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DANISH WORD OF THE DAY

Danish word of the day: Tør

Have a look at the word of the day if you dare.

Danish word of the day: Tør

What is tør?

Several things, including both verbs and adjectives.

Starting with the verbs, tør is a conjugation of two different Danish verbs, at turde (“to dare”) and at tørre (“to dry” or “to wipe”).

In the first case, it is the present tense form: jeg tør ikke sige, om planen kommer til at virke (“I dare not say whether the plan will work”).

In the second, it is the imperative form. Tør bordet af tak! means “wipe the table please!”. The present tense of at tørre is tørrer, as in Christian tørrer bordet af (“Christian is wiping the table (clean)”).

In its adjective guise, tør means “dry”. You can have tørvejr, “dry weather”, tør humor, a dry sense of humour, tør vin, “dry wine”, or a tørt emne, a dry or boring subject or topic. It can also mean dry as in without moisture, just like the English equivalent.

A tumble dryer is not a tørtumbler, however, but rather a tørretumbler.

Why do I need to know tør?

As well as being another example of a Danish homonym, like bakke, tør is interesting both because it has several meanings, can be two different verbs in different combinations, and because two of its meanings come close to being antonyms.

At tørre af, to wipe clean, technically means making something wet (at least briefly and on the surface), because you’ll be using a damp cloth to do so. Whereas if it is tør, it is completely dry.

Tør is also used in a lot of idioms and experessions — too many to list here in fact. At løbe tør (literally “to run dry”) means to run out of something, while to be tør bag ørerne (“dry behind the ears”) means the opposite to the English “wet behind the ears”. Someone who is tør bag ørerne is older, wiser and experienced.

My favourite tør expression, though, is at falde på et tørt sted (“to fall on a dry place”), meaning to receive something that was sorely needed.

Examples

Jeg tør slet ikke tro på, at Danmark vinder VM.

I dare not believe that Denmark will win the World Cup.

Du får den her chance kun én gang. Tør du tage den?

You’ll only get this chance once. Do you dare to take it?

Min jakke har hængt ude på altanen siden i går, men den er slet ikke tør endnu.

My jacket has been hanging outside on the balcony since yesterday, but it’s nowhere near dry yet.

Tak for kaffen. Den faldt på et tørt sted!

Thanks for the coffee. It was badly needed!

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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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