• Sweden's news in English

Sluts, sex and farts - welcome to Swedish

The Local · 20 Apr 2012, 14:24

Published: 20 Apr 2012 14:24 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

An English speaker recently visited us in Stockholm, and found great amusement in pointing out all the funny looking words.

Yes, here in Sweden, most people don’t even raise an eyebrow when a train pulls into a “slut station” (final station). Nor when a magazine might offer “sex tips” for a better office environment (that is, six tips).

And when a road sign points out there is a “fart hinder” ahead, it just means speed bump (however the image above can always bring a smile).

Click here for The Local's list

Anyhow, these fresh eyes got us thinking. Sure, the Swedish language has some strange words from the perspective of an English speaker.

But even stranger, perhaps, are those Swedish words that amuse even the most determined language learner.

For example, the word "vegetables" in Swedish is “grönsaker” which literally translates to "green things" - and that's just the beginning.

With this in mind, we gathered our nine favourite Swedish words (with the help of our Twitter followers) where a literal translation could send you on a wild goose chase.

Call them weird translations, call them compounding madness, you can call them what you like: just don't eat the "mother cake".

Story continues below…

Click here for the gallery of our top nine weird Swedish words

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

18:21 April 20, 2012 by Åskar
No 5 might be some kind of a buffet, but it is in no way a "Smörgåsbord".
19:52 April 20, 2012 by Old Trafford
'semester' (meaning 'school term' in english but 'holiday' in swedish) takes the cake in my opinion
00:43 April 21, 2012 by Mbenzi
"Sätt på kaffet"...

F*** the coffee?
09:37 April 21, 2012 by Leyarah
I have a number of favourites:

"Pratshow", - Talk Show - particularly as most of the people who go on them are in fact prats!!!!

"Slag" - Punch - which is what will happen if you call someone a slag!!

"Fuktteknik" - Damp Technology - That one kinda speaks for itself and makes me giggle like crazy every time I see the van go past me
09:56 April 21, 2012 by skatty
Personally, I misunderstood the first time a Swede asked me "är du pigg…?" which I confused "pigg" with the English "pig", and felt upset!
10:44 April 21, 2012 by Lukestar1991
For example, the word "vegetables" in Swedish is "grönsaker" which literally translates to "green things" - and that's just the beginning.

20:22 April 21, 2012 by philster61
My favourite is Slappa Meg....(slap me)
21:00 April 21, 2012 by Old Trafford
Another for me is 'kom igen' which in English will be 'come again (repeat)'..but no! no!! no!!! in swedish, it is 'common'
14:55 April 22, 2012 by AndreaGerak
"kom igen" would be actually "come on", and not "common"...

There are some Swedish words that sound funny in Hungarian as well:

"fika" = snut

"kaka"= sh*t

"kula" = sh*t

"kurva" = whore

So if you go to Kungens kurva and get a nice kaka for fika, topped with a kula of soft ice...
20:16 April 22, 2012 by Old Trafford
Dammsugare - vacuum cleaner in swedish. One could think of it as 'lady sucker' in literal english translation :)
05:13 April 23, 2012 by pivo
Whenever I see someone moving at a fast pace I can hear my Swedish boyfriend's voice saying "full fart!" It always makes me laugh.
12:13 April 23, 2012 by Åskar
@Old Trafford

Only if you don't know how to spell it.
17:15 April 23, 2012 by guy noir
Headline for a review of a fast car seen in the automobile supplement:


Sale (Rea) sign seen at Ikea:


which, when the å is properly pronounced, sounds like :-)

Some Swedish words are difficult to say when with Germans, and will raise some eyebrows:

the verb in "Jag Fick", sounds and is spelled exactly like the German verb in I f..k while Fika is close ... and Fickan sounds exactly like the infinitive of the german verb to f..k
18:16 April 23, 2012 by bow290
no one picked up on the swedish word for edge or corner... give that one a go in crowded room, it out does all the rest by a swedish mile!
19:49 September 11, 2012 by Emerentia
@ Old Trafford "Damsugare" would be lady sucker, but there is no such word. Dam=lady, dame. Damm=Dust. Dammsugare=Dustsucker.
Today's headlines
Gothenburg 'one of Europe's most segregated cities'
An Isis flag in Kirkuk, Iraq. Photo: Uncredited/AP

One in ten school students in Gothenburg's north-eastern suburbs sympathize with religious extremist organizations, according to a survey.

Julian Assange
Sweden won't suspend Assange warrant for funeral
Assange has been in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012. Photo: Alastair Grant/AP

The WikiLeaks founder has requested a temporary suspension of an arrest warrant so he could leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the funeral of his mentor.

Swedish football diehard who went viral doesn't get the fuss
Possibly the most dedicated fan in the world. Photo: Patric Söderström/TT

A picture of Gefle IF celebrating with the only fan to make a 1164km round trip to see them has gone viral. The Local spoke to the diehard in question.

'I want to see women priests in the Catholic Church'
Archbishop Antje Jackelén meeting Pope Francis earlier in 2016. Photo: L'Osservatore Romano/AP

'I told the pope last year during a speech it is time to no longer speak for women about women, but to speak with women,' Sweden's Archbishop says.

Sweden one of world's easiest places to do business: report
A meeting at a Stockholm office. Photo: Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

It is easier to do business in Sweden now than it was last year, according to a World Bank report.

This Swede has built a procrastinator's dream
Anders Åberg has built a website that allows you to hear what’s going on above the Earth. Photo: Personal & NASA

Ever wondered what's going on in the sky above the earth and in space? Now you can hear for yourself.

Presented by Malmö Tourism
Seven reasons why Malmö is the football capital of Sweden
Players from FC Rosengård, Sweden's most successful women's football team. Photo: Hangsna

It’s official, and anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong.

Fake police car driver seized after confronting real police
File photo of a police car. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Three men in a fake police car were left red-faced after they tried to stop a man in southern Sweden who turned out to be an off-duty officer.

This tiny bird can fly for ten months straight: scientists
The common swift while not in flight. Photo: Madis Veskimeister/Wikimedia

Swedish scientists have found that this bird stays in the air for almost a year without landing.

Why the Pope is visiting Sweden next week
Pope Francis in the Vatican. Photo: AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino

Pope to nail reconciliation agenda to Lutherans' door in southern Sweden.

Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
The Local Voices
Antonio, 19, is a Syrian refugee and porn actor hoping to change perceptions of refugees
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
People-watching: October 26th
Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Is Game of Thrones coming to Sweden?
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available