Norwegian: Fire

Grefsen

Senior Member
English - United States
While searching for a translation for the English word "fire" I've come across more than a half dozen different Norwegian words and suspect that there are probably even more.

Here's the definition of the English noun "fire" that I'd like a translation for:

"combustion or burning, in which substances combine chemically with oxygen from the air and typically give out bright light, heat, and smoke."

If I wanted to write the following sentence på norsk, would brann be the best norsk ord to use for "fire"?

The house was destroyed by fire.

Huset ble ødelagt av brann.

På forhånd takk og godt nyttår! :)
 
  • Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    While searching for a translation for the English word "fire" I've come across more than a half dozen different Norwegian words and suspect that there are probably even more.

    Here's the definition of the English noun "fire" that I'd like a translation for:

    "combustion or burning, in which substances combine chemically with oxygen from the air and typically give out bright light, heat, and smoke."

    If I wanted to write the following sentence på norsk, would brann be the best norsk ord to use for "fire"?

    The house was destroyed by fire.

    Huset ble ødelagt av brann.

    På forhånd takk og godt nyttår! :)
    As you have noticed yourself Norwegian has many words that translate the English word "fire", which actually covers many different concepts.
    In this case the most correct translation seems to be either "forbrenning" (a technical or scholarly word) or "ild" (colloquial).
    It will be possible to give a more precise answer if you supply a context.
    "Brann" means usually a disaster in which fire consumes goods and property (compare French "incendie").
     

    sjiraff

    Senior Member
    English
    Yeah brann seems to be like the disaster thing as Benjamin said, and it's used in things like "brannsår" or "huset er i brann". But I'm wondering, what exactly is the difference between ild and fyr (not as a lighthouse, et fyr)? I know you can say "å sette fyr på noe" but I'm not sure if you can say the same with ild?

    Godt nyttår alle sammen!
    happy new year everyone!
     
    Last edited:

    bicontinental

    Senior Member
    English (US), Danish, bilingual
    "Brann" means usually a disaster in which fire consumes goods and property (compare French "incendie").
    Happy New Year :)

    But this definition would seem to fit the OP perfectly, don´t you think? ("The house was destroyed by fire")
    Similar examples from a quick google search:

    14 hus i Munkegata og Enkeltskillingsveita ble ødelagt av brann.
    ...et område sør for Vår Frue kirke blir ødelagt av brann
    Et kvartal i Kvadraturen med 12-13 hus ødelagt av brann

    etc.

    Bic.
     

    Grefsen

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    As you have noticed yourself Norwegian has many words that translate the English word "fire", which actually covers many different concepts.
    In this case the most correct translation seems to be either "forbrenning" (a technical or scholarly word) or "ild" (colloquial).
    Tusen takk for svaret ditt Ben Jamin! :thumbsup:

    Actually forbrenning wasn't one of the words I came across while searching for a translation for "fire." Here are some of the English translations I did find for forbrenning:
    burn, burning, combustion, and incineration.


    I think it would be most helpful for me to understand when it is appropriate to use the Norwegian words ild, brann, og fyr to mean fire.
    It will be possible to give a more precise answer if you supply a context.

    "Brann" means usually a disaster in which fire consumes goods and property (compare French "incendie").urn, burning, combustion, and incineratio
    I was hoping that the example sentence I gave would supply enough context, but perhaps not. The destruction of a house is of course a disaster to those who lost their house and all of their property, so I'm wondering if it needs to be an even worse fire that destroys several homes or perhaps an entire apartment building before you would use the word brann?
     

    Grefsen

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    Happy New Year :)
    Godt Nyttår bicontinental! :)

    Beklager! I didn't see your reply until after I had finished writing my previous post.

    But this definition would seem to fit the OP perfectly, don´t you think? ("The house was destroyed by fire")
    Similar examples from a quick google search:

    14 hus i Munkegata og Enkeltskillingsveita ble ødelagt av brann.
    ...et område sør for Vår Frue kirke blir ødelagt av brann
    Et kvartal i Kvadraturen med 12-13 hus ødelagt av brann

    etc.

    Bic.
    Perhaps the difference is that in the examples you are citing there were as many as 14 houses destroyed compared to only a single house in my example.
    Yeah brann seems to be like the disaster thing as Benjamin said, and it's used in things like "brannsår" or "huset er i brann".
    Also sjiraff mentions brannsår (burn injury) so I'm wondering if the use of brann is reserved for situations when multiple structures are destroyed and/or there are injuries and perhaps even deaths caused by the fire. :confused:

    But I'm wondering, what exactly is the difference between ild and fyr (not as a lighthouse, et fyr)? I know you can say "å sette fyr på noe" but I'm not sure if you can say the same with ild?
    I would also like to know this too since several of the engelsk-norsk dictionaries that I checked gave, brann, ild og fyr as possible translations for "fire." :confused:

    Godt nyttår alle sammen!
    Godt nyttår til deg også sjiraff! :)
    Jeg setter pris på alle de gode innlegg du har skrevet i løpet av det siste året. :thumbsup:
     
    Last edited:

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Tusen takk for svaret ditt Ben Jamin! :thumbsup:

    Actually forbrenning wasn't one of the words I came across while searching for a translation for "fire." Here are some of the English translations I did find for forbrenning:
    burn, burning, combustion, and incineration.


    I think it would be most helpful for me to understand when it is appropriate to use the Norwegian words ild, brann, og fyr to mean fire.
    I was hoping that the example sentence I gave would supply enough context, but perhaps not. The destruction of a house is of course a disaster to those who lost their house and all of their property, so I'm wondering if it needs to be an even worse
    fire that destroys several homes or perhaps an entire apartment building before you would use the word brann?

    The word "brann" means actually a unwanted and often uncontrolled burning of anything, and of any size. You can have a "brann" in a casserole while cooking with much fat, and you have a "brann" when a whole city is on fire. The literal/original meaning of the word is "burning"/"fire", but in contemporary Scandinavian has narrowed the meaning
    to the definition above. That's why "brannsår" means "a wound caused by fire", not only by "brann" in the "incendie" meaning.
    I used "forbrenning" to translate your definition of the chemical process, whose scholarly name in English is "combustion", but the colloquial name is just "fire" in English" and "ild" in Norwegian. Interestingly, the formal/old fashioned Norwegian word for "incendie" is "ildebrann", which is a duplication of the meaning (ild and brann both meaning the same).
    "Fyr" which is a cognate of "fire" (and Greek "pyr") has a narrowed use in Norwegian nowadays. It can mean the fire
    lit on elevated places to guide ships in old times, now "a lighthouse". It can also mean a fire to lit up a cigarette. The verb "å fyre" can mean: to lit a fire, to heat with a fuel, or to shoot a firearm.


    By the way, English lacks an important word to disinguish between "ild" and "brann". I had too use a French word as an intermediary.
     
    Last edited:

    raumar

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    We may need one more Norwegian translation of "fire" to make this complete: bål.

    Et bål is nice and under control, for example a camp fire or a bonfire.

    If a fire is out of control, it becomes en brann - as Ben Jamin has explained.

    If I wanted to write the following sentence på norsk, would brann be the best norsk ord to use for "fire"?
    The house was destroyed by fire.
    Huset ble ødelagt av brann.
    So the answer to Grefsen's question is yes - that's correct. Alternatively: Huset ble ødelagt i en brann (... in a fire).

    Ild is often used in a more abstract sense than bål and brann. For example, as one of the elements water, earth, wind and fire - here it must be ild. When ild is used in a more concrete way, the translation is sometimes "flame" rather than "fire". For example den olympiske ild - "the Olympic flame".

    Ben Jamin has explained some of the uses of fyr. In addition, it is much used in some expressions, such as sette fyr på "set on fire" and ta fyr "catch fire". But if you see something burning, you can't call it a fyr - it has to be en brann, en ild or et bål. Or en flamme.

    I know you can say "å sette fyr på noe" but I'm not sure if you can say the same with ild?
    The usual expression is sette fyr på. You can also say sette ild på, but that sounds more formal or old-fashioned (if you google "sette ild på", you'll see that many of the hits are Bible texts).

    Godt nytt år til dere også!
     
    Last edited:

    AutumnOwl

    Senior Member
    -
    Swedish
    The usual expression is sette fyr på. You can also say sette ild på, but that sounds more formal or old-fashioned (if you google "sette ild på", you'll see that many of the hits are Bible texts).
    As Swedish also has the words eld, fyr, bål and brand, so how would you say in Norwegian: Pojken tände en eld i den öppna spisen.
     

    Grefsen

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    I like måte Grefsen! :thumbsup:
    Tusen takk! Det var veldig snilt av deg. :)

    The word "brann" means actually an unwanted and often uncontrolled burning of anything, and of any size. You can have a "brann" in a casserole while cooking with (too) much fat, and you have a "brann" when a whole city is on fire.
    Thank you for this very good explanation of the meaning of the word brann.
    :thumbsup:
    The literal/original meaning of the word is "burning"/"fire", but in contemporary Scandinavian has narrowed the meaning
    to the definition above. That's why "brannsår" means "a wound caused by fire", not only by "brann" in the "incendie" meaning.
    Now it makes sense to me why the Norwegian word for a fire engine is brannbil and for a fireman it's brannmann.
     
    Last edited:

    raumar

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    As Swedish also has the words eld, fyr, bål and brand, so how would you say in Norwegian: Pojken tände en eld i den öppna spisen.
    I suppose this would be "The boy lit a fire in the fireplace" in English? The most natural way to express this in Norwegian would be without the noun "fire":

    Gutten tente opp i peisen., or
    Gutten fyrte opp i peisen.

    There are other alternatives, such as:

    Gutten gjorde opp ild i peisen.
    (without the article - ild is uncountable here).

    A direct translation of your Swedish text would not work. "Å tenne en ild" is mainly used figuratively, and would be too pompous for this context.

    If the question is which translation of "fire" Norwegians would use to describe a fire in a fireplace, both "bål" and "ild" can be used. I would prefer "bål", but it is possible to say both "et peisbål" and "en peisild".
     

    Grefsen

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    Godt nytt år til dere også!
    Godt nytt år raumar! :)

    Jeg setter pris på alt av nyttig informasjon du har skrevet om de norske ordene bål, ild, og fyr. :thumbsup:

    Tusen takk for det! :)

    I suppose this would be "The boy lit a fire in the fireplace" in English?
    I just thought I would add that this English translation sounds very natural to me.
    The most natural way to express this in Norwegian would be without the noun "fire":

    Gutten tente opp i peisen., or
    Gutten fyrte opp i peisen.
    I just looked up the verbs "å tenne" and "å fyre" in the Lexin and Tritrans online dictionaries and here are the translations I found:

    tenne: ignite, light, strike, kindle, & turn on

    fyre: light a fire, fire up

    Would you please explain a little more about why opp is used in your translations?

    På forhånd takk!
     
    Last edited:

    raumar

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    I just looked up the verbs "å tenne" and "å fyre" in the Lexin and Tritrans online dictionaries and here are the translations I found:

    tenne: ignite, light, strike, kindle, & turn on
    fyre: light a fire, fire up

    Would you please explain a little more about why opp is used in your translations?
    I can at least try. Your dictionary translation of "fyre" seems to be inaccurate, at least when we talk about fires in fireplaces and stoves. "Fyre opp i ovnen" means to light a fire in the stove, "fyre i ovnen" without "opp" means to have/keep a fire burning in the stove. For example: "Jeg har fyrt i ovnen i hele dag."

    You can also use "fyre" to describe the kind of heating you have in your home. For example "Jeg fyrer med strøm, men i tillegg fyrer jeg med ved når det er kaldt".

    Regarding tenne vs tenne opp. In this case your dictionary translation is correct. Still, we say "tenne et bål", but "tenne opp i peisen". I don't know why, maybe some others can explain it?
     

    bicontinental

    Senior Member
    English (US), Danish, bilingual
    Regarding tenne vs tenne opp. In this case your dictionary translation is correct. Still, we say "tenne et bål", but "tenne opp i peisen". I don't know why, maybe some others can explain it?
    This verbal phrase is identical to the Danish tænde op i pejsen, hence my comment :)
    I just see this as an example of how some combined verbs (sammensatte verber in Danish) have different meanings depending on the position of the preposition e.g. tænde op vs. optænde.
    Optænde is used only in figurative speech in contemporary Danish and means to elicit or evoke something e.g. a feeling of anger; more archaic definitions, however, include antænde, tænde ild i (to light a fire). http://ordnet.dk/ods/ordbog?query=optænde, like the modern meaning of the intransitive form “tænde op.” Another preposition may be added (tænde op i pejsen, tænde op under kedlen)
    In some cases the meaning of combined verbs may change completely if the preposition is separated from the verb , fx. ombringe (to kill) vs. bringe om (to deliver...mail).
    More about this here (article in Danish): http://sproget.dk/raad-og-regler/artikler-mv/sprogligt-politikens-sprogklumme/10-oktober-2007/lost-og-fast-om-sammensetninger/?exact_terms=sammensatte,verber,løst,fast&inexact_terms=sammensæt,sammensættende,sammensat,sammensætte,sammensattes,sammensættendes,sammensættes,sammensætter,sammensats,verbers,verbums,verberne,verbets,verbet,verbum,verbernes,løsests,løs,løsere,løsendes,løser,løstes,løsestes,løses,løsts,løste,løse,løseste,løsende,løsest,løseres,fastestes,fastes,faster,fastende,fasts,fastere,fastests,fastendes,fastets,fastet,fastest,fastedes,fasteste,fastede,faste,fasteres

    Bic.

    Edit: Tænde et bål is of course a transitive verbal construction, to light a fire.
     
    Last edited:

    raumar

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    Thanks for the information, Bic!

    Let me just add that Norwegian does not have the verb "opptenne". "Opp" is only placed before "tenne" in the noun "opptenningsved" (kindling wood), but that is of course a very different meaning from the Danish "optænde".
     

    Grefsen

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    I can at least try. Your dictionary translation of "fyre" seems to be inaccurate, at least when we talk about fires in fireplaces and stoves. "Fyre opp i ovnen" means to light a fire in the stove, "fyre i ovnen" without "opp" means to have/keep a fire burning in the stove. For example: "Jeg har fyrt i ovnen i hele dag."
    Tusen takk for forklaringen! :thumbsup:
    Optænde is used only in figurative speech in contemporary Danish and means to elicit or evoke something e.g. a feeling of anger; more archaic definitions, however, include antænde, tænde ild i (to light a fire).
    While searching for a translation for the verb å tenne, I also came across the verb å antenne in the Lexin dictionary:
    antenne

    verb

    engelsk: ignite, set fire to

    bøyning [antenner antente antent]

    forklaring: sette fyr på

    eksempel: antenne en lunte

    engelsk: light a fuse
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top