For members


Danish Word of the Day: Udbetaling

It’s the Danish word of the (pay)day.

What is udbetaling?

Udbetaling is a combination of the preposition “out” (ud) and the noun for “payment” (betaling), signifying a payment that goes in a specific direction. Usually towards you.

An udbetaling is therefore a payment that the subject of a sentence receives (and the opposite of an indbetaling) – most commonly heard in references to wages, tax rebates or other types of money transfer.

You can use udbetaling when talking about sending and receiving money.

It can also be used to explain practical issues such as when paydays are, whether you will be paid in arrears on starting a new job, and when deposits are returned: Der går maksimalt 30 dage fra udflytningsdato til evt. udbetaling af depositum
(“Any deposit due return will be paid out no more than 30 days from the date you move out”).

Why do I need to know udbetaling?

It’s an important term in banking and tax, and in any situation where you might be in a position to receive money: including at the end of the month, when payday is imminent.

A slightly less technical or more informal version of udbetaling or its verb at udbetale is overførsel or at overføre, literally “transfer” or “to transfer”.

Overføre and overførsel are more likely to refer to smaller or less critical sums of money, possible being sent between friends and family: Vil du lægge ud, når vi kommer til kassen? Jeg skal nok overføre halvdelen (“Will you pay when we get to the checkout? I’ll transfer half the money to you”).


Vil du med ud at spise i morgen? Jeg får udbetalt løn.
Do you want to go out for dinner tomorrow? My wages are going to be paid in.

Hold da op! Jeg fik udbetalt 7.000kr fra Skat efter årsopgørelsen.
Wow! I got a 7,000 kroner tax rebate at the end of the financial year.

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For members


Danish expression of the day: At slå på tråden

Give us a ring and we'll tell you about the word of the day.

Danish expression of the day: At slå på tråden

What is at slå på tråden?

The literal meaning of this phrase is “to hit on the thread”. Of course, it has nothing to do with making flirtatious advances towards a piece of string, or striking some yarn, but figuratively means to make a telephone call.

Given the informal, familiar tone of the expression, it can be thought of as a Danish equivalent to “give you a call”, “ring me”, “give me a bell” or any other way you can think of saying “make a telephone call”.

Why do I need to know at slå på tråden?

It’s a phrase that is still used in everyday conversation, although perhaps more so by older generations. But what makes at slå på tråden (in my opinion) a charming expression is the fact that it is technologically obsolete.

This is because it comes from the use of cables (another meaning of the word tråd, although kabel is also used for “cable”) in old-fashioned telephone connections, or even from pre-telephone times.

The expression is said to have its roots in times when a telegraph operator would send a message by tapping morse code signals, which were transmitted as electrical impulses through cables. So you would have literally had to “hit a cable” if you wanted to send a message.

The modern equivalent of morse code — an SMS — is now wireless, just like phone calls. But the phrase at slå på tråden endures despite the fact it will make little sense to those who have only seen a cable attached to a phone when it is charging.


Vi kan lige mødes til en øl på fredag. Jeg slår på tråden, når jeg får fri.

We can meet for a quick beer on Friday. I’ll give you a ring when I get off work.

Slå lige på tråden, når du er kommet godt hjem.

Give me a quick call when you’ve arrived home safely.