Danish word of the day: Klaphat

Michael Barrett
Michael Barrett - [email protected]
Danish word of the day: Klaphat

Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash and Nicolas Raymond/FlickR

Something silly that you can wear.


What is klaphat? 

A klaphat (literally a “clapping hat”) is a baseball cap with two small cushions, shaped like arms, attached to the front panel.

The arms are attached to a cord which fits loosely under the chin of the wearer, who can pull it to make the hands clap.

Invented in the 1980s, the hat was originally made famous by Danish football fans who wore it to support their team at international tournaments. These fans are often referred to as roligans, a play on the word “hooligan” which uses the Danish word for “calm”, rolig, suggesting that followers of the Danish national team are likely to be calmer or friendlier than others.


It later became more widespread and can be spotted at other celebratory events, but remains most closely associated with sport.

A klaphat in use during the Tour de France stages in Denmark in 2022. Photo: Søren Bidstrup/Ritzau Scanpix

Why do I need to know klaphat?

Oddly, klaphat also began to be used as an insult in the 1990s and can still come in handy as a light-hearted rebuke.

It’s not clear whether this came about because of the unserious behaviour of football fans or for some other reason, but you can use it as an equivalent to “fool” or “nincompoop”.

A klaphat is also a different type of hat that predates the 1980s sporting invention: the chapeau claque or opera hat is a variant of a top hat that can be folded (or more accurately collapsed) using a spring system, allowing it to be packed into a small space.

The verb at klappe means both "to clap" and, when it has an object, "to fold (together)". As such, if you klapper din hat sammen you “fold up your hat”, which explains this original meaning of klaphat.


Is easy: “clap-hat”.


Jeg kom til at smide mine nøgler i skraldespande, sikken klaphat!

I threw my keys in the rubbish by mistake, what a fool!


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