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Danish expression of the day: Lille fredag

Can't wait for the weekend to arrive? 'Lille fredag' means it's just around the corner.

What is lille fredag?

An expression (adjective + noun) rather than a compound (noun + noun), lille fredag literally means ‘little Friday’ and is another word for… Thursday.

It is therefore based on the assumption that Thursday is, in fact, the first real day of the weekend and just as much of an opportunity to let your hair down as Friday and Saturday.

Although the expression is a longstanding one and will be understood by all Danes to mean ‘Thursday’ its standing has arguably been established even further by iconic Copenhagen amusement park Tivoli, which decided some years ago to rename its Thursday summer concert programme ‘Lillefredag’ (one word in Tivoli’s interpretation).

What does lille fredag tell us about Denmark?

Denmark is known to have a considerable drinking culture, although statistics and reports in recent years show that alcohol consumption per head is falling. But it is conceivable that the concept of stretching the weekend to an extra day may be related to this. 

Anecdotally, the concept of Thursday being a ‘small Friday’ and part of the weekend could be connected to work-life balance. Many jobs, particularly office-based ones, have regular weekly hours which include an earlier finishing time on Friday than on the other days of the week, allowing employers to get home early on Friday afternoons and get their weekends started. As such, by the time you get to Thursday evening, there are very few hours left in the working week.

It could also just be that the diminutive description of a day is just a popular way to describe the eve of something pleasant. Similarly to lille fredag, December 23rd in Denmark widely referred to as lille juleaften (Little Christmas Eve).

How to use it

Ej, jeg orker simpelthen ikke arbejde i dag. Godt, at det er lille fredag i morgen.

Oh dear, I simply can’t be doing with work to day. At least it’s little Friday tomorrow.

Skal vi ikke tage en fyraftensbajer? Det er trods alt lille fredag.

Shall we grab a beer after work? It is little Friday after all.

Did we miss anything? Do you disagree with any of the above? Do you have a suggestion for a future word of the day? Let us know.

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For members


Danish word of the day: Overordnet

We'll try to give you an overarching explanation of today's word of the day.

Danish word of the day: Overordnet

What is overordnet?

While we covered the meaning of over previously (spoiler: it means “over”), you’ll also need the translation of the verb at ordne to get a sense of how to use overordnet.

Because it has its roots in Latin, at ordne (from the Latin “ordinare”) is easy enough to understand for an English speaker. When used in Danish, it signifies to sort, place in a correct order, tidy or fix something. It can also mean to take care of a problem, conflict or situation: Lejligheden sejlede da jeg kom hjem, så jeg ordnede den lige hurtigt (“the apartment was a mess when I came home, so I gave it a quick sort-out”).

Getting back to overordnet, which is an adjective in the form of a past-tense verb, the prefix suggests something ahead in a certain order. In other words, overordnet can be someone of a higher rank, such as in the military or at a work place.

It can also mean a higher meaning or context, similar to how you might use “overall” in English — an overordnet strategi, for example, can be a company’s long-term business model, around which it builds its more immediate aims.

Why do I need to know overordnet?

While it’s a good example of an adjective that is formed from a rarely-used verb (at overordne), it’s also a word that will help you to convey nuance and give sentences in spoken Danish a sense of articulacy (provided you don’t overuse it, then you might end up sounding like a proponent of ‘management speak‘).

You can some up your thoughts on a certain subject by saying overordnet set (approximately, “generally speaking”) or say that you have been thinking up an overordnet plan (“overall plan”).

Like all good “over” words, overordnet has and “under”-based antonym. Underordnet is an even more expressive word than its superior (in a literal sense) opposite, and is usually used to dismiss something as irrelevant: det er underordnet, om det tager fem minutter eller en time, bare jeg får tid til en gåtur hver dag (“it doesn’t matter whether it takes five minutes or an hour, as long as I get a chance to take a walk every day”).


Jeg forstår ikke, den overordnede betydning med universet.

I don’t understand the overall meaning of the universe.

Jeg kan desværre ikke svare på dit spørgsmål, inden jeg har talt med min overordnede.

I’m afraid I can’t answer your question until I’ve spoken with my superior.