Swedish expressions: to shit in the blue cupboard

In Swedish, when you have landed yourself in trouble, or made a fool of yourself, you can use the delightful expression ‘shit in the blue cupboard’.

Example: ‘oh no, Edward really has shit in the blue cupboard now’.

So where does this originate? After some exploration, I have discovered what is recognised as the most likely explanation.

Centuries ago in Sweden, furniture was painted red and okra as this colour was cheap and easy to produce. Around the 1800’s new production methods enabled the production of blue paint – Berlin blue – and this was more expensive and seen as more exclusive. Consequently, people used this colour to paint the cupboard where they kept their finer pieces of porcelain, silver and linens.

In these times, the population used potties to go to the toilet in. Putting the potty into the blue cupboard, amongst the finer articles, was seen as a really stupid thing to do. And so the expression developed in relation to foolish acts.

2 thoughts on “Swedish expressions: to shit in the blue cupboard

  1. This phrase is more likely coined from Janne “Loffe” Carlsson, a very famous actor and musician ego famously said the phrase in “Göta kanal”. He has stated that his father used to used the phrase.

  2. Note that this expression is very strong. When someone has taken a shit in the blue cupboard, they have done something really, really bad, and they will forced to pay dearly. I use the expression a few times a year at the most.

    (And it’s fun trying to translate it for my foreign coworkers.)

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