Top Swedish Slang Words & Phrases

If we were to start a board on Pinterest for our favourite slang words and phrases, there would be a bit of a monopolisation by Swedish entries. Colourful, expressive, onomatopoeic: Sweden knows how to slang! Being spoilt for choice, we have cherry-picked some of our very favourites. Check them out!

Photo_1 (23)Learn Swedish slang and explore the beauty pictured above // Photo via Pixabay

Slang For Poorliness

Bakfylla/bakis – hungover

Kopparslagare – hungover with a serious headache

Snuvig – snuffly with a cold

Slang For Things You Are Doing

Tjuvitta – to ‘steal-look’, in other words, to look at something you aren’t supposed to

Längtan – longing

Slang For Types Of People

Sockergris – ‘sugar pig’, the equivalent of saying someone has a sweet tooth

Skvallercentral – a ‘gossipmonger’

Besserwisser – a know-it-all

Fingertoppskänsla – a person highly skilled at something, who can make decisions according to the feeling in their fingertips

Strålis – a person of law enforcement

Is i magen – ‘ice in the stomach’, the kind of person who keeps calm when all around is chaos

Het på gröten – ‘hot on the porridge’, this describes a person who can’t keep their hands off that freshly baked batch of cookies and eats them with hot fingers and a burning tongue.

Photo_3 (18)For those who are “hot on the porridge” (het på gröten) // Photo via Wikimedia

Slang For The Way People Look

Färgglad – ‘colour-happy’, it is usually used to describe someone who wears bright colours, and is also used to describe brightly-decorated places. This may relate to the fact that for the most part, Swedes have a somewhat neutral colour palette themselves.

Brun som en pepparkaka – ‘brown as a gingerbread cookie’, a cute way of saying someone has a very good tan.

Knullrufs – ‘bed’ hair

Slang Expressions

Sitta i knäet – ‘You can sit on my knee’, for example, if there are not enough chairs at a house party. Or you’re trying to make friends. You know.

För allt smör i Småland – ‘not for all the butter in Småland’, equivalent to ‘I wouldn’t do (insert statement here) for all the tea in China.’ 

Smaken är som baken—delad – Now this one is, how do we say, a little indelicate. It is equivalent to our ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, but a little less poetically. It literally translates as ‘taste is like a bum – divided.’ Make of that what you will.

Den är paj – ‘this is pie’, which normally for us would mean a good dinner was to be had. But in Sweden, this means that something is broken.

Our Favourite Miscellaneous Slang Words

Lagom – the middle way (everything in moderation)

Snapsvisor – drinking songs

Sökmotor – search engine

Nuna – face

Rundarkiv – wastebasket

Sjukt – incredibly/totally (as in, totally awesome)

Sambovikt – that ‘comfort’ weight you gain when you’re in a solid, stable relationship

Jon Blund – the sandman

Smaksinne – the sense of taste

See what we mean? Sweden’s rich slang vocabulary proves it’s an integral part of the Swedish language. Imagine how good the rest of it must sound! Perhaps a little survival phrases will pique your interest a little further. Why not take a look? And, since we’re sure you’ll love Swedish as much as we do, contact us and see what language courses we have available for you!