Norwegian expression of the day: Morgenstund har gull i munn

Norwegian expression of the day: Morgenstund har gull i munn
It pays to get up early. Photo by Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
Did you wake up early to be the very first in line to get tickets to your favourite music festival? Morgenstund har gull i munn!

Why do I need to know this?

Popular Norwegian expressions that don’t make sense when translated to English or to your native language can leave you quickly lost in a conversation. Avoiding the confusion by understanding what the phrase means, instead of direct translation, will save you loads of time scratching your head in bewilderment. 

What does it mean? 

Directly translated to English, morgenstund har gull i munn means, “morning time is gold in the mouth”. In English, the often used expression, “the early bird catches the worm” is a synonym expression. It means if you get up early, you have more time, you get more work done, and in turn, you get the gull, or “rewards”.

So one who arrives or starts the earliest has the best chances of success.

Originally, the expression was known as “morgenstund har gull i mund”. Mund is an old Norse word for “hand”. It makes more sense with the original saying. If you start your day earlier, then you can work more, which means you get more gold, or payment, in your hand.  

How do I use it?

You can use this expression in the same way you would use “the early bird catches the worm” in English. 

You might hear your boss say it to his/her employees in an effort to encourage them to come into the office earlier.

You can say it as a way of explaining to a friend or colleague why you’re up so early.

You might also see it on a sign outside a cafe or restaurant used as an advertisement for an early morning deal.


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