Danish Word of the Day: valgflæsk

Danish Word of the Day: valgflæsk
Photo: EikoTsuttiy/Depositphotos
A meaty entry for the word of the day as general election season begins.

Why do I need to know valgflæsk?

With the general election scheduled for June 5th, there’s going to be plenty of valgflæsk – or at least, accusations of it – thrown around over the coming weeks.

So what does it mean?

Literally, it means ‘election meat’ (valg is election and flæsk meat, or roasted meat, in the context of the compound noun).

Although valgflæsk could be used to describe a tasty roast dinner consumed on election night, its most common usage is by politicians who are attempting to dismiss the policies of their opponents as empty campaign promises.

How do I use it?

Although it’s worth knowing how to use it yourself, it’s even more useful to know what a politician means when they say ‘valgflæsk’. Here is an example from today’s election coverage on Danish public service broadcaster DR.

For example:

Jeg kan kun sige, at ministerens udtalelser om skattelettelser ikke er andet end valgflæsk.
‘All I can say is that the minister’s assurances of tax breaks are nothing but empty promises for the election.'

Jeg anerkender, at oppositionen er villig til at lytte til os, når det gælder ældreområdet, men jeg synes, det lugter lidt af valgflæsk.
’I acknowledge that the opposition is willing to listen to us with regards our policies on senior citizens, but I think this is a clear sign of election bluffing.’


The closest English expression to valgflæsk is probably ‘hot air’, rendered in Danish as varm luft. Although ‘hot air’ can be used in a non-political context in both English and Danish, don’t be surprised if you hear it used to criticize political foes.

Hun siger, at hendes regering er vejen frem for miljøet – det er simpelthen en omgang varm luft.
’She says her government is the best option for the environment – that is quite simply a load of hot air.’

READ ALSO: More Danish words of the day

Do you have any favourite or unusual Danish words you'd like to nominate as Word of the Day, or want us to explain? Let us know via email.

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