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DANISH WORD OF THE DAY

Danish expression of the day: At trække sig

If you're thinking of making a dignified exit, today's word might come in handy.

What is at trække sig?

From the verb at trække (“to pull”) and the reflexive pronoun sig (his/herself or themselves), at trække sig literally means “to pull out”.

Without the reflexive element, the verb at trække has a scale of meanings depending on context. For example, you can say that a car or driver trækker ud, trækker ind or trækker over (“pulls out”, “pulls in” or “pulls over”) when changing lanes on a motorway. 

At trække op (“to pull up”) can be used about clothing: han trækker bukserne op is “he is pulling up his trousers”. It can also be used more figuratively. Hjemmeholdet trak niveauet op væsentligt efter pausen means “the home team improved their performance level significantly after half-time”.

When used to refer reflexively to a person, at trække sig, literally “to pull oneself” means to withdraw, pull out or resign. As such, it is sometimes also used with tilbage, which can mean “return” or “(come) back”. So han trækker sig tilbage means “he is resigning” or “he is quitting”.

Why do I need to know at trække sig?

At trække sig is usually used to refer to voluntarily deciding to quit or resign from a certain activity, according to the Danish dictionary. So the action is contrary to what might have been planned by the individual who decides to then withdraw from that activity.

A related expression which has a slightly different nuance is at gå af — literally “to go off” meaning “go away” and also used in relation to resignations. This carries slightly stronger undertones of the decision being forced. So a politician who loses the confidence of his colleagues, his party members and the general public to such an extent he has to step down might be said to gå af rather than trække sig tilbage. 

Although you could use trække sig tilbage to describe someone being væltet (“toppled”) politically, it is also appropriate if they decide to leave having competently served out a full term but chosen not to run for reelection.

Examples

Han trækker sig som partiets leder med øjeblikkelig virkning, men afviser at gå af som premierminister, indtil en ny leder er valgt.

He is stepping down as the leader of the party with immediate effect but refuses to quit as prime minister until a new leader has been elected.

Hun trækker sig til december efter 20 år som firmaets direktør.

She is leaving in December after 20 years as the company’s director.

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For members

DANISH WORD OF THE DAY

Danish word of the day: Uenig

The Danish word ‘uenig’ has no exact equivalent in the English language. Do you agree?

We hope our examples make this article clearer. Let us know if you don't agree.
We hope our examples make this article clearer. Let us know if you don't agree. Photo by Clarissa Watson on Unsplash

What is uenig?

So what does it mean?

To be uenig is to disagree or be in disagreement over something (the antonym, enig, is used when you agree).

It’s not an exact like-for-like with the English ‘disagree’, however, because the Danish word is and adjective and the English word is a verb.

You can say “I disagree” in English but not in Danish where you’d have to reword as jeg er uenig, “I am in disagreement”. The noun for “disagreement” in Danish is an uenighed.

Why do I need to know uenig? 

There’s a number of ways you can use uenig, meaning to be in disagreement, usually in sentences that sound a bit different in English.

Two people can be uenige, in a disagreement, but as the subject of a sentence the disagreement is an uenighed between two people.

There’s also an important distinction relating to prepositions. To be uenig med hende is to disagree with her, but to be uenig i noget is to disagree on something someone has said or claimed. Two or more people can also be uenige om (about) something.

Hopefully, the examples below will make this a bit clearer.

How do I use it?

Jeg er uenig med dig.

I disagree with you.

Han sagde, at bananer smager bedre end æbler. Det er jeg uenig i. 

He said bananas taste better than apples. I disagree with that.

De to politiske partier gik fra mødet uden at have opnået en større enighed i forhold til spørgsmålet.

The two political parties left the meeting without achieving any greater agreement over the issue.

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