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​​Danish word of the day: Krænket

The Local Denmark
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​​Danish word of the day: Krænket

Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash and Nicolas Raymond/FlickR

Today's word of the day was born out of a medieval code of honour, but its application today is very modern.

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What is krænket?

The word krænket describes when someone considers themselves to have had their personal honour attacked in words or action. 

At krænke, the verb formcan also mean ‘to violate’, as in a violation of someone’s rights. De har krænket mine rettigheder means ‘they violated my rights’. 

The word has been used as an adjective for centuries, but primarily in the verb form. The Swedish equivalent, kränka, is derived from Old Swedish kränkia, meaning ‘to weaken, disgrace, or transgress’. That verb is taken from the Low German krenken, ‘to weaken’.

But the history of krænket does not end here.

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Why do I need to know krænket?

The word has gained new life and meaning in modern Danish debates on issues including gender and race, where it has become an epithet aimed at someone who feels disparaged for supposedly no legitimate reason. 

Krænket, then, no longer describes simply a person who has actually been dishonoured, but someone whose opponents wish to mock them for being upset about something. 

For example, someone complaining about what they consider a to be discrimination against another person or group of people might find themselves being disparaged for feeling krænket or being krænkelsesparat (roughly "easily offended"). The subtext is that they care more about being right over a political correctness issue than they do about the people who might have been affected.

In return, this criticism may be rejected as a deflection tactic from the complainants legitimate grievance.

Whether you feel krænket, or have in fact been krænket it is not a nice word to use about someone else. 

Try not to krænke anyone, but do alert the proper authorities if you feel that someone has krænket your rights: in some contexts its meaning is very close to chikaneret, meaning to be harassed.

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