þegja þunnu hljóði

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From þegja (to be quiet, to be silent, to say nothing) + þunnu (with thin) the tækisþágufall (dative of instrument) of þunnur (thin) + hljóði (archaic meaning; with hearing) the tækisþágufall (dative of instrument) of hljóð (archaic meaning; hearing). Literally meaning "to be silent with a thin hearing" meaning "to be silent with an ear so thin that one can listen well".

The proverb is a reference to (quotation of) the seventh verse of the Hávamál, one of the books of the Poetic Edda.[1]


þegja þunnu hljóði

  1. to hold one’s tongue, to say nothing even though one is divided or not happy about something; to be silent even though one is unreconciled, but be still unreconciled; to keep a watchful silence; to listen in breathless stillness (confer the English open one’s big mouth and bend the truth)

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  1. 1.0 1.1 Icelandic Web of Science: Hvað þýðir að þegja þunnu hljóði og hvaðan er þetta orðatiltæki komið? (“What does þegja þunnu hljóði mean and whence does it originate?”)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Hávamál
  3. ^ HOVAMOL- The Ballad of the High One an English translation of Hávamál