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The 18 Funniest Swedish Expressions (and How to Use Them)

Sweden Languages
by Madelaine Triebe Dec 18, 2016

Swedish is one of the easiest language for English speakers to learn. But you don’t have to be fluent to use some classic Swedish expressions. Not all of these are appropriate in a polite conversation, but they’re sure to make you look like you belong.

1. A Swede is not “ahead of the game,” they “lie in the front edge”: Ligger i framkant.

2. A Swede is not “dressed to the nines,” they are “dressed up to their teeth”: Klädd up till tänderna.

Swedish expressions for drinking

3. A Swede is not “wasted,” they are “round under their feet”: Rund under fötterna.

4. Alternatively, a Swede isn’t “drunk,” they are “on the cinnamon”: På kanelen.

5. A Swede is not “hungover,” their “hair hurts”: Ont i håret.

Swedish expressions for managing conflict

6. A Swede doesn’t tell someone to “take a hike,” they tell them to “throw themselves in the wall”: Släng dig i väggen.

7. A Swede doesn’t “beat around the bush,” they “walk like the cat around hot porridge”: Gå som katten kring het gröt.

8. A Swede doesn’t tell you to “chill,” they ask you to “bring your spikes down”: Tagga ned.

9. A Swede doesn’t say “no worries” if everything is alright, they tell you there’s “no cow on the ice”: Ingen ko på isen.

10. Alternatively, a Swede doesn’t say everything if fine, they tell you there is “no danger on the roof”: Ingen fara på taket.

11. A Swede does not say that you’re “stuck in an awkward situation,” they say that you “sit with your beard in the mailbox”: Sitta med skägget i brevlådan.

12. A Swede doesn’t “fight until the end,” they fight “all the way into the tile”: Ända in i kaklet.

13. A Swede doesn’t say “you’re crazy,” they say you “don’t have all the hens at home”: Alla höns hemma.

14. Alternatively, a Swede doesn’t say “you’re crazy,” they say you “don’t have all your horses in the stable”: Inte alla hästar i stallet.

15. A Swede doesn’t “seek revenge,” they “give back for old cheese.” Ge tillbaka för gammal ost.

16. A Swede doesn’t “take a look” at something, they “throw an eye” on something: Slå ett öga på.

17. A Swede is not “raging mad,” they are “forest crazy”: Skogstokig.

18. A Swede doesn’t “act suspicious,” they “don’t have clean flour in their bag”: Inte ha rent mjöl i påsen.

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