Readers reveal: This is the best word in the Danish language

Readers reveal: This is the best word in the Danish language
Photo: Yannis Behrakis/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix
What's the best word in the Danish language, according to English speakers? We let The Local's readers vote, and here's what they said.

First, readers nominated their favourite Danish words via a survey on The Local. Our editorial team then compiled a shortlist of ten words, based on the number of nominations the word received and our own decision whenever a tiebreaker was needed.

To pick the final winner, readers were given the chance to upvote their favourite word in a poll of the shortlist of ten. We received almost 700 upvotes (although it would have been possible for one person to vote several times via different devices or by opening their browser in private mode).

And the winner is: 

Ø

 

It was close, with the top two choices almost neck-and-neck for several days, but in the end Ø (island) prevailed, so he most popular Danish word amongst our readers is also the shortest Danish word (well, tied with Å (stream)).

 

Its pronunciation is somewhere between the exclamation ‘oh!’ and the filler word ‘er’ in English, but given the letter ø cannot be found in the English-language alphabet, it’s hard to describe an exact match.

Readers who nominated ‘ø’ for our poll commended it for its shortness, but we’d like to think its unique visuals – it kind of looks like an island – helped it land the no. 1 spot.

Runner up was kæreste, the word used to refer to one’s romantic partner. “How lovely to say 'min kæreste' without any hesitation or boundary”, explained Helen in Copenhagen, one of the readers who nominated it.

Hygge is still hanging on in the popularity stakes, having gained the third-most votes. Is it unpronounceable? Is it untranslatable? What does it even mean and why is it so popular? We've attempted to de-mystify hygge in the past, but its allure remains.

Many thanks to everyone who took part. Here are the full results:

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