10 very confusing Swedish words

In an earlier post, I wrote how Swedish can sometimes be very clear. To the point of literalness. There are also cases where Swedish is very unclear, where you’re not quite sure what is being said, or referred to. Here are 10 very confusing Swedish words:

  1. Himmel – in Swedish this is the word for heaven and also for sky. So which is being referred to?
  2. Trappa – Swedish sometimes doesn’t distinguish between inside and outside. This is the word for stairs and also for steps. So, take the ‘trappa’ can be confusing.
  3. Tak – likewise, this is the word for roof and also ceiling. So, what does fixing the ‘tak’ actually refer to?
  4. Man – the word for man, is also the word for husband. Confusing…is he married or just a man?
  5. Ben – is the word for leg and also for bone. So if you break your ‘ben’, what have you broken?
  6. Kudde – in Swedish is the same word for pillow and for cushion. So, tidy up the ‘kudde’ means which ones exactly?
  7. Låna – the word for borrow, and also for lend. So what exactly do you want to do? Give – or take?
  8. Tidning – Swedish uses the same word to describe a newspaper and a magazine. So, pass me the ‘tidning’ means which one exactly?
  9. Lov – in Swedish the same word is used for permission, promise, duty and praise. It’s just all round confusing.
  10. Nöt – the most confusing of all. I know from my personal experience in a restaurant. This is the word for nut, and also for beef. So is the food vegetarian or not? Trust me, it’s an easy mistake to make.

Know any other confusing Swedish words? Please share!

One thought on “10 very confusing Swedish words

  1. Man and ben used to be very confusing for me, and sometimes still are. As a Pole, I consider myself lucky with Swedish, because we too have just one word for himmel, kudde, låna and tidning, so somehow they’ve never caused any trouble for me.

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