views updated May 29 2018

DANISH. A GERMANIC LANGUAGE spoken in Denmark, in parts of Schleswig (North Germany), and mostly as a second language in Greenland and the Faroe Islands. It has been historically influential on ENGLISH and NORWEGIAN. In the 9–11c, Old Danish (NORSE) was used extensively in England, especially in the DANELAW. Danish influence survives in the general vocabulary of English (such as the sk- words sky, skill, skin, skirt, scrape, scrub) and the dialect vocabulary of northern England and Scotland (gate/gait a road, sark a shirt), as well as in the unusual feature that the words they, their, them, though, both are all Norse. Danish place-names are common in the Danelaw, especially those ending in -by (farm, town), such as Grimsby, Whitby. See BORROWING, SCANDINAVIAN LANGUAGES.


views updated May 17 2018

Dan·ish / ˈdānish/ • adj. of or relating to Denmark or its people or language.• n. 1. the North Germanic language of Denmark, which is also the official language of Greenland and the Faeroes.2. [as pl. n.] (the Danish) the people of Denmark.3. inf. short for Danish pastry.