Swedish word of the day: dopp

Swedish word of the day: dopp
Image: nito103/Depositphotos
We're looking at words with a summery theme this month, and this one is essential to know on warm days.

Dopp is similar to the English word 'dip', in the sense of taking a quick swim. For example: ska vi ta ett dopp? (shall we go for a dip?). 

The image of 'dipping' oneself in the water suggests more of a spontaneous or brief swim compared to using the verb bada or simma. Simma is usually reserved for talking about swimming with a purpose, for example if you're going from a shoreline to an island or doing laps in a pool, while bada refers to swimming for leisure.

Bada also implies spending a longer time in the water, while ett dopp can be used even if you literally just jump in and get straight back out. So in some places, the water might not be warm enough to bada, but it's perfect if you just want to ta ett dopp.


Going for a dip in your nearest lake or sea is a Swedish summer tradition, so a common question you can use in small talk over summer is 'Har du tagit årets första dopp än?' (Have you been for your first dip of the year yet?).

You can also pop it into a compound word such as morgondopp (a morning dip/quick swim), kvällsdopp (evening dip) semesterdopp (holiday dip), and so on. 

As in English, you can also use the word doppa (to dip) to talk about submerging something in liquid temporarily. So you'll see the word dopp used to talk about two foodstuffs in particular, although both are fairly old-fashioned terms nowadays.

Kaffe med dopp (literally 'coffee with dip') is quite an outdated way of referring to a typical fika: coffee with a small biscuit which you could dip in your drink; the semla bun is an example. Dunking a biscuit or pastry in your drink isn't that common in Sweden, but the phrase kaffe med dopp can be used even if you don't plan to actually dunk your snack. And dopp i grytan (literally 'dip in the stew') refers to bread dipped in pork broth, a traditional component of the Swedish julbord.


Jag kanske tar ett dopp idag

I might take a dip today

Jag var i vattnet men försökte inte doppa håret

I was in the water but tried not to get my hair wet/dip my hair in

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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