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Danish Word of the Day: tosser

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Danish Word of the Day: tosser
Photo: EikoTsuttiy/Depositphotos
15:00 CEST+02:00
It doesn’t mean what you think it means.

Why do I need to know tosser?

If you are on ‘Danish Twitter’, there’s a good chance you’ll have seen this derogatory remark being thrown about over the last day or so.

Parliamentary speaker and former leader of the Danish People’s Party Pia Kjærsgaard, apparently rather salty about her party’s hammering in the European Parliament elections, said a high turnout was due to people who protest and campaign for political action on climate change.

Kjærsgaard branded climate activists ‘klimatosser’ and has since seen the remark backfire after election results came through.

But the word itself is not actually as offensive as it might seem to English speakers (particularly British readers, who will be used to a smutty meaning in its UK English slang form).

So what does it mean?

Tosser is actually a plural – the singular is tosse. The adjective can variously be translated to fool, idiot, weirdo or simpleton, and is as insulting and/or offensive as any of these words, depending on context. In a compound with the Danish word for village (landsbytosse), it literally means village idiot.

When it is coupled with another word – in Kjærsgaard’s case, climate – it means someone who is behaving in a stupid or irrational manner over a particular subject.

It doesn’t have to be used discourteously. Calling someone a ‘fodboldtosse’, for example, simply means they are crazy about football.

How do I use it?

Our advice? Use it to spread the love. There are plenty of ways of employing tosse without seeking to degrade people you disagree with.

Hun er sådan en Tarantino-tosse, så hun var helt oppe at køre over hans nye film.
’She’s crazy about Tarantino, so she was very excited about his new film.”

You can also use it as a present-perfect tense verb. In this construction, it literally means ‘have gone crazy’, but is used to say, ‘am crazy about’ or ‘am in love with’.

Jeg er helt tosset med Beyoncés nye album.
’I just love Beyoncé’s new album.’

Jeg er tosset med dig.
’I’m crazy about you.’

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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