For members


Danish word of the day: Overskud

Have you completed all your tasks with time and energy to spare this Monday?

What is overskud?

Overskud is the noun form of the antiquated verb at overskyde, which literally means “to overshoot” and can be used to say that something exceeds expectations or that you have more of it than what you need. 

The noun form, overskud, is still in common use. It has two meanings: one relates to economic surplus or profit, and the second, which does not have an exact equivalent in English, can describe the energy or desire needed to take on a task.

There is a second verb related to this noun, at overskue, which you are much more likely to hear in everyday Danish. This means the act of having enough energy or desire to do something.

Why do I need to know overskud?

As noted above, it’s a very popular (and useful) term in Danish that doesn’t have an exact English equivalent (unless you’re using it in its more rigid, accountancy-related guise).

It’s a good way of telling someone politely, but firmly, you are not going to do something. That way, you can avoid half-heartedly going along with something for the sake of not appearing discourteous.

If a Dane tells you they do not have the overskud for doing something, there’s no need to be disappointed. They aren’t telling you your invitation for coffee or request for practical help is a bad idea, but being honest and telling you that they’re not up to it at the moment. You can feel free to ask them again on another occasion.

On the other hand, someone might display some real overskud by showing up when they’re not expected to or putting in some extra graft because they want to do you a favour.


Det var totalt overskudsagtigt, at han kom og hjalp med at flytte, dagen efter han løb marathon

He went above and beyond by coming to help us move house the day after he ran a marathon.

Jeg havde intet overskud tilbage efter arbejde, så jeg tog ikke til festen.

I had no energy left after work, so I didn’t go to the party.

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For members


Danish word of the day: Grænsesøgende

For the daredevils amongst us.

Danish word of the day: Grænsesøgende

What is grænsesøgende? 

A grænse is a border, and søgende is the present participle form of the verb at søge, in other words, “a person who is searching”.

This makes the literal translation of grænsesøgende “person who searches for a border”.

More accurately, it is used to describe a person or a person’s actions that come close to the limits of what is either considered safe, acceptable or possible.

If you do something that is grænsesøgende, then, you are “testing the limits” or “trying your luck”.

Why do I need to know grænsesøgende?

A quick note on grammar: Danish does not use present participles in the same way as English. If you want to say “I am searching” in Danish, you would use the regular present tense jeg søger (“I search”).

The structure Jeg er søgende does not really make sense, because søgende is used more like an adjective. Jeg er den søgende means something like “I am the one who is searching”.

Other Danish adjectives have meanings close to grænsesøgende. For example, dumdristig comes from dum (“stupid”) and dristig (“brave”) and can be translated to “foolhardy”. Udfordrende means “challenging” or “willing to challenge”.

The difference between these and grænsesøgende is that there’s almost an experimental subtext to the latter word. It is used for someone who is not just being daring but who is testing the limits of what they can do, without necessarily knowing what is beyond or what the consequences might be.

This could be anyone from a child refusing to put their shoes on before going out, to a scientist putting a new theory into practice for the first time.

A possible antonym to grænsesøgende could be regelrytter.


Hun var frygtløs og grænsesøgende, og havde altid drømt om at bestige Everest om vinteren.

She was fearless and wanted to break barriers, and had always dreamed of climbing Everest in the winter.