Strange Swedish words

Swedish words

It has been said that the Swedish language is a poor language, especially when compared to English. However, in an informal survey on Facebook, I asked people for their favourite word that existed in Swedish but not in English, and I got very many fun suggestions. Here come a few of the highlights:

Sladdbarn – a child to the same parents many years after the birth of their brothers and sisters – usually as a surprise – but proof that the sexual activity of Swedes does not stop at 40
Fredagsmys – a cosy time on Fridays when Swedish families get together and eat pizza or tacos and watch the TV – and usually fall asleep
Lagom – a concept that filters through Swedish socíety and behaviour – roughly translated as ‘average, moderate, just enough, not too much’. Others translate it as ‘mediocre’
Lurifax – a sly trickster that you can’t trust (yes, they do exist even in Sweden)
Sol och vårare – a person who pretends the future is bright but actually is a confidence trixter who will then trick a person out of, for example, their kronor
Fika – the cultural process of having a coffee and cake with friends at work, at home or out on the town. One of many Swede’s favourite pass times
Möbeltass – a cotton padding that you put under the legs of furniture to stop them from damaging the floor. Directly translated as ‘furniture paw’. A necessity in the country of wooden floors and IKEA.
Julgransplundring – the event at which you dance around a whithered Christmas tree, undecorate it and then throw it out. Often aimlessly onto the street where it stays until mid March.
Jajamensan – a very jolly way of agreeing emphatically
Orka – a word commonly used by Swedish teenagers to mean that they do not have the energy to do anything, such as getout of bed, or clean up after themselves
Curlingföräldrar – a name to describe parents of the above teenagers who put no demands on them and do everything to make their lives easy

Any other words that you can suggest?

One thought on “Strange Swedish words

  1. Not sure about the supremecy of the *word* over the *phrase* – i.e. why curlingföräldrar is any different to “helicopter parents” or “cotton-wool parents” . It’s just happens that Swedish is a synthetic language and English isn’t. It’s more intersting to look at words that reflect the culture (sladdbarn etc) or that lack a true linguistic equivalent (like “ju”). I think.

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