1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Danish
  4. >
  5. Challenge: Strange Danish com…

Challenge: Strange Danish compound words!

[deactivated user]

    English: Below is a list of strange compound words in Danish, along with their literal translations into English. I challenge the lot of you to try to guess what the words mean. I will be posting the correct answers in a few days. Good luck!

    Danish: Herunder er der en liste over sære sammensatte ord på dansk, sammen med deres ordrette oversættelser til engelsk. Jeg udfordrer jer alle til at prøve at gætte, hvad ordene betyder. Jeg kommer med de korrekte svar om nogle dage. Held og lykke!

    April 30, 2015



    A lot of the Danish ones are quite similar to the German words. It's funny how often you search for a word, say "In German it would be sea pig but that can't be how you say it in Danish" ... and get to hear that it is the very same in Danish.


    I agree, I have a pretty good hunch about most of these from German. It reminds me of these:

    [deactivated user]

      These words in English, German and Danish

      • dictionary - Wörterbuch - ordbog (same as in German)

      • hospital - Krankenhaus - sygehus(/hospital) (same as in German)

      • airplane - Flugzeug - flyvemaskine(/fly)

      • nipple - Brustwarze - brystvorte (same as in German)

      • light bulb - Glühbirne - glødepære (same as in German)

      • slug - Nacktschnecke - skovsnegl

      • bicycle - Fahrrad - cykel (we don't have a kørehjul in Danish..)

      • skunk - Stinktier - stinkdyr (same as in German)

      • percussion - Schlagzeug - slagtøj (same as in German)

      • air force - Luftwaffe - luftvåben (same as in German)

      • burial - Beerdigung - begravelse (meaning someone is dug down)

      • contraceptive pill - Antibabypille - p-pille


      Gotta love the Germanic languages. Do you know what the p in p-pille stands for?

      [deactivated user]

        From Den Danske Ordbog:

        Oprindelse: kendt fra 1965 – første led efter den amerikanske læge Gregory Pincus eller forkortelse for præventivpille

        So it seems they aren't really sure. My immediate guess would have been præventionspille.


        And begravelse - Begräbnis exists in German also.

        Antibabypille commonly is abbreviated to Pille or die Pille (with an emphasis on die).


        Well, even though we don't have a "kørehjul" in Danish, we do have a 'løbehjul' ;)


        sommerfugl = butterfly Men det vidste jeg allerede før ;)

        marsvin is a little dolphin


        Marsvin is also a guinea-pig (and wine grown on Mars). It is a word that the Danes took to France, when they got Normandy: Marsouin


        Vold has another meaning which is the one used in Voldgrav, namely "a dike" (no not a lesbian) therefore it's literally a Dike Ditch which I guess doesn't make it much easier


        I have already seen some of these (my favourites are pindsvin and bh). So my guesses are: tusindben = millipede småkage = cookies? gravhund = mole bæltedyr = either a crocodile or Puss in boots :) stumtjener = ATM or something like this kugleramme = sphere? marsvin = let it be a guinea pig, they are "sea piggies" in Russian. sofavælger = an IKEA customer? voldgrav = quicksand?

        Jeg kan lide den danske logik:)


        I could find a lot of the meanings via Dutch :)

        1 woodlouse (pissebed in Dutch – which actually makes me wonder why we call it a pissing bed... Had to look this one up)

        2 butterfly (vlinder)

        3 centipede (duizendpoot, same meaning)

        4 biscuit (koekje, same meaning)

        5 dachshund (teckel - had to look up)

        6 armadillo (gordeldier, same meaning)

        7 hatstand (hoedenkapstok?)

        8 nipple (tepel – that’s so funny)

        9 diary (dagboek, same meaning)

        10 aeroplane (vliegtuig, same meaning though literally that would be "vliegmachine", which is sometimes used but not actually the right word)

        11 carrot (wortel)

        12 bra (beha, bh - same meaning)

        13 handcuffs (handboeien – got that one wrong, thought it’d be an iron for clothing)

        14 curbstone (stoeprand)

        15 abacus (telraam – had to look it up)

        16 hedgehog (egel)

        17 abstention (onthouding – had to look up)

        18 moat (slotgracht – had to look up)

        19 vacuum cleaner (stofzuiger, same meaning)

        20 guinea pig (cavia) or a sort of small whale (bruinvis?) - had to look up

        21 orca (orka – one of my favourite words in Danish)

        Learn Danish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.