Swedish word of the day: jaha

Catherine Edwards
Catherine Edwards - [email protected]
Swedish word of the day: jaha

Here's a word that will make you sound infinitely more Swedish, and can be used in almost any situation.


Jaha can mean 'really?', 'right then', 'so', 'oh', 'ah, right!' and many more things, depending on the context.

One common use is to show understanding of something, for example if someone says Anna jobbar på Ikea (Anna works at Ikea), you could say jaha ('OK' or 'I see'). Or if someone explains something you've been puzzling over, you might say, Jaha, så det var därför (Aha, so that's why).

Or if you're told on your first day at work vi fikar tre gånger om dagen på kontoret (we have fika three times a day in the office) you could reply jaha ('I see' or 'oh, right').

You can indicate surprise, excitement, scepticism or any other emotion you want through the tone of your jaha. To emphasize surprise, an alternative response would be Jaså! which means something like 'Is that so?!'

You can also use jaha as a filler word to indicate a change of subject, or conclusion of something. For example, if your group of friends has finished eating at a restaurant and paid the bill, and you're sitting waiting for someone to make the first move to leave, you can say 'Jaha?' to indicate that you're ready. In this case, it's similar to 'Right then' or 'Shall we?' in English.

Or after a film has finished, or a conversation has come to an end (or even if you just want to indicate that you'd like it to come to an end!), you can say something like Jaha, ska vi äta nu? (Right, shall we eat now?', or a simple Jaha on its own.

Either way, it's a useful word to add to your Swedish vocabulary for plenty of occasions when you're not quite sure what else to say.


Jaha, nu förstår jag

Ah/Aha, now I understand

Jaha, ska vi gå ut nu?

Right then, shall we go out now?

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.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also