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björntjänst, the helpful bear illustrated by Gustave Doré
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björn (bear) +‎ tjänst (service, favor), used since 1891. Compare Danish bjørnetjeneste, German Bärendienst, and similar forms in other languages. From a French fable (L’Ours et l’Amateur des jardins by Jean de La Fontaine) in which a tame bear wants to do his master a favor by hitting the fly who sat down on the master's forehead, but hits the fly so hard that the master too is killed.


björntjänst c

  1. a disservice, a mistaken kindness, a misguided helpfulness, an attempted favor which turns out to be detrimental, or at least causes more damage than it helps
    I alla händelser är det uppenbart, att man gör de människor som nu tillhöra jordbruksbefolkningen samt deras barn en björntjänst genom att tvinga dem att förbli jordbruksbefolkning, om de kunna få bättre villkor i andra sysselsättningar.
    In any case it is obvious, that we will do those people who now belong to the peasantry and their children a disservice by forcing them to to remain peasants, if they could get better conditions in other occupations.


Declension of björntjänst 
Singular Plural
Indefinite Definite Indefinite Definite
Nominative björntjänst björntjänsten björntjänster björntjänsterna
Genitive björntjänsts björntjänstens björntjänsters björntjänsternas