Readers reveal: This is the best word in the Norwegian language

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 8 Aug, 2020 Updated Sat 8 Aug 2020 10:07 CEST
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What's the best word in the Norwegian language, according to English speakers? We let The Local's readers vote, and here's what they said.

First, readers nominated their favourite Norwegian words via a survey on The Local. Our editorial team then compiled a shortlist of ten words, based on the number of nominations the word received and our own decision whenever a tiebreaker was needed.

To pick the final winner, readers were given the chance to upvote their favourite word in a poll of the shortlist of ten. We received over 200 upvotes (although it would have been possible for one person to vote several times via different devices or by opening their browser in private mode).

And the winner is: 




With just one vote separating the top two words, yr came out the narrow winner.

“It’s so descriptive using only two relatively unimportant letters. There isn’t any substitute in English, well maybe drizzle or mist. But those are much more complex words for what Norwegians have summed up in two letters,” Crystal in Frederikstad wrote when she nominated it for our vote.

“It paints a picture not only in how it’s spelled but how it’s said, it’s more a sound than a word. Also when conjugated: 'det yrer litt'. I see foggy whispers of misty rain in the fjords.” We think that description is worthy of any winner.


Second place in the vote went to dugnad, which also describes a concept quintessential in Norwegian culture. It can be translated roughly to voluntary work, or something which you do for the collective good.

"I think this is a wonderful concept that has a name only in Norwegian," wrote Catherine, the reader who nominated it.

In third, another word related to Norway’s cooler and often unpredictable climate, as well as the fondness of Norwegians for outdoor activity. Utepils is a pils, or beer that you drink whilst outside.

Many thanks to everyone who took part. Here are the full results:

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The Local 2020/08/08 10:07

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