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DANISH WORD OF THE DAY

Danish Word of the Day: Træstamme

This Danish word is full of timber and the name of one of the country’s most recognisable sugary treats.

What is træstamme?

Literally, a “tree” (træ) “trunk” or “log” (stamme), and it is entirely correct to use the word when talking about tree trunks.

However, it is probably fair to say that only Danish lumberjacks – and these make up a small proportion of the overall population – say træstamme exclusively in reference to forestry. 

For everyone else, the word is synonymous with the delicious marzipan and truffle-based cakes which can be seen behind glass counters in bakeries all over Denmark.

Made by mixing a cake base with marzipan, raspberry jam, dark chocolate and some essence of rum, and then rolling it all in marzipan and dipping the ends in chocolate, the squat, round træstamme is a filling and mouthwatering edition to any kagebord (“cake table”).

Why do I need to know træstamme?

An easy way to impress Danes with your knowledge of Denmark, and avoid social faux pas, is to know the names of its best-loved pastries. You can’t use the blanket term “Danish” (no pastry is referred to as a “Danish” in Denmark) and expect to be understood.

The good news is that Danish cake names are characteristic and therefore quite easy to learn, and the most popular ones appear in almost every bakery. For every træstamme, you’ll probably also see a Napoleonshatte (Napoleon’s hat) and a hindbærsnitte (“raspberry slice”).

If a Swede tells you træstammer are Swedish, you can politely object. Sweden’s equivalent, the punschrulle, is made with green marzipan, not the normal egg-white colour, and is therefore something completely different.

Examples

Jeg er så lækkersulten lige nu. Jeg kunne godt æde en træstamme.

I really fancy a tasty snack right now. I could stuff my face with a træstamme.

Jeg kan ikke spise flere træstammer. Jeg er ved at eksplodere.

I can’t eat any more træstammes. I’m going to explode.

Man støder ofte på bunker af træstammer, når man færdes uden for skovens markerede vandreruter.

It’s common to come across stacks of tree trunks when venturing away from the marked forest pathways.

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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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