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Danish Homonyms Posted by on Nov 30, 2017 in Fun, Vocabulary

Good Knight! What would ordspil (puns) be without homonyms – words that sound the same, yet have quite different meanings? Og så var der den om… harpespilleren der var streng. (And then there was the story about… the harpist who was strict/a string!) Here’s a list of some danske homonymer. You never know when you’ll knead them – into a silly vittighed (joke)…

(Photo courtesy of Tommy Hemmert Olesen at Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0 License.)

  • skål (bowl) – skål! (cheers!)
  • blad (leaf) – blad (magazine)
  • både (boats) – både … og (both … and)
  • bakke (hill) – bakke (tray) – at bakke (to back)
  • hede (heath) – hede (heat)
  • hjul (wheel) – jul (X-mas)
  • kort (map) – kort (card) – kort (short)
  • sky (cloud) – sky (shy) – sky (gravy)
  • fuld (full) – fuld (drunk)
  • scene (stage) – sene (sinew) – sene blomster (late flowers)
  • køer (cows) – køer (queues, lines)
  • frø (frog) – frø (seed)
  • kløer (claws) – klør (clubs [in card games]) – det klør (it’s itching)
  • have (garden) – have (oceans) – at have (to have – though most people would shorten it to at ha’)
  • skade (damage) – skade (magpie [a bird that looks a bit like a crow])
  • svær (difficult) – sværd (sword)
  • seks (six) – sex
  • elvere (elevens) – elvere (elves)
  • rude (square) – rude (pane)
  • ramme (frame) – at ramme (to hit)
  • at leje (to rent) – at lege (to play)
  • at vide (to know) – hvide (white of egg) – hvide (whites)
  • bord (table) – bor (drill) – vi bor i… (we live in…)
  • skuffe (drawer) – at skuffe (to disappoint)
  • stol (chair) – stol på mig! (trust in me!)
  • skæg (beard) – det er kun for skæg (it’s only for fun)
  • bare (only) – de er bare (they’re naked)
  • nød (nut) – nød (distress)
  • dyr (animal) – dyr (expensive)
  • tåge (mist) – toge (trains)
  • ben (leg) – ben (bone)
  • regning (arithmetic) – regning (bill)
  • gift (poison) – gift (married)
  • stamme (trunk) – stamme (tribe) – at stamme (to stammer) – at stamme fra (to originate from)
  • fyr (guy) – fyr (lighthouse) – fyr! (fire!) – fyr (fir-tree – though unlike the others, this one is usually pronounced without stød)

Did I miss your favourites? Feel free to add them in a comment. 🙂

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About the Author:Bjørn A. Bojesen

I was born in Denmark, but spent large parts of my childhood and study years in Norway. I later returned to Denmark, where I finished my MA in Scandinavian Studies. Having relatives in Sweden as well, I feel very Scandinavian! I enjoy reading and travelling, and sharing stories with you! You’re always welcome to share your thoughts with me and the other readers.


Comments:

  1. Scott:

    Gift?

    • Bjørn A. Bojesen:

      @Scott @Scott. Ah, that’s true, I’ll be adding, thanks! 🙂