Thorbjørntjeneste, literally "Thorbjørn service", is a Norwegian word meaning disservice. It derived from the name Thorbjørn (a double name consisting of the names Thor (meaning thunder) and Bjørn (meaning bear)) and from the term bjørnetjeneste (cognate to German Bärendienst, literally "bear service"), a common metaphor used in northern, central and eastern Europe, which means to, with the best of intentions, do more harm than good, or to set out to help someone and actually end up doing harm to that person. The word thorbjørntjeneste was coined in 2009, and refers to Thorbjørn Jagland, a much ridiculed Norwegian politician who was described as a fool by the Australian foreign minister, awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama for Obama's speeches and good intentions and in order to "help" him. Obama was nominated for the prize 11 days after he was sworn in as President. The award was widely described as an embarassment to Obama by the world press. The term thorbjørntjeneste or Thorbjørn service is related to the verb "thorbjorning" (or "thorbjørning" in Norwegian), coined by New York Times columnist Yoni Brenner.
She did him a Thorbjorn service (=she did him a disservice). Norwegian: Hun gjorde ham en thorbjørntjeneste.
by Faller FFF December 10, 2009