SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

DANISH WORD OF THE DAY

Danish word of the day: Jævndøgn

The light and the dark side are now in balance.

What is jævndøgn?

Jævndøgn the term used to describe the spring (forårsjævndøgn) and autumn (efterårsjævndøgn) equinoxes.

On the day of an equinox, daytime and nighttime are of approximately equal duration (this is true at the same time all over the planet, not just in Denmark).

The word used in English, equinox, comes from Latin: aequus (equal) and nox (night). The Danish term is directly related to Old English and Norse. Jævn is an adjective similar to “even” and can be used to describe a physical quality (en jævn overflade is “an even surface”), as well as to mean “equal”.

While jævn is “equal” when talking about the equinox and in various other formulations related to measurement, a different word, lighed or ligestilling, is used to mean “equality”.

Døgn is a useful Danish word that doesn’t have an exact English translation but can both mean “a day” or “a 24-hour period”. It’s usually used in preference to the more common dag (“day”) when talking about the amount of time within a day, and not to the day in general.

For example, a store that is open 24 hours a day is described as døgnåbent, “24-hour-open”. If you arbejder døgnet rundt you work all hours of the day.

Putting jævn and døgn together gives you the Danish word for equinox, jævndøgn, literally “equal 24-hours”.

Why do I need to know jævndøgn?

September 23rd (sometimes 22nd) is the autumn equinox. From that date onwards, days include more dark minutes than light ones.

The longest night of the year will fall on December 21st, the winter solstice, when Denmark can expect 17 hours of darkness. The Danish word for solstice is solhverv, from sol (sun) and hverv, an archaic word for “turning”.

On March 20th the spring equinox or forårsjævndøgn, things switch back as spring approaches and there is once again more light than dark.

Pronunciation

The “j” in jævn is pronounced like the “y” in “yellow and the “v” as a “w”, giving you “yæwn”.

To say døgn, imagine you are saying “boy” but replacing the b with a d. Then add an “n” at the end.

Example

I dag er det jævndøgn, hvor dag og nat er lige lange.

Today is the equinox, when day and night are the same length.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

DANISH WORD OF THE DAY

Danish word of the day: Fyringssæson

When the colder months arrive and the stoves must be lit.

Danish word of the day: Fyringssæson

What is fyringssæson? 

Fyringssæson comes from sæson, “season”, and fyring, which comes from the verb at fyre, literally “to fire”.

At fyre can mean different things: to use a certain type of fuel is at fyre med, so at fyre med olie (“to burn with oil”) means to use oil as a fuel for a fire or heating system. At fyre op (“to fire up”) is the expression you’d use in relation to lighting or igniting a fire or turning on the heating: jeg fyrer op i brændeovnen means “I’ll light the fire(place)”.

Firing someone from their job is at fyre nogen fra sit arbejde; while at fyre af is to fire a weapon, but also to fire off a question.

If you turn the heating on in your home but leave the windows open, you fyrer for gråspurvene: heat up the sparrows, meaning to let energy and heat go to waste.

Why do I need to know fyringssæson?

The fyringssæson is the period of the year in which heating is typically used in buildings. It normally runs from October 1st until April 30th, but some businesses or housing associations might consider it to begin on September 15th and end in the middle of May. This is becoming less common as the climate warms.

During the fyringssæson, landlords are required to ensure heating and hot water are adequately supplied to buildings, houses and apartments (this is obviously also the case year-round, but rooms are not usually heating during the rest of the year). Rooms should be able to reach a temperature of at least 21 degrees, and a range of 22-25 degrees is sometimes recommended.

Temperatures will usually be set lower at night, and also shouldn’t be above the recommended levels during the day. This is to prevent mould taking hold in damp rooms. 

If you live in rented housing in Denmark, you should find that the radiators will come on after October 1st. Exceptional circumstances in 2022 mean that people who work in public buildings might have to wait a little longer.

Pronunciation

Fyr is pronounced almost like “fewer” but with the “w” sound removed. –ings is pronounced as it is spelled, and sæson is similar to the French saison, but with a shorter vowel sound.

Example

Der er flere ting, man kan gøre for at spare på varmeregningen i den kommende fyringssæson.

There are several things that can be done to save on your heating bill in the coming heating season.

SHOW COMMENTS