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Danish word of the day: Brøler

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

Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash and Nicolas Raymond/FlickR

If you hear this word then you probably haven’t had a roaring success.

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What is brøler? 

At brøle means “to roar” and is used like its English counterpart to describe the noise made by lions.

If someone comes out with a statement or puts their opinion about something out there because they believe strongly in it, you might hear (or see, as this often happens on social media) the response godt brølt! – literally “well roared” but more like “well said” or “well done for speaking up”.

Brøler with the present tense -er on the end could be a grammatical conjugation of at brøle. For example, løven brøler means “the lion is roaring”.

There is also a second meaning to brøler, however: it can mean a big mistake or a major misstep.

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Why do I need to know brøler?

The origins of brøler as an informal synonym for fejl (“mistake”) are connected to roaring: it is a description of an act that can give rise to a yell of irritation or exasperation.

It carries moderately light-hearted connotations. You probably wouldn’t hear someone describe one of their most regretted life decisions as a brøler. It is, however, common in sports commentary – think of a poor touch by a defender in a football match, letting the other team score; or a double fault at a crucial moment in tennis.

In this sense, it is less interchangeable with fejltagelse (a more formal version of fejl) and a closer synonym to bommert, which can be translated to “blunder”.

If you see someone make a brøler, you could let them know by saying det var vist en ommer: “looks like you need to try again”.

Examples

Jeg glemte at tage cykelnøglen med og nu skal jeg helt op på 3. igen. Det var en brøler.

I forgot to pick up my bicycle key and now I have to go all the way back up to the third floor. What a clanger.

Træneren begik en brøler med den negative taktik, da holdet manglede to mål i 2. halvleg.

The coach made a blunder with his negative tactics when the team needed two goals in the second half.

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