The average Dane has an active vocabulary of around 20,000 Danish words. Even the youngest Danes among us can whip up around 3,000 to 5,000 words. In other words (many other words), building a Danish vocabulary that goes beyond the basics can quickly snowball into a heck of a challenge.
But don’t despair! After 25 years of teaching Danish as a second language, we know that you’re going to get the hang of Danish words and phrases. Your vocabulary will grow slowly and steadily – if not all by itself, then with a bit of help from your language school, family, friends and all the other people you speak Danish with in the course of daily life.
If you still feel like things are progressing too slowly, or if you want to impress others with your command of the newest of the new phrases, then Den Danske Ordbog – an online Danish dictionary – is worth a visit. Instead of memorizing the whole dictionary from cover to cover, you can just pick out the words you find inspiring and useful.
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New entries in the Danish Dictionary
We’ve put together a selection of the most recently added words and phrases. Many of them are more than just fun and interesting: they also say something about the times we live in and give rise to reflection.
NOTE! The following words and phrases are not necessarily the latest additions to the Danish language but they were not officially recognized by Den Danske Ordbog until this year. In 2019, Den Danske Ordbog introduced a total of 1.336 words, 43 new definitions and 20 new phrases.
New Danish phrases (recognized in 2019)
Ananas i egen juice [Pineapple in its own juice]: A situation where somebody is extremely full of themself, only focused on themself.
Færdig som popsanger [Finished as a pop singer]: Unable to keep on, for example because of exhaustion, fierce competition or defeat.
At tabe sutten [To lose the pacifier/dummy]: To be surprised, confused, upset, etc; to lose perspective.
At blæse bagover [To blow over backwards]: To make a big impression; catch somebody by surprise; impress.
At gøre avs [To do ouchie]: When something hurts or causes discomfort.
Banditter i habitter [Bandits in suits]: People with powerful positions in the business world, e.g. bank executives, who take advantage of their position for personal gain or commit financial crime.
Sport i toeren [Sports in the two]: Slang expression for anal sex.
Trykke på pauseknappen [Press the pause button]: Temporarily suspend a given course of events/discussion.
New Danish words (recognized in 2019)
Evighedsstuderende [Eternity student]: Student who never completes their studies/graduates (derogatory).
Klimafornægter / klimabenægter [Climate denier]: Person who, despite scientific evidence, refuses to accept that the climate is changing, or that the changes are caused by humans.
Nyhedsnarkoman [News junkie]: Person with a high or excessive interest in reading, watching or listening to news.
12-talspige [12 girl]: A girl who is diligent and good at school, and who often earns the highest possible grade, which is 12 in the Danish grading system. These girls are perfectionists and dutiful, which can ultimately cause stress and depression.
Bonussøn [Bonus son]: A spouse’s or cohabitating partner’s son from a previous relationship. It’s worth noting that the word “bonusdatter” (bonus daughter) has yet to find its way into the dictionary
Damebesøg [Lady visit]: A visit that one receives or pays to a woman, usually with an insinuation of sexual relations.
Dialogkaffe [Dialogue coffee]: Meeting over a cup of coffee for calm discussion (rather than exchanging hateful views, particularly on social media). The Danish politician Özlem Cekic is the woman who coined the new term. She has travelled around Denmark to have these coffee-powered discussions, and even gave a TED talk on the concept.
Forårskuller [Spring delirium]: State of friskiness and restlessness that arises in the spring as the weather warms, the trees bloom and the days grow longer.
Glimragende [à la “fantabulous”]: Playful/informal combination of glimrende (brilliant) and fremragende (excellent) to praise something as being very good or of very high quality. Nobody here at Københavns Sprogcenter has ever heard this word before, but it’s in the dictionary, so it must be a real thing! 🙂
Indvandrerfjendsk [Immigrant-hostile]: Hostile disposition towards immigrants, particularly people from foreign cultures who leave their homeland and settle in one’s own country.
Truckerbad [Trucker bath]: Slang expression for personal hygiene limited to quick and superficial washing, or the use of deodorant in one’s armpits (and groin) instead of bathing.
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Back to you
Here at Københavns Sprogcenter, we’re not equally delighted about all of these new words. But words are all of ours for the taking. And once you’ve “caught” them, there’s nothing stopping you from throwing them back in the water. If you know of other new words and phrases that deserve a spot in this blog, please feel free to add them in the comments. If we hate your suggestion, we might just invite you over for a dialogkaffe.