Swedish word of the day: Måndag

It's the start of a new week, so here's a timely Swedish word of the day.

Swedish word of the day: Måndag
It's just another manic måndag. Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Måndag is the Swedish word for Monday.

It means “the day of the moon”, a day which in turn is named after Måne, the god of the moon in Norse mythology. In Norse mythology, Måne (whose name is also the Swedish word for “moon”) is the brother of Sol (“sun”), and they’re chased across the sky by two wolves.

In Old Norse the word is manadagher. Note that the days of the week are not capitalised in Swedish.

Monday is related to the moon in many languages, even ones with generally different roots. For example, lundi in French and lunedì in Italian both also mean “the day of the moon”, and can be traced back to diēs Lūnae or ἡμέρᾱ Σελήνης in Latin and Greek.

This is probably how the word came to the Nordics, which simply replaced it with its own deity.

To give you an idea of how international it is: the word Monday in many Asian languages is related to Soma, the Hindu god of the moon, and many Celtic languages use a version of the Latin word (Diluain in Scottish Gaelic and dydd Llun in Welsh – do you spot the similarities?).

In the Greco-Roman tradition, Sunday (“day of the sun”) was the first day of the week and Monday the second, but since 1972 it’s officially the first day of the Swedish week. You may be interested to learn a bonus compound noun: måndagsexemplar, which refers to a faulty product (because the person who made it was presumably tired at the start of the week, and not fully recovered from the weekend).

Måndagsbarn is a song by Swedish artist Veronica Maggio, and the Swedish translation of Bill Murray’s 1993 movie Groundhog Day is Måndag hela veckan (“Monday all week”).


Är det verkligen måndag igen?

Is it really Monday again?

Jag lämnade in min uppsats i måndags

I submitted my essay last Monday

Villa, Volvo, Vovve: The Local’s Word Guide to Swedish Life, written by The Local’s journalists, is now available to order. Head to 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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​​Swedish word of the day: ockerhyra

A word of the day which makes strange use of usury.

​​Swedish word of the day: ockerhyra

Ocker is the Swedish word for usury, and not the Australian for someone who “speaks and acts in a rough and uncultivated manner, using Strine, a broad Australian accent” for the Aussies out there who might recognise the term. 

Usury, of course, is when a lender makes monetary loans which unfairly enrich them. The term is used either in a moral sense, then as a condemnation of taking advantage of others’ misfortune, or in a strictly legal sense, where ocker refers to the crime of charging a higher interest rate for a loan than that which is allowed by the law. You might know an individual who does that not as a usurer, but a loan shark

But ockerhyra has nothing to do with loans or loansharks, at least not directly. The shark, however, might still be there, as you will see.

Hyra simply means ‘rent’ – in this case the rent you pay for an apartment or any other rental property. So ockerhyra means ‘usury rent’, but how can a rent be usurious? Well, it cannot since it is not a loan. What instead is meant here, is at least part of the moral sense of the word ‘usury’, whereby someone is taking advantage of another’s situation. 

Someone setting an andrahandshyra, a second hand rent, which is unreasonably high, would be setting an ockerhyra. This is a topic which The Local has previously dealt with, and there are instances to get help with that. The main reason people can get away with this is because many are desperate to find a place in the city, often Stockholm, and therefore will not alert the authorities. But also, owing to the fact that it is not a punishable crime, all that might happen is that the person subletting their place for more than is reasonable might be forced to pay some money back.

Furthermore, the word ockerhyra does not necessarily imply this type of scenario, it can also be used to generally complain about rents being too high. And many do complain about this.

Do you feel a bit upset about the sometimes absurd rents in Stockholm or in another city? Why not make use of the word ockerhyror in a conversation on the topic?

Just remember that the word is quite strong, so try not to accuse a friend of charging an ockerhyra – might be safer to just question whether they are charging a bit much. Good luck!

Example sentences:

Alltså, det är verkligen ockerhyror på nybyggnationer! Jag är sååå trött på den här skiten.

I mean come on, the rents on new builds are outrageous! I’m sick and tired of this shit.

Duncan, varför tar du ockerhyra på stället du hyr ut i andrahand?

Duncan, why are you charging an exaggerated rent on the place you’re subletting?

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