How to swear (a little bit)
Look, it’s not our job to educate you on the worst swear words. That simply isn’t a nice thing to do. We do live in Britain, after all, where swearing is frowned upon. So, we’ve made a little handy list of the most common, less offensive ways to adding bad Scandi words to your everyday life, if this is what you’re after.
You can start with these and then move on to the strong stuff, if you so fancy. These words are, by and large, relatively safe to attempt and will bring giggles from your attempts in our native languages, rather than a slap in the face. We hope.
- Add ‘shit’ in front of everything – the word is ‘skide’ (soft d). Anything you add ‘skide’ in front of becomes negative. Skide-work, skide-cleaning, skide-everything. Although if you add skide in front of the word ‘godt’ it means shitty-good, which is a really positive thing.
- Satan. The devil. ‘For Satan’ means for the devil. It’s okay to say this in front of grandma, she probably does that, too. Sentence: Aj, for Satan, hvorfor blew Trump president? (‘For the devil, how did Trump become president’?). You can also use ‘for fanden’ which means the same but it’s a nicer word to say ‘devil’ than using the name Satan. If you want to be really nice about it, replace Satan with ‘Søren’ which is a guy’s name. Poor Søren.
- Kraftedeme. This is a baddie that you shouldn’t really use because it literally means ‘cancer eat me’ – it’s awful to say such a thing, so people don’t. Except they do when they forget what it really means, because its such an old saying that people don’t always remember. Used to emphasise a point, as it ‘I kraftedeme don’t want to go to work to day’. People have mostly forgotten the origin of the word, so anyone who does use it likely won’t link it to illness.
- Pis. This just means ‘piss’. Everything can be ‘pis’. Just used on it’s own. ‘Argh, I missed the re-run of Eurovision on telly. Pis!’
- Rend mig i røven! – this basically means f*ck off. Literally, it means ‘run to my ass’ but it’s used as a way to say f*ck off.
It’s worth noting that for some reason, Danes (including people on Danish radio and also really young kids – even aged around 5-6) have adopted to swearing in English, using mainly the words f*ck and sh*t. This sounds incredibly rude to a British person, but to Danes, the words means very little so they carry on and dollop a good unhealthy dose of F*ck and Sh*t in their every day language. To most ex-pat Danes returning to Denmark after a few years in Blighty, this means there is a month long period of re-adjustment where they spend most of their time in toe-cringing situations when the guy at the local super market uses the word f*ck to describe being out of bacon flavoured crisps. It is entirely normal, though, to swear in English in Denmark.
Because it has no meaning in the Danish language, kids also swear at school, at home and to their grandmother – in English. They’d likely never do it in Danish, though.
You may encounter the expression “f*ck dig” which is the Danish way of saying ‘f*ck you’, except in a way that doesn’t really mean anything.
Yes, we know. Un-curl those toes now, it is perfectly normal.
- Fy flate (fy faen) – literally, for devil. Meaning shock/annoyed/angry expression (like English f*ck)
- Dra dit peppern gror (dra til helvete) – go to hell. You’re an idiot, go where the pepper grows.
- Helsikken (Helvete) – Similar to fy flate, shock/angry. ‘Helsikken heller, for en smorje!’ ‘Helsikken, what a mess!’ If you want someone to go to hell, which seems to be where most angry Norwegians send people, say Kjøss katta (kiss the katt, means go to hell) – mainly in northern parts of Norway. If you’re angry at someone up north, thell them to ‘Kiss the cat!’
- Søren klype (F*ck sake) – Søren (the name) is a change from Satan, like in Danish.
- Fy Farao – similar to fy flate – fuck.
- Fytti katta – A version of fy faen – Fytti (from fy, meaning bad/shame), the -tti added for emphasis or it could be for linguistic reasons, ending on -tti easier in many cases. Katta – the cat. So, here’s the cat again and this time he’s very bad. Similar to ‘f*ck’ – if your angry, ‘Fytti katta’.
All three languages have many similarities in their daily swearing and it is easy to see how connected we all are when you look at our less nice ways of saying things.
- Fan – the devil. Used all the time by Swedes. You may also hear Satan, which is stronger, but fan is everyday cursing. Is it bad? No, your boss might well use Fan. And your mother.
Helvete – hell. Again, quite a normal ‘nice’ swear word in Swedish, that just means ‘hell’. Add it together with ‘fan’, though and you have a stronger curse – För fan i helvete! – For the devil in hell! – which would be ‘You missed the bus? For the devil in hell, how annoying’. ‘Dra åt helvete!’ means ‘go to hell’.
Jävla – damn. Used in every day speak, it literally roots in ‘devil’, too. Yes, Scandinavians mainly swear about the devil, have you noticed? You can add jävla to everything. Jävla this and jävla that. Not too strong. It’s usually the only Swedish curse words the Danes will know so they will add it to say ‘Jävla Svenskar’ and mutter this under their breath when they encounter a drunk Swede in a bar in Copenhagen. It makes them feel like they speak fluent Swedish and that the message has been well and truly delivered (Yes, we know. Sigh. But Danes…) ‘Din jävla idiot!’ is more freely translated: ‘You stupid idiot!’
- Skit. This means sh*t. Exactly like the Danish ‘skid’, except in Swedish, Skid mean to ski and has nothing to do with sh*t, but it does confuse Danes when they go skiing in Sweden and there are signs for the Skidskola (sh*t-school), but that’s another story altogether. Just as in Danish, ‘skit’ can use use in front of any word to make it negative (skit också – sh*t too) etc – and if you add ‘bra’ – which means ‘good’ – in front, meaning ‘really great’ (lit: ‘shit-great’).
- Skitstövel: Lit. ‘shit-boot’. Offensive term used to describe a person, like “as*hole”, “f*cker”, or ‘bastard’.
- More specific words that are not nice include rövhul (asshole), kuk (c*ck), knullare (f*cker).
It’s worth mentioning that both Swedes and Norwegians will also use English curse words frequently, but no where near as frequent as the Danish use them.
And that concludes our short helpful curse guide. We accept no responsibility for people getting annoyed with you for swearing in our languages.