Swedish word of the day: lustigkurre

Alex Rodallec
Alex Rodallec - [email protected]
Swedish word of the day: lustigkurre
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

A lusty and strange squirrel, or just someone with a good sense of humour?


Lustigkurre is ‘a person who easily brings out joy in others’ according to Svensk ordbok. The word is made up of two parts, lustig and kurre

Lustig comes from the same root as ‘lust’ in English, or lust in Swedish. Lust in Swedish means one of three things: 1. The desire to do something that might be enjoyable or satisfactory. 2. Sexual desire. And 3. (Now somewhat outdated) A sense of joy and satisfaction. 

It is from this third sense that we get lustig, an adjective meaning ‘funny’, or in other words, causing a sense of joy and satisfaction. 

What about kurre? Kurre can be a nickname for someone called Kurt, but that is not where this kurre comes from. Kurre means a boy or man of a special, funny or unusual kind, as seen in the expression en underlig kurre, meaning that someone is a strange, odd or funny character. 

But why does kurre itself mean funny or unusual? Well, kurre is actually a dialectal Swedish word for squirrel, according to the Swedish Academy (the standard Swedish word for squirrel is ekorre). Why is a squirrel funny? No idea, maybe because they look funny jumping around? Funny squirrels must be a Swedish thing.

And a quite old Swedish thing it seems, since kurre is attested since 1661. You can almost imagine a Swedish person with a wig back in 1600s calling someone else a funny squirrel in some local dialect, and the rest is history.


Calling someone a lustigkurre today will seem a bit old-fashioned, you are more likely to hear it said to children, together with similar words like rackare and buse, often with the word lilla (‘little’) in front of it.

Instead of calling an adult lustigkurre, you might say they are fett rolig (literally, 'fat funny'), or jätterolig (literally, 'giant funny'), although both are used to mean ‘really funny’.

Ask a Swedish friend if they know what the kurre in lustigkurre means. If they don’t, seize the opportunity to teach them about their own language! 

Gott nytt år everyone!

Example sentences:

Du är en sån liten lustigkurre, Pelle!

You are such a little joker, Pelle!

Vet du vad ordet kurre i lustigkurre betyder?

Do you know what the kurre in lustigkurre means?

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.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also