Swedish word of the day: rödvinsvänster

Today’s Swedish word of the day is a political pejorative directed at a perceived hypocritical left or one that does not do much besides talking.

Swedish word of the day: rödvinsvänster

The dictionary of the Swedish Academy explains rödvinsvänster as ‘leftist groups who mostly just sit and discuss, often over a glass of wine.’

The expression came to be during the days of the 1968 leftist movements, but is still alive and thriving. Though it previously was directed at people who sat discussing politics over cheap red wine rather than actually getting involved in the political work, today it has come to describe middle-class people who call themselves leftist and drink fancy red wine. 

Similar expressions include champagnesocialist, an expression of British origin, or cocktailsosse which means ‘cocktail social democrat’. These two are expressions which more clearly than rödvinsvänster have their origin in a disregard for politicians or socialists who are perceived to break with traditional socialist values because of their love for the ‘finer’ drinks, such as champagne or cocktails, which are considered to be bourgeois drinks.

Although the terms are often used by political opponents of the left, they are also, and perhaps even more frequently, used by leftists who consider other leftists to actually be class traitors or simply bourgeois or middle class and therefore not really workers or good representatives for the working class. 

As you can imagine there are similar terms in many countries. Here are a few:

In the UK you will find the above mentioned ‘champagne socialist’ (or ‘Bollinger Bolshevik’), together with ‘Hampstead liberal’, and ‘liberal elite’, In Australia, they would be more likely to be ‘chardonnay socialists’, and in Ireland ‘smoked salmon socialists’. It is Gauche caviar in France and esquerda caviar in Portugal: both mean ‘caviar left’. Italians have radical chic. In the US there is ‘limousine liberal’ or ‘latte liberal’. Salonkommunist is a German version, and the similar salonsocialist can be found in the Netherlands. Examples from other countries abound.

Example sentences

Kolla, där sitter rödvinsvänstern som vanligt på sina älskade uteserveringar och pimplar.

Look, there they are, as usual, the red wine left, sipping on their beloved outdoor terraces.

Rödvinsvänstern har helt tagit över arbetarrörelsen.

The red-wine left has completely taken over the workers’ movement.

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Swedish word of the day: tacofredag

Today’s word is a modern Swedish national tradition.

Swedish word of the day: tacofredag

Tacofredag simply means ‘Taco Friday’.

If you have been living in Sweden for a while you might be familiar with the concept of att mysa, ‘to get cozy’. If you are not, the number one mys-day is Friday, fredagsmys, or “Cozy Friday”, which we have previously covered. Fredagsmys has become somewhat of a modern national tradition, where the idea is to stay at home, watch a movie, have a chill and nice time together while eating fast food.

And the fast food of choice for fredagsmys is tacos, Tex-Mex style tacos, but with a Swedish twist. You might have seen the large taco section in your local supermarket and wondered. This is why it is so large.

Here’s the story behind it. Around 1990 Sweden was reemerging out of a financial crisis. Swedes were increasingly willing to spend again, and television advertising, which was illegal on cable based broadcast, was becoming a thing through satellite broadcasts from the UK. Somewhere around this time the idea of fredagsmys was born. To sit at home, eating easy to make food while watching television.  

Though crips company OLW was the major populariser of the phenomenon of fredagsmys through a series of popular adverts that started in 2009, the big winners of the new cultural phenomenon were the tex-mex producers Old El Paso and Santa Maria (which even changed its name from Nordfalks due to the success of its tex-mex products). 

Through in store demonstrations of how to assemble the tacos, and a series of advertising campaigns, tex-mex sales grew from 70 million to 1,2 billion SEK over 20 years from 1991-2011. In 2014 Santa Maria released a statement containing statistics from a survey which showed that 85 percent of Swedes eat Tex Mex regularly, and that 55 percent of them do it on Fridays. Though that survey was done on only 1000 people, it still gives an inkling of the popularity of the phenomenon.

So what are the essentially Swedish ingredients on tacofredag? Cucumber, pineapple, yoghurt sauces, canned corn and even peanuts. These are also things that you might find on Swedish pizzas such as the Africana or the Hawaii, or even the odd Kebab Pizza (another Swedish take on imported food). 

As you can see, tacofredag is a widely appreciated and, due to its twists, quintessentially Swedish modern tradition. Invite your friends over for tacofredag instead of Taco Tuesday, and don’t forget to include the Swedish ingredients. It will certainly be appreciated.

Example sentences:

Vi tänkte ha tacofredag till helgen, vill ni komma?

We’re having Taco Friday this weekend, you wanna come?

Åh, jag älskar tacofredag!

Oh, I love Taco Fridays!

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.