Published June 23, 2018
The word of the issue is rangstæð (or rangstæður, when referring to men), which means “offside.” The beauty of this word is that the word itself explains the offside rule. It literally means “wrong sided” or “wrongly placed.” This is a really concise and descriptive way to explain the offside rule: if your team is trying to get the ball up the field, then you can’t be past the last person defending when one of your teammates kicks the ball, or you are “wrongly placed:” i.e., rangstæður. This might be why very few Icelanders are confused by the offside rule, while in the English-speaking world this can often take some explaining. Icelandic is not always known for precision, but this word is a great example of when it happens, which is why rangstæð/ur is the word of the issue.