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70 Best Danish Proverbs And Quotes (With Audio And English Translations)

70 Best Danish Proverbs And Quotes (With Audio And English Translations)

If you’re learning the Danish language and want to immerse yourself in Danish culture, what better way to do so than through proverbs and quotes?

Danish proverbs and sayings can be used in everyday speech as a way to add color and flavor to a conversation. They can also be used to make a point more forcefully or add emphasis.

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Aside from that, they give you insight into the Danish way of thinking and the values that are important to Danish people. And some of them will even make you laugh out loud!

In this article, you’ll find a list of 70 of our favorite Danish proverbs and sayings, along with audio and English translations. You should note that all of them are quite old, so the language used may be a bit outdated. Nevertheless, we still think you’ll find them useful.

We’ve split the proverbs up into manageable chunks of 7 for easy reference.

It is bad to lean against a falling wall

Danish sayings 1-7

Danish English
Daarligt er at frygte det man ei kan flye. It is folly to fear what one cannot avoid.
Hvo som rædes for ord, har ei hierte til gierning. He who is scared by words, has no heart for deeds.
Tyv tænker hvermand stiæler. A thief thinks every man steals.
Hver mand siger det; ingen mand veed det. Everybody says it; nobody knows it.
Bær asenet en guldsæk, det æder dog tidsel. Though the ass may carry a sack of gold, it nevertheless feeds on thistles.
Tanden bider ofte tungen og dog bliver de eens. The tooth often bites the tongue, and yet they keep together.
Ondt er at stötte sig til ludende væg. It is bad to lean against a falling wall.

Keep not two tongues in one mouth

Danish sayings 8-14

Danish English
Man skal ei have to tunger i een mund. Keep not two tongues in one mouth.
Riig enkes taarer törres snart. The rich widow’s tears soon dry.
Naar kat og muus giör eet, har bonden tabt. When cat and mouse agree, the farmer has no chance.
Forgieves er at mede uden krog, at lære uden bog. It is vain to fish without a hook, or learn to read without a book.
Af to onde kaar skal man vælge det bedste. Of two evils choose the least.
Fagre ord uden fynd naae ikke langt. Fine words without deeds go not far.
Tal sagte om din skade, og roes ikke din lykke. Speak little of your ill luck, and boast not of your good luck.

When a waggon is tilting, everyone gives it a shove

Danish sayings 15-21

Danish English
Ond giæst er velkommen som salt i suur öie. An unpleasant guest is as welcome as salt to a sore eye.
Alderdom er ond reisebroder. Age is a sorry travelling companion.
Naar vognen helder, vil enhver skyde efter. When the waggon is tilting everybody gives it a shove.
Aldrig læges saar saa vel, at arret jo synes. A wound never heals so well that the scar cannot be seen.
Af ögler komme ögleunger. Vipers breed vipers.
End vinder folsk mand förste leg. A fool only wins the first game.
Ræven gaaer ei to gange paa eet gilder. The fox does not go twice into the same trap.

A fool laughs when others laugh

Danish sayings 22-28

Danish English
Mangen vil gierne rose ret og giöre uret. Many love to praise right and do wrong.
Frisk vovet er halvt vundet. A bold attempt is half success.
Hvo som vil hævne sig, skal vare sig. He who would seek revenge must be on his own guard.
Stakkarl er staadder værst, naar han magt fanger. No one so hard upon the poor as the pauper who has got into power.
Liden tue vælter ofte stort læs. A little stone may upset a large cart.
Alt leer folsk mand, naar anden leer. A fool laughs when others laugh.
Sielden skiærer man godt korn af ond ager. Good corn is not reaped from a bad field.

The cow doesn't know the value of it's tail till it's gone

Danish sayings 29-35

Danish English
Koen veed ikke af, hvad hendes hale duer til, för hun har mistet den. The cow does not know the value of her tail till she has lost it.
Nöd bryder alle love. Necessity knows no law.
Ingen kommer i skaden, uden han selv hielper til. No one gets into trouble without his own help.
Af falsk og svig vorder ingen riig. Deceit and treachery make no man rich.
Den der ikke sparer paa skillingen, faaer aldrig daleren. He that does not save pennies, will never have pounds.
Ingen bliver greben paa det sted, hvor han ikke kommer. No one can be caught in places he does not visit.
Godt er at sidde ved styret i stille veir. It is easy to sit at the helm in fine weather.

Bake with the flour you have

Danish sayings 36-42

Danish English
Hvo der vil have godt af ilden maa taale rögen. He who would enjoy the fire must bear the smoke.
Jorden er altid frossen for utrevne sviin. The earth is always frozen to lazy swine.
Man faaer at bage af det meel man har. You must contrive to bake with the flour you have.
Bedre ægget i dag end hönen i morgen. Rather the egg to-day than the hen to-morrow.
Ene i raad, ene i sorg. Alone in counsel, alone in sorrow.
Tungen slides ei af gode ord. Kind words don’t wear out the tongue.
Aldrig er fugl saa liden, söger jo eget bo. A bird may be ever so small, it always seeks a nest of its own.

The wolf prays not in his own field

Danish sayings 43-49

Danish English
Hvo der vil binde for en andens mund, skal först snöre for sin egen. He who would close another man’s mouth, should first tie up his own.
Lovkiön og maler kan snart giöre hvidt til sort. Lawyers and painters can soon change white to black.
Avind kommer ikke i öde huus. Envy does not enter an empty house.
Nok er en stor rigdom. Enough is great riches.
En god dag skal man rose om aftenen. Praise a fair day in the evening.
Bedre er aaben fjende end hykle-ven. Better an open enemy than a false friend.
Ulv tager ei brad paa sin egen mark. The wolf preys not in his own field.

Beauty without virtue is like a rose without scent

Danish sayings 50-56

Danish English
Fagerhed uden tugt—rose uden lugt. Beauty without virtue is like a rose without scent.
Alting har en ende—uden pölsen, den har to. Everything has an end—except a sausage, which has two.
Skal lögnen troes, da maae den flikkes med sandhed. If lies are to find credence, they must be patched with truth.
Den er en giek sig selv roser, og en gal sig selv vil laste. He is a fool that praises himself, and he a madman that speaks ill of himself.
Enhver fugl har sine fieder behov. Every bird needs its own feathers.
Vare tanker tingsvidne, da blev mangen, ærlig mand til en skielm. If thoughts were legal witnesses, many an honest man would be proved a rogue.
Af liden gnist kommer ofte stor ild. A large fire often comes from a small spark.

Sheep that bleat the most produce the least milk

Danish sayings 57-63

Danish English
Bedre er et ord for, end ti ord efter. One word beforehand is better than ten afterwards.
Een er ikke ond fordi en anden er god. One man is not bad because another is good.
Alle ville længe leve, men ingen vil gammel hedde. All wish to live long, but none to be called old.
Den lade faaer ingen lön uden last. Blame is the lazy man’s wages.
Arbeide har en bitter rod, men söd smag. Labour has a bitter root, but a sweet taste.
Faar som bræge meest, malke mindst. The sheep that bleat the most give the least milk.
Ingen halter af andres skade. No man limps because another is hurt.

Marry a widow and children means marrying four thieves

Danish sayings 64-70

Danish English
Vad ikke over vand, hvor du ei seer bund. Do not wade where you see no bottom.
Lykken bær en mand over bækken, om han gider sprunget. Luck will carry a man across the brook if he is not too lazy to leap.
Den der tager en enke med tre börn, tager fire tyve. He who marries a widow with three children, marries four thieves.
Sygen löber til og kryber fra. Sickness comes in haste, and goes at leisure.
Var avind en feber, var al verden syg. If envy were a fever, all the world would be ill.
En villig hielper töver ei til man beder. A willing helper does not wait until he is asked.
Bedre er strax at nægte, end længe at love. Better to deny at once, than to promise long.

If you’re interested in reading some more Danish-language content, check out Danish Poems And Rhymes For Children (With English Translations).