Norwegian Language Blog

Norwegian Homonyms Posted by on Nov 30, 2017 in Uncategorized

(No copyright. From Wikimedia Commons.)

Good Knight! What would puns be without homonyms – words that have quite different meanings, but sound the same? Hjort [≈ gjort] er hjort [gjort] sa elgen og hoppet i elven og ble rein. (Deer [≈ done] is deer [done], the elk said, jumped into the river and became clean/a reindeer.) Here’s a list of some norske homonym. You never know when you’ll knead them – into a silly vits (joke)…

  • skål (bowl) – skål! (cheers!)
  • ku (cow) – q (the letter Q)
  • sett (seen) – z
  • eks (ex) – x
  • hjul (wheel) – jul (X-mas)
  • full (full) – full (drunk)
  • tjære (tar) – kjære venn! (dear friend!)
  • scene (stage) – sene (sinew) – dere er sene (you’re late)
  • hjerne (brain) – det vil jeg gjerne! (I would love to!)
  • tre (three) – tre (tree)
  • fire (four) – å fire (to lower)
  • seks (six) – sex
  • vår (our) – vår (spring [season])
  • fjær (feather) – fjær (spring [the metal thing that makes Jack jump out of a jack-in-the-box])
  • bær (carry!) – bær (berry)
  • bryter (wrestler) – bryter (electrical switch)
  • rute (square) – rute (pane) – rute (route)
  • bord (table) – bor (drill) – vi bor i… (we live in…)
  • fyr (guy) – fyr (lighthouse) – huset tok fyr (the house caught fire)
  • tilhenger (supporter) – tilhenger (trailer)
  • sky (cloud) – sky (shy) – sjy (gravy)
  • Q Melk. Can you spot the pun? 🙂 (By Wolfmann (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.)

    ball (ball [football, basketball…]) – ball (ball [party])
  • å vite (to know) – hvite (white of egg) – hvite (whites)
  • nøtt (nut) – noen ganger er du nødt å… (sometimes you have to…)
  • mål (goal) – mål (dimensions) – mål (language, speech – especially nynorsk)
  • kart (map) – kart (unripe fruit)
  • kort (card) – kort (short)
  • tak (roof) – tak (ceiling) – ta tak! (get a grip!)
  • blad (leaf) – blad (magazine)
  • stamme (trunk) – stamme (tribe) – å stamme (to stammer) – å stamme fra (to originate from)
  • regning (arithmetic) – regning (bill)
  • kran (tap, faucet) – kran (crane [for lifting things])
  • lama (llama) – lama (lama, as in Dalai Lama!)
  • dyr (animal) – dyr (expensive)
  • å bli (to become) – blid (friendly, joyous)

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.


  1. Niki:

    Gift (married) and gift (poison) hmmm 😀

    • Bjørn A. Bojesen:

      @Niki @Niki – Exactly! 🙂

  2. CGD:

    You missed one here:

    sky (cloud) – sky (shy) – sjy (gravy) – ski (ski)

    • Bjørn A. Bojesen:

      @CGD @CGD Thanks! 🙂 I wouldn’t count ski as a hononym, though. In Norwegian, y and i are different sounds.

  3. M:

    Thank you so much for this! This blog helps me a lot when learning about context and words Norwegians actually use (quite unlike the books…)

    • Bjørn A. Bojesen:

      @M @M Thank you for the feedback, much appreciated. I’m happy there are readers out there… 🙂