Language and culture For Members

Swedish word of the day: mums

Catherine Edwards
Catherine Edwards - [email protected]
Swedish word of the day: mums
It doesn't mean what you think it means. Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Today's word is a false friend for English-speakers.


Mums is a kind of onomatopoeic word in Swedish. You say it to describe a nice-tasting food, so it's about equivalent to 'yum!' or 'mmmm!' in English.

That similarity makes it clear where this word comes from. It's simply inspired by the appreciative sounds people tend to make while enjoying the perfect cinnamon bun (for example).

But like most parts of language, it can all change depending on the context, so you might say 'mm, mums' in a sarcastic voice if someone mentions a distinctly un-appetising meal too.

In Swedish, there are lots of little related words to learn too, all of them best suited to informal use.

There's the adjective mumsig ('tasty' or 'yummy') and the verb mumsa, which is usually followed by the preposition and a noun, meaning 'to feast on', or 'to munch on'. 

Tasted something extra delicious? To upgrade the phrase mums, you can exclaim mums filibabba! The origin of this little expression is unknown, but it means roughly 'super tasty'!



Kanelbullar? Mums vad gott!

Cinnamon buns? Yum, they're so good!

Det är så fint att ta en promenad och mumsa på en glass

It's so nice to go for a walk and enjoy an ice cream

Villa, Volvo, Vovve: The Local’s Word Guide to Swedish Life, written by The Local’s journalists, is now available to order in English or German. Head to to read more about it.

It is also possible to buy your copy from Amazon USAmazon UKBokus or Adlibris.


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