Swedish word of the day: läsk

Becky Waterton
Becky Waterton - [email protected]
Swedish word of the day: läsk
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

The Swedish word for a soda or fizzy drink is 'läsk'. But where does this word come from?


The word läsk is actually a shortened version of the word läskedryck, made up of the word läska (to refresh or quench thirst) and dryck, a drink.

Another word you might hear is läskeblask, with blask here having a number of meanings to do with water, such as the splashing sound of water, or something which has been watered down, such as watery soup or watery coffee.

Blaskväder, with väder here meaning weather, is also a word for particularly wet or soggy weather.

Anyway, back to läsk

Läsk originally comes from the Low German leschen (to extinguish), and is related to the modern German word löschen, which has the same meaning.

Generally, läsk is always carbonated, and it has been drunk in Sweden since the 1600s, when people started drinking naturally carbonated water which was believed to be medicinal.

This water was sold by pharmacies or apotek, which explains why Sweden's favourite fizzy drink during the month of December – julmust – is still sold by the Apotekarnes brand.

Nowadays, it's unlikely that carbonated mineral water would be referred to as läsk, with the term more often used to describe sweet carbonated drinks like Coca-Cola or Pepsi.

Other popular Swedish läsk includes Trocadero, a caffeinated orange and apple drink, and Zingo, an orangeade originally named Ingo after the boxer Ingemar Johansson. It was renamed in 1962 after "Ingo" the boxer lost a world championship.

There are also a couple of champagne-flavoured fizzy drinks which are popular in Sweden, Pommac and Champis, which were originally developed and marketed as an alcohol-free alternative to champagne.


Around New Year's Eve Pommac and Champis are sometimes available in champagne-style magnum-size bottles with a real cork, instead of the usual plastic bottles they're sold in during the rest of the year.

Zero-sugar fizzy drinks are also popular in Sweden, where they are referred to as light-läsk.

If you want to describe a drink as refreshing, don't use the word läskig, unless you want people to think you're scared of it. Instead, the correct word to use here would be läskande.

There are a couple of archaic uses for the word läsk, too. One is läskpapper or blotting paper used to blot ink, and another is the verb läska used to describe the act of wiping down the barrel of a gun or cannon in order to cool it down or clean it.

You can also läska kalk (slake lime), creating calcium hydroxide or läskad kalk, which is used in a number of industries such as whitewashing walls, producing sugar, sewage treatment and the paper industry.

Example sentences:

Coca-Cola är den mest sålda läsken i Sverige förutom i december.

Coca-Cola is the most sold fizzy drink in Sweden apart from in December.

Det är alltid skönt med en läskande isglass på en varm dag.

It's always nice to have a refreshing ice lolly on a hot day.

Don’t miss any of our Swedish words and expressions of the day by downloading our new app (available on Apple and Android) and then selecting the Swedish Word of the Day in your Notification options via the User button.


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