According to a common myth, the Inuit have hundreds of different words for snow. We regret shattering that notion with a blunt “fake news!” but we’re here for you in this moment of sorrow: the Danish language has a rich and extensive repertoire when it comes to talking about rainy weather.
Considering that the nation enjoys an average of 179 days of rain a year, it’s probably no mystery why the Danes love talking (bitching) about the weather.
We’ve put together a cavalcade of words, phrases and figures of speech to help you join in on the curmudgeonly fun of Denmark’s national pastime. Fill up your arsenal with inspiration and the most delightful ways to express your melancholy, disappointment or seething disgust the next time the heavens start raining on your parade.
Hold on to your umbrellas and get ready for a lighthearted round of Danish lessons, with a twinkle (or is that a raindrop?) in our eyes. You’ll be singing in the rain in no time!
The ABCs of rain
The descriptors for rain in Danish range from the slightly moist to pure inundation:
Støvregn – Drizzle
Byger – Scattered showers
Regn/regnvejr – Rain/rainy weather
En ordentlig skylle – A real downpour
En tordenbyge – A thunderstorm
Et skybrud – A cloudburst (torrential downpour)
Our students quickly discover that an overcoat, rubber boots and an umbrella are essential elements of their Danish wardrobes. And if you’re planning to get around by bike, you’re going to need a rain jacket and rain pants for that. Here is a handful of nouns for your linguistic toolbox on a rainy day
En vandpyt (a puddle)
Regnvejr (rainy weather)
Regnvejrsdag (rainy day)
En regnfrakke (a raincoat)
Gummistøvler (rubber boots)
En paraply (an umbrella)
Jeg kan lide at hoppe i vandpytter - I like jumping in puddles.
Det bliver regnvejr i morgen - It’s going to rain tomorrow.
En grå regnvejrsdag i november - A grey and rainy November day
Har du husket din regnfrakke? - Did you remember your raincoat?
Han tog sine gummistøvler på. - He put on his rubber boots.
Jeg har glemt min paraply - I forgot my umbrella.
The most common comments on rainy weather
Like pretty much everyone else everywhere you go, Danes love talking about the weather. Get the following phrases nailed down in your active vocabulary and meteorological chats will be a breeze
Det bliver regnvejr – [It becomes rain weather] It’s going to rain.
Du ligner en druknet mus – [You look like a drowned mouse] You sure got wet out there!
Jeg er totalt gennemblødt – I’m completely soaked.
Det regnede helt vildt i går – [It rained completely wild yesterday] It rained a ton yesterday.
Det småregner – [It little rains] There’s some light and scattered rain/drizzle.
Det øser ned! / Det øsregner – [It's pouring down / it pour rains] It’s pouring!
I øsende regnvejr – [In pouring rain weather] In the pouring rain.
Bitch about the weather like a pro!
Lortevejr! Møgvejr! Danes don’t stop at just politely passing the time as they chat about the weather. They pull no punches when it comes to bitching and moaning about the weather when the opportunity arises – and in this respect, Denmark is the land of opportunity.
Phrases that mean it’s really pouring down rain:
Det regner i stride strømme! [It rains in harsh streams]
Det regner i lårtykke stråler! [It rains in thigh thick jets
Det styrter ned! [It pours down]
Det pisser ned! [It pisses down]
Det står ned i stænger! [It stands down in poles]
Phrases that mean it’s really crappy (or even more fecal) weather:
Hold kæft et lortevejr! [Shut up a shitty weather]
Sikke et møgvejr [What a crappy weather]
Det er et elendigt vejr [It is a miserable weather]
Det var en ordentlig skylle [It was a hefty downpour]
Phrases to use when you’re completely soaking wet, thanks to all that rain:
Jeg er helt gennemblødt [I am completely soaked]
Jeg er våd fra yderst til inderst [I am wet from outer to inner]
Jeg er våd til skindet [I am wet to the hide]
Phrases and figures of speech about rain
Når solen går ned i en sæk, står den op i en bæk– [When the sun goes down i a sack, it gets up in a brook] In other words, “a sunset with dark clouds means rain the following morning”.
Det regner med skomagerdrenge – [It rains shoemaker boys] This expression is used when the raindrops are unusually big.
Der findes ikke dårligt vejr, kun forkerte klæ’r – [There exists no bad weather, only wrong clothing] Dress for the weather and you’ll be just fine buddy.
Efter regn kommer solskin – [After rain comes sunshine] A bit of misplaced optimism from the annals of Danish sayings – which you already know if you’ve spent any amount of time in Denmark in the winter.
Når det regner på præsten drypper det på degnen - [When it rains on the priest, it drips on the parish clerk] A nice little saying for those fond of the trickle-down principle, by which a person’s wealth or success also benefits less fortunate/less prominent people.
Marie Marie Marolle flyv op til Vorherre og bed om godt vejr... [Marie Marie Marolle fly up to the Lord and ask for nice weather] Danish children learn at a young age to implore any ladybug they capture to fly up to the lord and ask for nice weather.*
*Future anthropological studies will determine the role of unfulfilled ladybug prayers in the rise of agnosticism and/or pesticides in Danish society.
Back to you
Well, we hope you don’t feel too watered down now – and we hope that you soaked in some helpful inspiration, new words and figures of speech for your Danish toolbox.
Did we forget something? Don’t hold back! Shower us with more Danish words and phrases for rain and rainy weather in the comments below!