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Swedish word of the day: loppis

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Swedish word of the day: loppis
Image: nito103/Depositphotos
16:00 CEST+02:00
Here's a word that describes a quintessential Swedish summer activity.

Loppis is the usual Swedish word for a flea market, and these are a hugely popular way to spend sunny weekends as people set up makeshift stalls to buy and sell secondhand items, crafts, and more at bargain prices.

It's common for an apartment block or entire neighbourhood to get together and organize a loppis, or you can head to many town squares or streets to go loppis-hunting at a weekend. There are several websites which keep track of as many loppisar as possible.

It's not hard to see why Swedes love them so much: loppisar take place outdoors and so allow visitors to make the most of the summer; the focus on re-using is eco-friendly; the low prices are always a bonus in pricey Sweden; and then there's the chance of finding a great vintage accessory or piece of furniture.

The full term is loppmarknad, or lopptorg in Swedish-speaking Finland, but as we've mentioned before in this column, it's common in colloquial Swedish to shorten words by knocking off the final syllable or two and adding the suffix -is, hence loppis.

To say 'at a flea market', you use the preposition , for example ska vi gå på loppis? (shall we go to a flea market).

The longer word loppmarknad comes from a direct translation of the US English term 'flea market', since a en loppa is a flea. This is a nod to the fact that the markets sell secondhand clothes and furniture, and that some people looked down on these and claimed they were full of fleas.

You can also use the word loppfynd ('flea market find' or 'flea market bargain') to refer to the treasures you track down at a loppis, and a bakluckeloppis (literally a 'car boot flea market') is a car boot sale, where instead of tables, items are sold straight out of people's cars. 

It's not to be confused with other compound words which contain lopp and derive from the word ett lopp ('a track' or 'a run'), such as maratonlopp (a marathon race) or well-known races including Vasaloppet and Lidingöloppet.

READ ALSO: Members' guide: Know your consumer rights when shopping in Sweden

Examples

Jag har köpt den på loppis

I bought it at a flea market

Jag vill sälja mina gamla kläder på loppis

I want to sell my old clothes at a flea market

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.
 

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