Swedish word of the day: promenad

Emma Löfgren
Emma Löfgren - [email protected]
Swedish word of the day: promenad
It's less menacing than its etymology. Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Here's a word that useful if you're leaving the car at home, or if you're the finance minister of Sweden.


While promenade in English usually refers to a kind of paved public path, often along a beach in a seaside resort, in Swedish it’s also a common word for a leisurely stroll, en promenad.

You might see it in compound words such as strandpromenad (in which case it can either refer to a seafront promenade as in English, or the act of going for a stroll along the beach, vi tog en strandpromenad).

Another well-known example is budgetpromenad, the finance minister’s annual walk from her office to the parliament building to present the government’s budget bill.

The word comes from the French se promener (to go for a walk), which in turn is from the late Latin prominare, which actually refers to driving animals forward – made up of pro (forth) and minare, from minari which means “to threaten” (this is the origin of menace in English).

You can also use it as a verb, att promenera, for example jag promenerade till jobbet i dag (“I walked to work today”). It’s perhaps becoming increasingly common in Swedish to instead use the word (past tense: gick) – jag gick till jobbet i dag – but promenera doesn’t yet sound outdated.


Promenera vaguely implies that it is an enjoyable, non-strenuous walk. You wouldn’t say that you promenerade in the mountains, unless you went for a lovely, relaxing stroll through a valley.

In this sense, it’s sometimes also used figuratively for something you didn’t have to put much effort into, such as laget promenerade hem segern (“the team walked home the victory”) if they had an easy win.


Tar du hunden på en promenad?

Will you take the dog for a walk?

Körde du hit? Nej, jag promenerade

Did you drive here? No, I walked

Would you like to listen to a daily Swedish Word of the Day podcast? Take The Local's survey to have your say!


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