Swedish word of the day: kry

the word kry on a blackboard next to a Swedish flag
Don't cry, krya på dig! Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
This word of the day has an unusual etymology.

Winter has arrived, and with it come all manner of colds and illnesses – not to mention the virus we’ve been living with for the past two years.

You may have heard today’s word of the day from your boss after calling in sick, or from your child’s preschool after they’ve caught the umpteenth cold of the season, meaning you have to stay home and vab.

Today’s word is kry, translating as “well”, as in, the opposite of “ill” or “sick”. It is pronounced similarly to the English word “crew” – not like “cry”. You may have seen it in the name of healthcare app Kry, or been told to “krya på dig!” – “Get well soon!” by well-wishers. A synonym for kry is frisk, which also translates as “fresh”.

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If your household is unlucky enough for multiple people to have come down with a bug at the same time, sympathetic family members may have wished you “krya på er”, the plural form of “get well soon” in Swedish.

The etymology of kry is unclear, but some etymological dictionaries suggest that it may come from krut, an old Swedish word for kryddor – herbs (like German Kraut). This may be due to the fact that, before modern medicine, herbs and plants with medicinal qualities were used to treat illnesses.

Other ways in which you can wish people a “get well soon” include var rädd om dig (look after yourself) and hoppas du blir bättre (hope you get better).

Hopefully you won’t be needing these phrases any time soon.

Examples:

“Hur mår ni nu?” “Bra, vi är friska och krya!”

“How are you all feeling now?” “Good, we’re all better!”

“Vi kan tyvärr inte ses nästa vecka, hela familjen har testat positivt.” “Ojojoj, krya på er!”

“Unfortunately we can’t meet up next week, the whole family has tested positive.” “Oh no, get well soon!”


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