Top 10 English words borrowed from Swedish

Yesterday I wrote about the word quisling, meaning traitor, which is used in English but is actually borrowed from Norwegian. This made me curious about what English words are borrowed from the Swedish language.

After a little research, here are the top 10 (in alphabetical order):

  • 1. Angstrom, the measurement, after the Swedish scientist Anders Jonas Ångström
  • 2. Celcius – the international measure of temperatures – is named after Swedish scientist Anders Celcius.
  • 3. Gauntlet (as in ‘run the gauntlet’) – from the Swedish word gatlopp
  • 4. Gravlax, marinated salmon, from the Swedish gravad lax
  • 5. Moped – Swedish shortening of trampcykel med motor och pedaler (“engined bike with motor and pedals”)
  • 6. Ombudsman – a person who acts as a trusted intermediary between an organization and some internal or external constituency.
  • 7. Orienteering – from orientering
  • 8. Rutabaga – the root vegetable, (from Swedish dialectal word rotabagge)
  • 9. Smorgasbord – from the Swedish smörgåsbord, (literally “sandwich table”), which in Swedish either refers to a buffet with very specific types of food, or is used as a metaphor
  • 10. Tungsten, literally “heavy stone”
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