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Norwegian word of the day: Drikkeangst

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Norwegian word of the day: Drikkeangst
Caption Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash / Nicolas Raymond/FlickR

Have you ever woken up with a sore head and wondered whether you'd made a show of yourself the night before? If so, you'll relate to the latest Norwegian word of the day.

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What does drikkeangst mean? 

Drikkeangst is a compound of two words. The first part, 'drikke', means drink, but it also acts as the verb 'to drink' too. The second part of the word means anxiety. Put together, they mean drinking anxiety. 

Now, this doesn't refer to the fear of drinking or being anxious over what to pick- instead, it refers to the anxiety that comes after drinking. 

Drinking anxiety refers to feeling worried about how you may have acted or something you might have said while inebriated. The word is unique to the Norwegian language, with the closest English equivalent being "the fear", which many claim to get after a heavy night. 

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This word is perhaps uniquely Norwegian in its construction, as a lot of the slang in the local language is the result of compounds. Also, it can offer a view into Norwegian drinking culture. 

Norwegians are some of the healthiest people on earth thanks largely to their love for their outdoors- but perhaps also their proficiency in exercising moderation. 

For example, many grow up saving sweets and treats for Saturday, while many are likely to drink only a glass of wine or bottle of beer with dinner. Of course, there are exceptions to this, such as a little midweek treat or letting one's hair down on lille lørdag (little Saturday- a word of Wednesday). 

The downside to this is that it means that when Norwegians do indulge themselves, they may end up going overboard. This applies to drinking, too, with Norwegians preferring to do all their drinking for the week in one go. This is perhaps why they need a word to perfectly describe the feeling of waking up the following day and being worried about one's drunken antics.

Use it like this: 

Jeg kysset eksen min på lørdag. Nå har jeg skikkelig drikkeangst.

I kissed my ex on Saturday. I have lots of drinking anxiety.

Jeg tror ikke jeg skal på byen på en stund, jeg har skikkelig drikkeangst etter forrige fredag.

I don't think I am going out for a while, I have a lot of drinking anxiety after last Friday.

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