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Danish word of the day: Læskende

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The Local ([email protected])
Danish word of the day: Læskende

Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash and Nicolas Raymond/FlickR

A soda or fizzy drink is sometimes called 'læskedrik' in Danish. But where does this word come from?

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What is læskende? 

If something is læskende it is thirst-quenching, from the verb at læske which is related to an old Lower German word, leschen meaning to “extinguish”.

The word læskedrik is made up of the word læske (to refresh or quench thirst) and drik, a drink.

Another situation you might hear læske is in relation to the chemical calcium hydroxide, which is called læsket kalk (literally, “thirst-quenched calcium” but similar to “hydrated lime”). This is admittedly a niche use, but if you work in the construction sector or dabble in home improvement you might come across it.

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Why do I need to know læskende?

A læskedrik is a carbonated or flavoured drink but there are alternative and more modern words for these: sodavand for a soda and saftevand for cordial. The oddly patriotic danskvand (“Danish water”) meaning sparkling mineral water, is not a læskedrik because it isn’t flavoured.

A læskende, or thirst-quenching drink can also refer to something not sparkling and with natural flavour like fruit juice (juice), a cold beer (øl) or just plain old water. Non-drinks like ice-creams can also be læskende if they hit the spot when you’re feeling thirsty.

This means the noun læskedrik has a narrower meaning than the adjective læskende.

While a læskedrik could refer to something like Coca-Cola or Fanta, it is perhaps more closely associated with Danish products that have a longer history and were favoured by earlier generations when the term læskedrik was more popular. Such Danish læskedrikke include Tuborg Squash (an orange-flavoured soda) and Faxe Kondi (a carbonated sports soda).

Examples:

Det er altid dejligt med en læskende sodavandsis på en varm dag.

It's always nice to have a refreshing ice lolly on a hot day.

Jeg trænger til noget læskende, vil du ikke købe en Tuborg Squash med hjem?

I need something thirst-quenching, can you please get a Tuborg Squash on the way home?

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