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SWEDISH WORD OF THE DAY

Swedish word of the day: moln

Swedes love talking about the weather, so today's word of the day makes for great conversation.

the word moln on a black background next to a swedish flag
Knowing Swedish weather, you'll probably be needing this word sooner or later. Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Moln is the Swedish word for cloud. Pretty straightforward, you might think, but moln also features in a number of compound words.

One of these is molntäcke which translates literally as “cloud duvet”. This is used to describe overcast weather – an entirely grey sky, covered with cloud with no visible contours or holes in the cloud.

Molntäcke or overcast weather is caused by dimmoln (dim-moln), translating literally as “fog cloud”. This type of cloud is known as stratus in English, producing overcast weather if clouds are high in the sky, or dimma – fog – if clouds are closer to the ground.

The word moln can also be seen in molntjänst – cloud services – referring to internet-based services such as data storage services like iCloud. These are referred to as cloud storage services or molnlagring in Swedish.

A great moln-related Swedish song is Tralala lilla molntuss, kom hit ska du få en puss by bob hund, a band from the southern Swedish city of Helsingborg whose name translates as “bob dog”.

Molntuss is a word they have created out of moln and tuss – a small tuft or ball of something soft. This is also seen in bomullstuss – a cotton wool ball or pad – and dammtuss, a dustball. So one translation of this song title could be “Tralala little cloud tuft, come here and I’ll give you a kiss”.

Admittedly, it’s a bit more catchy in Swedish.

Examples:

Kolla på det där molnet! Det liknar en elefant!

Look at that cloud! It looks like an elephant!

Vi erbjuder molnlösningar för företag.

We offer cloud-based solutions for companies.

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

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SWEDISH WORD OF THE DAY

Swedish word of the day: soppatorsk

In Sweden, if you run out of petrol on the road you have 'soup-cod'.

Swedish word of the day: soppatorsk

Soppatorsk is a slang word which literally means soup-cod, soppa is ‘soup’, and torsk is ‘cod’, but is not to be understood as ‘cod soup’, that would be torsksoppa. Instead the two words that make up soppatorsk have additional meanings in slang. One of the additional meanings of torsk is ‘failure’, which is the intended meaning here. The verb att torska, ‘to cod’, is to fail, or to lose, to get caught. The meaning of the noun torsk here is ‘failure’. And soppa is simply a slang term for ‘petrol’. 

The proper term for what soppatorsk means is bensinstopp, which means ‘engine failure due to running out of petrol’. It is used in the exact same way.

An additional meaning of torsk that you should be mindful of is ‘a john’, as in someone who frequents prostitutes. So you cannot call someone ‘a failure’ by calling them a torsk, that would mean calling them a sex-buyer.  

Soppatorsk is quite common in use and has been around since about 1987. The use of its two parts is also quite common. And torska, as in ‘getting caught’ or ‘losing’ is even a bit older, dating back to at least 1954. We haven’t been able to find out how long soppa has been used to mean ‘petrol’.

A few examples of the use of soppa and torska in the senses that they carry in soppatorsk are : ‘Vi har ingen soppa i tanken,’ means ‘We have no petrol in the tank’. ‘Vi torskade is a common way of saying ‘We lost’. 

Practice makes perfect, so try to use the word of the day, here are a few example sentences. 

Example sentences:

Nä, det är inte sant, soppatorsk.

No, I can’t believe it, we’re out of petrol.

Full tank tack, man vill ju inte få soppatorsk ute i vildmarken.

Fill her up please, don’t wanna run out of petrol out in the wilderness.

Villa, Volvo, Vovve: The Local’s Word Guide to Swedish Life, written by The Local’s journalists, is now available to order. Head to lysforlag.com/vvv 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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