Uekte – ekte | means illegitimate and legitimate in Norwegian | Norway

Uekte and ekte are Norwegian adjectives that in one context means illegitimate and legitimate - as in a child born outside or inside a marriage.
Uekte - ekte | Illustration: LA Dahlmann cc pdm.
Uekte - ekte | Illustration: LA Dahlmann cc pdm.

Pronunciation

Uekte – ekte

The grammar

Adjective.

What does the word mean?

Uekte: means in this context illegitimate. The word can also mean false, fake, imitation, not authentic or genuine, insincere. The spelling of the word in old records is often uægte.
Ekte: means in this context legitimate. The word can also mean genuine, real, true. It can also be a verb, meaning to marry – å ekte. The spelling of the word in old records is often ægte.

Similar or related words

Født utenfor ekteskap = uekte = born out of wedlock.

More on the historical context

Old birth records

In the old Norwegian birth records, you will normally find one specific word recorded next to the name of every new-born child: uekte – or – ekte. This indicates whether the child was born outside or inside a marriage. To rub it in, the registrar, often the local priest, usually underlined the word uekte.

A patriarchal society

Like in many cultures around the world, the historical Norwegian society and family-structure was patriarchal. Unless the father of a child born out of wedlock, or his family, specifically acknowledged the child as his, the child was seen as being a member of the mother’s clan, ætt. This was particularly true during the pre-Christian era, prior to the turn of the second millennium AC. With the Christian church came a much more dogmatic stance on social behaviour and control.

Mother and child faced the stigma

In the Christian era, both the mother of a child born out of wedlock, and her offspring, often experienced a harsh reaction from both her own family, the church, the local authorities, and the community in general. This type of stigma continued well into our own time. The father, strangely enough, paid much less of a social price, if any at all.

Not all fathers were bad

In fairness, it should be noted that many fathers, his family, and the mother’s family, did good by the uekte children and gave them kindness, land, and resources to help them on their way through life. But it was not until 1915, that Norwegian children born out of wedlock got the legal right to inherit their fathers.

Some emigrated from social limitations

Between the mid-1800s and the early 1900s, more than 750,000 people left Norway to emigrate, predominantly to North America. Many emigrated to escape poverty in the then overcrowded social structure of the old Norwegian farming society. But some also emigrated to start afresh, away from social stigma and limitations.

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

Our most recent posts
Norway time
The Kingdom of Norway
Neither the great Atlantic Ocean nor time or social conventions could separate a love that was meant to be.
In the year AD 1537, King Christian 3 of Denmark-Norway embraced the Lutheran Reformation, and the Norwegians went from being Catholics to Protestants. The king confiscated the Catholic Church’s considerable wealth, a welcomed addition to the royal coffers. Norway more or less ceased to exist as a sovereign state and became a province under Denmark.
Åre is a Norwegian noun that means an open fireplace, placed on the floor in the middle of a room. The smoke goes up and out through a vent in the roof - the ljore.
Bondegård is a Norwegian noun that means farm. In informal speech and in many dialects, people only use the single word gård or gard.
After the Black Death, it took the Norwegian communities centuries to recover. And soon, the country would also lose its independence.
17 May 1814 is regarded as the birth of the modern-day Norwegian state. But it took almost another hundred years before the Norwegians could declare complete independence.
The Norwegian landscape is wild and beautiful. And it is a lot more than just fjords and mountains.
Some vintage photos - and more to come.
In Scandinavia, agriculture first appeared in the Stone age – around 2400 BC. The early farmers cleared their land by using simple tools and fire.
The traditional Norwegians are drawn to their cabins, whether it be in the mountains, in the forest, or by the sea. Some would say that they are a people obsessed.
Skjemat is a Norwegian noun that means food eaten with a spoon - often before or after the main course at dinner. It could be porridge, soup, dessert, and more.
From the early 1800s and well into the 1900s, Norway was a significant exporter of natural ice. But how did they prevent the ice from melting?
For the old Norwegians, making butter was simply a way of preserving the fresh summer milk - turning it into a type of food that could be stored.
In this period, Norway was still primarily a nation of farmers, fishermen and hunters. In AD 1801, 90% of the population lived in rural areas.
Do you have trouble sleeping? Here are some examples of how the old Norwegians used Mother Nature’s very own remedies to cure their ailments.
For more than a thousand years, Norwegian farmers sent their livestock to feed in the forests and the mountains. Today, this way of life has almost disappeared.
In Norway, the pizza appeared as an exotic newcomer in the 1970s. But bread topped with foodstuffs is nothing new in Norwegian food history.
Bergen is Norway's second-largest city and one of the country's oldest urban locations. The first post-viking king, Olav Kyrre, gave it market-town-status around AD 1070.
Magne Løvstuen and his family adopted this moose calf after saving it from drowning in Lake Mjøsa.
Langfjordbotn - in Norway’s northernmost region Finnmark - was the birthplace of Oluf Røde, born in 1889.
With this old photograph in my hand I have set myself a task: how much information can I find in Norwegian online archives based on what the photo tells me?

Follow us on social media