Level A1
To talk about time in Icelandic, you talk about the clock:
  • Hvað er klukkan? = What is the clock?
  • Klukkan er tvö. = The clock is two.
  • Ég kem klukkan tvö. = I will come at two o’clock.
Note that the word klukka is feminine but the number is neuter . This is a very illogical, since in all other situations the gender of the number has to be the same as the gender of the noun.[a]


In English, 09:30 is “half past nine” but in Icelandic it is “half ten”, which may be confusing at first.
  • 11:30 – hálf tólf
  • 07:30 – hálf átta
  • 04:30 – hálf fimm
  • 09:30 – hálf tíu

Minutes and quarters

For everything else, there is “yfir” and “í”.
  • 12:15 – korter yfir tólf
  • 12:05 – fimm mínútur yfir tólf
  • 11:55 – fimm mínútur í tólf
  • 11:45 – korter í tólf


Iceland does not use AM/PM, instead time is written in a 24 hour format[b] but spoken about in “during the day/evening/night/morning”.
Written IcelandicSpoken Icelandic
Klukkan var 02:00 þegar hann vaknaði.Klukkan var tvö um nótt þegar hann vaknaði
Ég legg af stað 05:30.Ég legg af stað hálf sex um morgun.
Klukkan 19:00.Klukkan sjö um kvöld.

Very uncommon ways to talk about time

Level C1
You do not need to know the following words, but you might hear them in formal speech:
  • vantar (“is lacking”) – This is common to hear on the radio, but not in normal speech.
    • Klukkuna vantar fimm mínútur í tvö. = It is five minutes to two.
      • In normal speech you would say Klukkan er fimm mínútur í tvö.
  • ganga (“to walk”) – This is sometimes used by older speakers.
    • Klukkan er að ganga tvö. = The time is anywhere between 01:01 and 01:59.