Tag Archives: scandi humour

Great Scandinavian idioms

October 7, 2014 | 68 Comments

Great Scandinavian idioms is something we’ve been meaning to write about for ages. Thank you to all those who shared their favourite idiom on Facebook the other day – we laughed so hard we cried at some of these.

We also realised we frequently use some of the expressions and idioms when we’re speaking English in the shop – and no wonder people look at us as if we’re a bit weird when we say things like ‘no cows on the ice’.

Enjoy the list.

The Kitchen People

 

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‘Låtsas som att det regnar’ (Pretend that it’s raining) (Swedish)

Meaning: To act normally, so as not to attract any attention

 

Finns det hjärterum så finns det stjärterum (If there’s room in heart there’s room for the arse) (Swedish)

Meaning: Everybody can fit in here)

 

Skägget i brevlådan – Caught with your beard in the mailbox (Swedish)

Meaning: “To be caught with your pants down.”

 

Näytän sulle, mistä kana pissii  – Let me show you where a chicken pees from (Finnish)

Meaning ‘Let me show you how it’s done’.

 

At træde i spinaten –  “to step in the spinach” (Danish)

Meaning: To make a mistake

 

Jeg er kold i røven – I’m cold in the ass (Danish)

Meaning: I don’t care

 

Dra dit pepperen gror – Go where the pepper grows (Swedish)

Meaning: Go to hell.

 

Även små grytor har öron – even small saucepans have ears (Swedish)

Meaning: the kids might hear

Det ligger en hund begraven här” –  there is a dog buried here (Swedish)

Meaning: there’s something fishy going on.

 

 

Det blæser en halv pelican – Its blowing half a pelican (Danish)

Meaning: It’s really windy

 

Født bak en brunost –  born behind a brown cheese (Norwegian)

Meaning: the person is a bit slow

 

Hej hopp i blåbärsskogen! – Hello jump in the blueberry forest!

Meaning: A cheerful expression to be used when you are a bit surprised (Swedish)

 

Han har taget billeten – he has taken the ticket (Danish)

Meaning: He’s dead

 

Oma lehmä ojassa – Own cow in the ditch  (Finnish).

Meaning: Someone has an ulterior selfish motive behind an action

 

Nu har du skitit i det blå skåpet: Now you have shit in the blue cupboard (Swedish)

Meaning: When you really have made a fool out of yourself.

 

Att lägga lök på laxen – To put onion on the salmon (Swedish)

Meaning: To make things even worse…

 

Bæsje på leggen – poop on your calf (Norwegian)

Meaning: Make a mistake

 

Inte för allt smör i hela Småland – Not for all the butter in Småland (SW)

Meaning: Not for all the tea in China.

 

Å svelge noen kameler  – To swallow some camels (Norwegian)

Meaning: to give in

 

Ligeved og næsten slår ingen mand af hasten – almost and close doesn’t knock a man off his horse (Danish)

Meaning: Close, but no cigar

 

å være midt i smørøyet – To be in the middle of the butter melting in the porridge (Norwegian)

Meaning:  to be in a very favourable place or situation

 

kiertää kuin kissa kuumaa puuroa – To pace around hot porridge like a cat (Finnish)

Meaning: To beat about the bush

 

Under isen – meaning “Under the ice” (Swedish)
Meaning: feeling a bit depressed

 

At hoppe på limpinden – to jump on the Prittstick (Danish)

Meaning: To take the bait

 

Ingen fara på taket – no danger on the roof (Swedish)

Meaning: No worries

 

Han tog benene på nakken. He took his legs on the back of his neck (Danish)

Meaning: He hurried

 

Der er ingen ko på isen – There are no cows on the ice (Swedish, Danish)

Meaning: Nothing to worry about

 

Han har stillet træskoene – “He took off his clogs” (Danish).

Meaning: “He died”.

 

Du er helt ude og cycle – You’re completely out cycling (Danish)

Meaning: You’re completely wrong

 

Dra dit pepperen gror –  Go where the pepper grows (Swedish)

Meaning: Go to hell!

 

Du har virkeligt skudt papegøjen – you’ve really shot the parrot (Danish) Meaning:  You’ve been lucky

 

Ingenting att hänga i julgranen – Nothing to hang on the Christmas tree (Swedish)

Meaning: Not special enough

 

Han har roterende fis i kasketten –  He’s  got rotating crap in his cap (Danish)

Meaning: He’s not quite all there

 

Er det hestens fødselsdag? – Is it the horse’s birthday? (Danish)

Meaning: The rye bread is too thick on my open sandwich

 

Sånt är livet när kjolen är randig – That’s life when the skirt is striped (Swedish)

Meaning: Such is life

 

Jeg aner ugler I mosen – I suspect there are owls in the moss (Danish)

Something fishy going on

 

At være oppe på lakridserne – to be up on the liquorices (Danish)

Meaning to be very attentive or busy

 

 

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