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How to call bullsh*t in Danish

Michael Barrett
Michael Barrett - [email protected]
How to call bullsh*t in Danish
The song 'Beautiful Bullshit' by Maia Maia was an unsuccessful contender to be Denmark's 2023 Eurovision entry. Photo: Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

Know someone who pretends to know what they have no idea about, who outright lies or who brags too much? These words will help you call out a bullsh*tter.

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In the internet age, the world is full of people who pretend to be experts and all-knowledgeable when in fact they don’t have the foggiest idea what they’re talking about. 

You may have hoped that the translation of bullshit in Danish would be tyrelort, using the literal translations of bull (tyr) and ‘shit’ or ‘crap’ (lort), a mild Danish swearword that you can say in most situations.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. There are several words for bullshit in Danish, but the most common one is probably just ‘bullshit’.

Danish has a propensity for loaning swear words from English and this is no exception.

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Like in English, bullshit can be both a noun and a verb in Danish. In the latter case, it takes on Danish grammar and becomes at bullshitte, ‘to bullshit’, as in han bullshitter mig or ‘he’s bullshitting me’.

If you want to exclaim ‘bullshit!’ like you would in English, but using a Danish word, there are a number of other options available. Vrøvl or sludder which both mean something akin to ‘nonsense’ are probably the most common, but there are other, more eclectic words like øregas or even humbug, which sounds like something a Dickensian character would say but is pronounced slightly differently.

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Alternatively, short phrases like det er løgn (that’s a lie) or der er pure opspind (that’s pure fantasy) will do a similar job.

Returning to the theme of loan words, you will also be understood as calling out bullshit if you exclaim det er fake! (that’s fake or false) in response to someone’s spurious claims. The migration of ‘fake’ into the Danish language is a very recent one, probably linked to the emergence of ‘fake news’ as a phenomenon over the last decade or so.

The verb at bullshitte can be switched out with at bluffe (to bluff), at lyve (to lie) and at bedrage (to defraud) among others.

So can you ‘bullshit a bullshitter’ in Danish?

The answer is not really, because ‘bullshitter’ meaning ‘person who bullshits a lot’ is the only form of the English version of the word that hasn’t really been adopted in Danish.

Instead, you’ll have to really on more Danish-sounding words like løgner (liar), løgnhals (liar, literally ‘lie-throat’), mytoman (‘mythoholic’) and charlatan (charlatan).

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