There’s been a lot of news the past month about horsemeat (hrossakjöt) being found in food that isn’t supposed to have horse in it, mainly in European countries. Then there was a story from Iceland about meat pies being sold which had no meat at all in it. Icelandic horses are their own breed and raised for export around the world as prized show horses, but they are also eaten (I assume the ones who don’t learn the tölt properly). So let’s talk about horses and meat!

There are actually two words for horse in Icelandic:

hest/ur m (-s, -ar) – horse
singular plural
nom hestur hestar
acc hest hesta
dat hesti hestum
gen hests hesta

Some words derived from hestur:
hestbak – horseback
hesthús – stable

hross n (-, -) – horse
singular plural
nom hross hross
acc hross hross
dat hrossi hrossum
gen hross hrossa


When it comes to meat, we have:
hrossakjöt – horse
lambakjöt – lamb
nautakjöt – beef
svínakjöt – pork
fuglakjöt – poultry
hangikjöt – smoked meat (usually lamb)
kjúklingur – chicken

Most of these end with –kjöt which is only used in the singular:

kjöt n (-s) – meat
nom kjöt
acc kjöt
dat kjöti
gen kjöts

You may also encounter the word hakk, which means ground or minced meat, and can be used as a suffix the way kjöt is above.

Verði ykkur að góðu!