Vocabulary for surviving the Danish winter

It’s so bitterly cold outside at the moment that a few Danish expressions about the big freeze might come in handy. Wrap yourself up and do like the Danes: complain, complain, complain!
Vocabulary for Danish winter

It’s freezing out there …

Danes might be the descendants of vikings but that doesn’t mean we thrive in the cold. Many of us are actually ‘frossenpinde’   a term that translates directly into ‘frozen sticks’ and means someone more than usually susceptible to the cold.

From November to February-March, the days are dark, dreary and mostly cold. The weather has always been a great topic in Denmark and complaining about the cold will definitely make you feel included.

Do as the Danes and spend the winter perfecting ‘hygge’ inside where it’s warm and cosy. When forced to step outside, you can use our little guide to complaining about the cold.

Danes have a few basic words for the cold: ‘Kold’ which means cold or chilly as an adjective, ‘kulde’ which refers to coldness and cold as a noun. 'Frost' describes the ice crystals formed during 'frostvejr' which is temperatures below zero.

Danish expressions to use when you are cold

We have collected a few phrases you can use to describe how cold you are:

Jeg er stivfrossen ... [I’m stiff frozen] This expression means you’re frozen solid and is often used by the before mentioned ‘frozen sticks’.
Jeg er blå af kulde ... [I’m blue with coldness] Another popular and colorful expression to complain about being cold. You basically claim you’re turning blue as a smurf from the Danish weather.
Jeg ryster af kulde ... [I shake from cold] If you get a bad case of the shakes from cold, this is the perfect complaint.
Jeg fryser helt vildt ... [I freeze completely wild] Helt vildt – or completely wild can be used to emphasize just about anything. Here it means: I’m extremely cold.

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Danish phrases to describe the weather

These phrases can be used to complain about the cold weather:

Det er pissekoldt! ... [It’s p*ss cold]. This is a rude but commonly used expression in Denmark. Use it when the cold is really getting to you.
Det er iskoldt ... [It’s ice cold]. Now, it’s freezing cold. You better wrap up or else you’ll catch your death of cold and end up in bed!.
 Det er hundekoldt ...  [It’s dog cold] Hundekoldt is used to describe a really, really cold day. The expression was originally borrowed from German and probably refers to the cold, wet life outside that dogs used to live.
Det er bidende koldt ... [It’s biting cold] This means uncomfortably or unpleasantly cold. Not arctic, but definitely not comfortable either.
Det er pivkoldt!! ... [It’s squeaky cold] Another Danish slang expression to complain about the cold. This phrase is not rude and you can use it to complain about the cold even to your mother-in-law.
En kuldegysning ... [A cold shivery] can be a shivering fit from the cold, but also just a chill down your spine.
Det går gennem marv og ben ... [It goes through marrow and bone] An exclamation used to describe the harsh Danish winter weather. The weather can be extremely cold and unpleasant during the winter and sometimes you get the impression the wind can be felt all the way to your innards.
Det er råkoldt ... [It's raw cold]. Råkoldt is not very cold, but cold enough to be uncomfortable.

Back to you

Do you know some other ways to complain about the cold in Danish? Share them in the comments below. Check out or blog about rain and rainy vocabulary in Danish. With pronunciation and examples. 🙂


Join the discussion

  • Kleomenis Astor

    I don’t know what I am going to do with the Danish language. I speak 4 languages but Danish is in a category by itself. If there’s anyone out there willing to help, please contact me. I can teach you English conversation ( When I lived in Paris, I used to teach this to businessmen who wanted to go on a business trip to the US) and you can help me with Danish. You can go to my FB timeline – Kleomenis Astor – and send me a private message. Thanks.

  • Virginia IP

    After some years in Denmark I realized that the hyperbolic side of Danish language is created in a rest room – pissekold, skidegodt, pisse irriterende etc.
    The deliberately exaggerated form in every language builds on specific mindset. I wonder where this “restroom form” comes form?
    I believe that even Rasmus Rask, if he lived today, even he would be pisse irriteret og vill ikke syens at det er skide godt

    skidegod, adj. NielsÅNielsen.​(Seksten Århusrids.​(1953).238).
    i morgen tidlig ville han sætte sig til at skrive en skidegod bog. FinnSøeborg.​Vi har det jo dejligt!(1955).63.

  • Heidrun Beer

    I love this site. So hilarious! A real keeper.

  • Me

    You guys are awesome! Hahaha.

  • Finn Wulff

    Freezing brass monkey
    Freezing the balls of a brass monkey

    1. Alan Tyler

      Colloquial English would just say “Brass monkeys” – as in “It’s brass monkeys outside today”

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