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LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

Swedish word of the day: stammis

Here's a Swedish word that could help you get discounts when dining and drinking in Sweden.

Swedish word of the day: stammis
Are you a stammis anywhere? Image: nito103/Depositphotos

Stammis means 'regular', in the sense of being a regular guest or customer at a certain establishment.

You would most often hear it used in reference to bars, restaurants or cafes, but it also makes sense if you're talking about another kind of shop or service, such as a hairdresser, bookshop, or really anything else you use regularly, and it can also be translated as 'loyal customer'.

The transfer of money is not a requirement, so you can be a stammis på biblioteket (a regular at the library) or a stammis på forumet (a regular on the online forum).

It's a noun, so you could say something like jag är stammis på baren (I'm a regular at the bar) or här är han stammis (he's a regular here), but you wouldn't say en stammis kund.

Stammis comes from the compound nouns stamkund (regular customer) or stamgäst (regular guest) but those two words sound much more formal than the colloquial stammis with the typical -is ending that pops up in a lot of Swedish slang words.

Stam itself is a noun, which can refer to the trunk of a tree and can also mean 'tribe/clan/family', so the idea is that if you're a stamkund, you're a customer who's almost part of the family.

Usually, you would say that stammis isn't a formal label; it's more about feeling a sense of attachment to the location and perhaps building up a relationship with the staff, but at some places there's a formal scheme so that you can sign up as a stammis in order to get discounts and special offers. This might be by signing up to a loyalty card (bonuskort) or paying a membership fee that is worthwhile for frequent customers.

Examples

De flesta av våra kunder är stammisar

Most of our customers are regulars

Jag känner mig som stammis här och det är så mysigt

I feel like a regular here and it's so nice

Do you have a favourite Swedish word you would like to nominate for our word of the day series? Get in touch by email or if you are a Member of The Local, log in to comment below.

Member comments

  1. The word is, or was when I lived in Sweden, “stammkund”. I can’t see what “abbreviating” (still two syllables) it achieves. I would describe such Swedish usage as “slarvig” (your next word of the day).

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For members

SWEDISH WORD OF THE DAY

Swedish word of the day: tacofredag

Today’s word is a modern Swedish national tradition.

Swedish word of the day: tacofredag

Tacofredag simply means ‘Taco Friday’.

If you have been living in Sweden for a while you might be familiar with the concept of att mysa, ‘to get cozy’. If you are not, the number one mys-day is Friday, fredagsmys, or “Cozy Friday”, which we have previously covered. Fredagsmys has become somewhat of a modern national tradition, where the idea is to stay at home, watch a movie, have a chill and nice time together while eating fast food.

And the fast food of choice for fredagsmys is tacos, Tex-Mex style tacos, but with a Swedish twist. You might have seen the large taco section in your local supermarket and wondered. This is why it is so large.

Here’s the story behind it. Around 1990 Sweden was reemerging out of a financial crisis. Swedes were increasingly willing to spend again, and television advertising, which was illegal on cable based broadcast, was becoming a thing through satellite broadcasts from the UK. Somewhere around this time the idea of fredagsmys was born. To sit at home, eating easy to make food while watching television.  

Though crips company OLW was the major populariser of the phenomenon of fredagsmys through a series of popular adverts that started in 2009, the big winners of the new cultural phenomenon were the tex-mex producers Old El Paso and Santa Maria (which even changed its name from Nordfalks due to the success of its tex-mex products). 

Through in store demonstrations of how to assemble the tacos, and a series of advertising campaigns, tex-mex sales grew from 70 million to 1,2 billion SEK over 20 years from 1991-2011. In 2014 Santa Maria released a statement containing statistics from a survey which showed that 85 percent of Swedes eat Tex Mex regularly, and that 55 percent of them do it on Fridays. Though that survey was done on only 1000 people, it still gives an inkling of the popularity of the phenomenon.

So what are the essentially Swedish ingredients on tacofredag? Cucumber, pineapple, yoghurt sauces, canned corn and even peanuts. These are also things that you might find on Swedish pizzas such as the Africana or the Hawaii, or even the odd Kebab Pizza (another Swedish take on imported food). 

As you can see, tacofredag is a widely appreciated and, due to its twists, quintessentially Swedish modern tradition. Invite your friends over for tacofredag instead of Taco Tuesday, and don’t forget to include the Swedish ingredients. It will certainly be appreciated.

Example sentences:

Vi tänkte ha tacofredag till helgen, vill ni komma?

We’re having Taco Friday this weekend, you wanna come?

Åh, jag älskar tacofredag!

Oh, I love Taco Fridays!

Villa, Volvo, Vovve: The Local’s Word Guide to Swedish Life, written by The Local’s journalists, is now available to order. Head to lysforlag.com/vvv to read more about it. It is also possible to buy your copy from Amazon US, Amazon UK, Bokus or Adlibris.

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