Kennings are substitutions of a noun with a two word descriptive epithet. 

Faulkes wrote: “…where instead of referring to a person or thing by its normal name, a poet replaces (or conceals) that name with another, which may be a poetical term like ‘steed’ for ‘horse’, or a kenning, which has at least two elements, such as when gold is called ‘sea-fire’ or a king ‘gold-giver’.

Properly, the word kenning applies to the figurative language used in Old Norse poetry.  However, similar techniques are found in Old Irish and Old English poetry and, lacking a native word, ‘kenning’ is modernly accepted as a term for the technique regardless of origin. 

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