In my work on English place name, particularly in the north of the country, I often find names referring to Norse gods and thought it might prove interesting, especially with the new Thor film due out later this year, to see how and why they were named.
Should start with the home of the heavenly hall in which Odin receives the souls of those slain in battle. The name is from Old Norse valr 'those slain in battle' and ultimately from Proto-Indo-European wele 'to strike, wound'. This root has also given us Latin veles 'ghosts of the dead', Old Irish fuil 'blood', and Welsh gwel 'wound'.
Aegir - the Norse sea god has a name meaning 'sea' and related to Old English ieg 'island', Gothic ahua 'river, waters', Proto-Germanic akhwo 'river', Latin aqua 'water', and Proto-Indo-European akwa 'water'.
Balder - his name is related to Old English bealdor, baldor 'lord, prince, king'. This honorific likely comes from a Proto-Germanic term related to balpaz, Old English bald, and Old High German pald, all meaning 'bold, brave'.
Bragi - got his name from Old Norse bragr 'poetry'.
Buri - the first god of Norse mythology, has a name where the origin is unknown but (as always) has several suggestions. Some hold this to be from Old Norse burr meaning 'son' which, as he is the first Norse god, hardly fits. However his status as the founder of the gods does add weight to the idea this came from buri 'producer'. He came into being when the cow Authumbla released him from a salty block of ice by licking it - which is probably my favourite creation myth.
Eir - a goddess associated with medical knowledge has a name from Old Norse meaning 'help, mercy'.
Frey - a name derived from Proto-Norse frawjaz 'lord' given to a god associated with kingship, virility, prosperity, sunshine, and fair weather.
Freyja - a goddess associated with love, sex, beauty, fertility, gold, war and death has a name from Old Norse freyja meaning 'the lady'.
Frigg - a goddess who gave her name to Friday seems to come from the same root as Freyja (above) and thus simply means 'the lady'.
Hel - a female figure associated with the place of the same name, both likely coming from Proto-Germanic xaljo or haljo meaning 'concealed place' or 'the underworld'. Hel had a horse named Sleipnir meaning 'the slipper'.
Hermothr - is Old Norse for 'war spirit', he often spoken of as the messenger of the gods.
Hlin - a goddess whose name means 'protectress' and thought to simply be an alternative name for Frigg.
Loki - this god's name has never really been understood but may be related to Old Norse luka meaning 'close, shut', which would fit with Loki's role in the Battle of Ragnarok.
Nanna - Balder's wife and another whose name has uncertain origins. This may be nanth 'the daring one' or, and this seems less likely, typical baby-babbly meaning 'mother'.
Od - sometimes given as Odr, is Old Norse for 'mind, soul' and related to Proto-Germanic words meaning 'madness, furious, vehement, eager'.
Odin - has exactly the same origins as Od or Odr (see above).
Ran - a Norse goddess associated with the sea whose name means 'runner'.
Sif - a goddess associated with the earth, her name is a plural form of Msifjar and understood as 'in-law-relative'.
Sigyn - is the goddess wife of Loki whose name means 'victorious girlfriend'.
Thor - the hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, protection of mankind, and fertility has a name associated with the Germanic thunraz 'thunder'.
Tyr - a god whose name means literally 'god'.
Vidar - a Norse god whose name means 'wide ruler'.
Wotan - has exactly the same origin as Odin (see above).