From Iceland — Word Of The Issue: Örlagabytta

Word Of The Issue: Örlagabytta

Word Of The Issue: Örlagabytta

Published September 8, 2017

One of the things Icelanders do better than most is alcoholism, which is probably why we have 300 words for drunks. While the availability of good words is extensive, one word beats them all–örlagabytta. It is poetic, magical and laced with Brennivín. Literally it translates as “destiny drunk,” so it gives perfect insight into a society built on Christianity, drunkenness and misery. The idea of destiny is also a nice way of absolving the dipsomaniac of the responsibility for his sorry state. How can you sober up if it’s your destiny to be drunk?   

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