Norwegian word of the day: Folk 

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Norwegian word of the day: Folk 
Read The Local Norway's latest Norwegian word of the day. Norwegian word of the day. Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash and Nicolas Raymond/FlickR

Today’s word is one for the masses


What is folk

Folk is relatively straightforward and means people, but it is used in a great number of ways and in a great number of words. 

Folk or volk is the Germanic equivalent of the Latin populus, which is the origin of the English word people, the French peuple, the Spanish pueblo, and many more.

Folk is cognate with the English, Danish and Swedish folk, and the Icelandic fólk, the Dutch and German volk.

Why do I need to know folk? 

Being such an important word, you can find it used in many other words. Folkeregisteret is Norway’s National Population Register. The register includes information such as the name, date of birth, address, and phone number of all residents in Norway. Public agencies use it to confirm one’s details. When moving homes within Norway, you will need to update the population register or get in trouble. 

Folkekjær, which means dear to the people, is a term used to describe celebrities popular with pretty much everyone. Jahn Teigen would be an example. Erling Haaland may be one in the coming years if he can continue his career trajectory and perhaps help Norway qualify for a major tournament. 


Unlike Denmark, the use of the word folkeparti (people’s party) is much less common than it is in Norway. Only the Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti) make use of the naming convention in Norwegian. 

Sometimes it just means a group of people, as in det er mange folk på gaten – “There are a bunch of people out of the street.” Sometimes it means “the people”: folket or det norske folk can be used to refer to the public in general. 


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