Ten top stuck-together Danish words

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Jarl Niclas Bojesen Jensen - [email protected]
Ten top stuck-together Danish words
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Say what you will about the difficulties of learning Danish, but it's got one thing going for it: it sure is succinct.


It is -- arguably -- a tricky language for foreigners to learn, but one of the great things about Danish is that you don’t technically need a particularly large vocabulary.

That’s because Danes aren’t very keen on inventing new words, or at least not in the traditional sense. Instead, we create conjoined words out of existing ones that literally – and we really do mean literally – describe the new term.

Here’s a very convenient example: The Danish word for conjoined is ‘sammensat’, which is built up of the two words ‘sat’ (put) and ‘sammen’ (together). Who needs to invent a fancy third word that you need to look up in the dictionary when you just can ‘togetherput’ two that already exist?

Here are our picks for ten awesomely literal Danish words:

1. Sporvognsskinneskidtskraber

Word for word: Tram wagon track dirt scraper

English equivalent: A person who cleans tramway rails.

Photo: vividpixels/Depositphotos

2. Køleskab

Word for word: Cooling cupboard

English equivalent: Refrigerator

Photo: hemul75/Depositphotos

3. Håndværker

Word for word: Hand worker

English equivalent: Carpenter, plumber, bricklayer… any kind of blue-collar profession where your work entails doing things around a house. With your hands, obviously.

Photo: pressmaster/Depositphotos

4. Dyrlæge

Word for word: Animal doctor

English equivalent: Veterinarian/Veterinary physician

Photo: ckellyphoto/Depositphotos

5. Flyvemaskine

Word for word: Flying machine

English equivalent: Aeroplane

Photo: Gesturleo/Depositphotos

6. Skrivebord

Word for word: Writing table

English equivalent: Desk

Photo: halfpoint/Depositphotos

7. Græsslåmaskine

Word for word: Grass hitting machine

English equivalent: Lawn mower

Photo: melis82/Depositphotos

8. Dyrekølle

Word for word: Animal club

English equivalent: Haunch of venison

Photo: vitalytitov/Depositphotos

9. Farfar/Morfar

Word for word: Father father/Mother father

English equivalent: Grandfather

And yes, you've guessed it, a Danish grandmother is either mormor (mother mother) or farmor (father mother). We love this one and think the whole world should use it

Photo: bst2012/Depositphotos

10. Brystholder

Word for word: Breast holder

English equivalent: Brassiere

Photo: simply/Depositphotos




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