er bókhér eru bækur
Second caseum bókum bækur
Third casefrá bókfrá bókum
Fourth casetil bókartil bóka
Regular:
  • kind, geit, beinagrind
Umlaut:
  • bók, rót, gulrót, viðbót (ó→æ)
  • önd, strönd, tönn (ö→e)

The “mamma” pattern

This is the most common pattern for weakly declined feminine words.
SingularPlural
First casehér er mammahér eru mömmur
Second caseum mömmuum mömmur
Third casefrá mömmufrá mömmum
Fourth casetil mömmutil mamma
Regular:
  • pítsa, íslenska, sápa, tölva, appelsína, eyja, króna, kveðja, manneskja, miðja, náttúra, olía, sítróna, snúra, stofa, tíska, frænka, húfa, sturta, skrifstofa, ruslatunna, peysa, vinna, enska, fita, heilsa, reynsla, spænska
Umlaut:
  • kaka, mamma, amma, fjara, panna, stjarna, taska, vara, karfa, kartafla, flaska, plata, saga, myndataka, tillaga, fjallganga (a→ö)
  • kærasta (a→u)
Additional letter (“-na”) in fourth case plural:
  • fjölskylda, pylsa, sekúnda, mínúta, klukka, síða, stelpa, tunga, úlpa, tala, gúrka, hilla, regla, skyrta, súpa, þoka, fluga, veisla, vika, lögregla, blaðsíða, ryksuga, ástæða, kirkja, sulta, heilsugæsla
Extreme irregulary:
  • kona, vinkona – in the fourth case plural it becomes “til kvenna”
Names:
  • Helga, María, Ásta, Erla, Lilja, Eva, Hulda, Inga, Þóra, Jóna, Halldóra, Birna, Linda, Erna, Jónína, Edda, Lára, Harpa, Hrefna, Rósa, Brynja, Stefanía, Tinna, Andrea, Helena, Ágústa, Elsa, Ása, Soffía
Names with umlaut:
  • Anna, Jóhanna, Sara, Hanna, Kristjana, Sandra, Arna, Halla, Svava,

The “keppni” pattern

This is a rare pattern where the words don’t change their form in the singular. Luckily, you almost never see these words in the plural so you don’t need to study it.
SingularPlural
First casehér er keppnihér eru keppnir
Second caseum keppnium keppnir
Third casefrá keppnifrá keppnum
Fourth casetil keppnitil keppnia
Words:
  • beiðni, keppni, samkeppni, leti,[2] athygli, eðlisfræði, efnafræði, jarðfræði, líffræði, lögfræði, stærðfræði, félagsfræði, málfræði

The “steik” pattern

This is a rare pattern.
SingularPlural
First casehér er steikhér eru steikur
Second caseum steikum steikur
Third casefrá steikfrá steikum
Fourth casetil steikurtil steika
Regular: steik, sæng, mjólk
Umlaut:
  • nótt (ó→æ, ó→á)
Irregularities:
  • nótt has “tt” only in the some cases

Neuter

The “píanó” pattern

Almost all neuter words follow this pattern. These words don’t have a suffix in the first case plural, instead the plural is either the same as the singular (meaning people have to figure out from context whether you’re talking about one or many items), or they can indicate the plural with a sound change.
SingularPlural
First casehér er píanóhér eru píanó
Second caseum píanóum píanó
Third casefrá píanóifrá píanóum
Fourth casetil píanóstil píanóa
Regular words that are the same in the first case singular and plural:
  • ár, dæmi, hús, kjöt, bakarí, frí, hlé, partí, píanó, apótek, beikon, bein, bensín, bil, blóð, blóm, boð, borð, brauð, bréf, brjóst, bull, dót, dýr, flug, fólk, frost, gat, gler, gos, gólf, gras, grill, grín, gull, haf, haust, hár, hjól, hljóð, hraun, hunang, járn, klósett, korter, kort, krem, kvöld, lauf, lán, lið, líf, ljóð, ljós, loft, lok, lyf, mál, morð, nám, nef, net, orð, pils, pláss, próf, ráð, rán, rok, rugl, ryk, skáld, skip, skott, skyn, ský, slys, smjör, spil, stál, stig, stígvél, stríð, sund, svið, svín, tóbak, tungl, úr, verð, vín, vopn, vor, augnablik, matarboð, tilboð, gæludýr, netfang, snjóflóð, hrísgrjón, áhrif,[a] straujárn, blómkál, morgunkorn, ferðalag, andlit, tungumál, símanúmer, hitastig, dagatal, samtal, viðtal, álver, hlutverk, félag, rúm, bókasafn, vínber, takmark, tímabil, samfélag, lykilorð, forrit, tímarit, krabbamein, eftirlit, rafmagn, sjónvarp, brúðkaup, námskeið, málverk, vandamál, skordýr, eldhús, leikhús, útlit, listaverk, hótel, te, bíó, hlið (in the meaning of “a gate”)
Umlaut in the plural:
  • gras, lamb, barn, fjall, glas, nafn, skjal, bað, bak, ball, blað, bragð, fjall, lag, lamb, land, kærustupar, plan, plast, salt, spjall, starf, svar, val, vatn, myndband, samband, þak, dagblað (a→ö)
  • sumar (a→u)
Omission of a letter in the third case singular:
  • veður, höfuð, suður, austur, norður, sumar
Adds “j” in third case plural:
  • egg (“frá eggjum”)

The “eyra” pattern

This is a rare pattern that usually only appears in the words for a handful of body parts.
SingularPlural
First casehér er eyrahér eru eyru
Second caseum eyraum eyru
Third casefrá eyrafrá eyrum
Fourth casetil eyratil eyrna
Words:
  • pasta
Additional letters:
  • auga, lunga, hjarta, eyra (adds an “n”: til eyrna)
Umlaut:
  • hjarta (a→ö)

The “stræti” pattern

SingularPlural
First casehér er strætihér eru stræti
Second caseum strætium stræti
Third casefrá strætifrá strætum
Fourth casetil strætistil stræta
Regular words:
  • afmæli, atriði, belti, bindi, efni, einkenni, epli, fangelsi, frelsi, gengi, heimili, , kerfi, leyfi, leyti, læri, merki, ríki, salerni, skilti, skíði, stræti, stykki, stæði, súkkulaði, svæði, systkini, teppi, typpi, tæki, öryggi, snjóbretti, hádegi, verkefni, hljóðfæri, tækifæri, baðherbergi, viðskipti, samhengi, áfengi, ofbeldi, ofnæmi, helvíti, kaffi, nammi
Insertion of a “j” in the third case plural:
  • herbergi

Irregular

These family terms follow the same highly irregular pattern:
  • bróðir, systir, faðir, móðir, dóttir
These words also do not cleanly fit into any pattern and must be studied seperately:
  • vetur
  • maður
  • hönd
  • fótur
  • fingur
  • snjór
  • kýr
  • ær
  • læknir
  • rekstur – the “ur” is not a suffix, it’s always a part of it
  • Auður
  • skjár – almost the same as “tölvuleikur” but “áur” becomes an “ár” instead
  • á – almost the same as “bók” but “áur” becomes an “ár” instead
  • tré, hné – almost the same as “píanó” but “éi” and “éu” become “é” instead
  • skór – almost the same as “bíll” but “óu” becomes an “ó” instead
  • sjór
  • bær – follows the “staður” pattern except “æur” becomes “ær”, and there is a “J” that pops up between certain letters: “bæjar”/“bæjum”.
SingularPlural
First casehér er bærhér eru bæir
Second caseum bæum bæi
Third casefrá bæfrá bæjum
Fourth casetil bæjartil bæja