Danish Language Blog

Describing Looks Posted by on Jan 31, 2019 in Vocabulary

(Free image from Open Clipart; no copyright.)

Hvordan ser han/hun ud? (How does he/she look like?) You might not carry around photos of everyone you know in din mobil (your mobile phone), so now and then you’ll need ord (words) to describe somebody’s udseende (appearance, literally ”out-looking”).

Høj, lav, stor, kraftig, lille, tyk, tynd (tall, short, big, strongly built, small, thick/stout, thin) – these basic words for body shapes work approximately as in English: Min bedstefar er en lille, tyk mand. (My grandfather is a little stout man.) Hun er høj og slank. (She’s tall and slim – well, there you got another neat adjective! 🙂 )

NB! Weight is also a sensitive issue in Denmark, so use common sense. The word buttet (chubby) might come handy.


Although many outsiders think of Danes as blue-eyed and blonde Vikings (as in the TV series), people in Denmakr of course have all kindes of eye and hair colours, as well as skin tones.

Hun har blå/grønne/brune øjne. (She’s got blue/green/brown eyes.)

Hans hår er langt og krøllet. (His hair is long and curly.)

Hun har kort, glat hår. (She’s got short, straight hair.)

Begge har lyst/mørkt/brunt/rødt/sort/gråt hår. (Both have got light/dark/brown/ginger/black/grey hair.)

Han er skaldet med overskæg og skæg. (He’s bald with a moustache and a beard.)

Many Danes with a kind of neutral brown/dark blonde hair colour joke that they’ve got kommunefarvet (”municipality-coloured”) or leverpostejfarvet (”liver-pâté-coloured”) hår. 🙂


Of course there are many more ways to describe people’s look, including alder (age), tøj (clothing) and accessories (such as rings or tattoos). Here are just a few suggestions:

En gammel dame med fletninger og øreringe (an old lady with braids and earrings)

En ung, fregnet fyr med hat og briller (a young, speckled guy with hat and glasses)

En familie med mange tatoveringer (a family with a lot of tattoos)

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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.