Bondegård | means farm in Norwegian | Norway

Bondegård is a Norwegian noun that means farm. In informal speech and in many dialects, people only use the single word gård or gard.
Old bondegård - farm - in Rosendal, Kvinnherad, Hordaland, Norway. | Photo: Normanns kunstforlag cc pdm.
Old bondegård - farm - in Rosendal, Kvinnherad, Hordaland, Norway. | Photo: Normanns kunstforlag cc pdm.

Pronunciation

Bondegård – gård – gard

The grammar

A compound word made up of: bonde + gård | noun | masculine | the indefinite form: en bondegård (a bondegård) | the definite form: bondegården (the bondegård) | the d at the end is silent – and in some dialects, the rd is pronounced as a thick l.

What does the word mean?

Bonde: means farmer, comes from the Old Norse language with the meaning: a person with a fixed abode – a person living in one place.
Gård or gard: means in this context fenced-in land used for cultivation or animal husbandry. The word also has other meanings, see below.
Bondegård: a farm.

The word gård – or gard – is also used in other contexts, but then usually with a prefix or a suffix, for example in kirkegård=churchyard, bakgård=backyard, bygård=apartment block/building, hønsegård=enclosed chicken enclosure, skjærgård=archipelago etc.

Similar or related words

Bruk: the word bruk is sometimes used when referring to a farm, but do also have other meanings. We see it used in the word småbruk, which means smallholding or small farm.

More on the historical context

Stone age farmers

The first humans that came to the Norwegian landscape after the latest ice-age, some 10-15,000 years ago, were hunters, fishers, and gatherers. Around 2400 BC, a section of the population took up farming, and created more permanent settlements; they established bondegårder=farms.

A farm’s name

In writing – or when referring to a particular farm – the word gård is also often added after the farm’s name, for example as in Østre Øre Gård.

Urban family house

Bergliot Dahlmann (1918-2003), who grew up in the small town of Moss in south-eastern Norway, used the word gård when referring to a regular urban family house.

Sources: Nasjonalbiblioteket nb.no | Einar Haugen’s Norwegian-English dictionary | Det Norske Akademis ordbok | Bokmålsordboka and Nynorskordboka.

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