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DANISH WORD OF THE DAY

Danish Word of the Day: Valgflæsk

Today's word of the day will help you digest political talk at election and referendum time.

What is valgflæsk?

Literally, it means ‘election meat’: valg is “election” and flæsk “meat” or “roasted meat”.

Although valgflæsk could possibly be used to describe a tasty roast dinner consumed on election night, its actual usage is mainly by politicians who are attempting to dismiss the policies of their opponents as empty campaign promises. Here is an example from Danish public service broadcaster DR’s coverage of the general election back in 2019.

In short, valgflæsk is a claim or promise made by a politician in relation to an election which is criticised for its perceived lack of realism or sincerity.

Why do I need to know valgflæsk?

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

The word arguably appears most often when parties are discussing rival policies and and manifestos, for example during general and local election campaigns.

However, the referendum on Denmark’s EU defence opt-out, which will take place later this week, could also give rise to a mention or two.

The closest English expression to valgflæsk is probably “hot air”, rendered in Danish as varm luft. But “hot air” can be used in a non-political context in both English and Danish, whereas valgflæsk is purely political. Nevertheless, don’t be surprised if you also hear varm luft used to criticise 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”).

Examples

Ministerens udtalelser om skattelettelser ikke er andet end valgflæsk.

The minister’s assurances of tax breaks are nothing but empty promises for the election.

Oppositionen påstår at den er villig til at lytte til os, når det gælder ældreområdet, men jeg synes, det lugter lidt af valgflæsk.

The opposition claims it is willing to listen to our policies on senior citizens, but I think this is a clear sign of election bluffing.

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DANISH WORD OF THE DAY

Danish word of the day: Nar

Have a look at the word of the day. You'd be a fool not to.

Danish word of the day: Nar

What is nar?

The original meaning of the word nar is similar to the English ‘jester’: a person who entertains the public or an audience by making a fool of themselves or of others.

Its use evolved at some point in the past — not recently, as it’s been around for a while — and it is now an insult. So if you call someone a nar you are slighting them and they are likely to be offended, as it’s not a word that is usually used lightheartedly, unlike some old-fashioned insults can be.

To call someone a nar, by the way, the correct phrase is din nar. This literally means “your nar“, because din is a possessive adjective or pronoun (like ‘your’ or ‘yours’). However, din nar actually means “you are a nar“. The same grammar applies with all insults: din idiot, dit fjols, din taber (you idiot, you fool, you loser) or din klovn (you clown). The latter is a slightly milder synonym of din nar.

Why do I need to know nar?

It’s a punchy putdown, but as mentioned above — be careful how you use it. It’s not really a word you can use in jest. As such, you’ll probably hear it used more often to talk about someone in the third person than aimed directly at someone.

Nar is also used in a variety of phrases to mean variations of being made a fool out of or being tricked.

For example, at gøre nar af (“to make a nar of”) someone is to make them the object of ridicule or to make fun of them. If you holder nogen for nar (“treat someone as a nar“) you could either be scamming or tricking them or, similarly to before, making them look stupid.

Examples

Han går hele tiden rundt og lyver over for folk. Han er simpelthen en nar!

He just goes around lying to everyone. He’s nothing but an asshole!

Hvorfor har du spist min sandwich? Der stod mit navn på papiret. Din nar!

Why did you eat my sandwich? My name was written on the package. You idiot!

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