Swedish word of the day: krasslig

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

Autumn is here across much of Sweden, meaning the season for coughs, colds and flu is upon us. Today's word of the day is a word you can use when you're feeling a bit under the weather.


The adjective krasslig is best translated into English as being under the weather or a little bit unwell. You're not so sick that you're stuck in bed all day, but you might have a bit of a cough or a headache and aren't really feeling 100 percent.

Those with small children in Sweden will be well acquainted with this word, as it's a good way of describing the grey area between when a child is definitely sick and needs to stay home, and when a child is not really sick enough to warrant staying home, but not really feeling their best either – especially when combined with the word små to make småkrasslig (a little bit under the weather).

A teacher might say when you pick up your child at the end of the school day that they have been a bit krasslig, so you might need to avvakta (watch and wait) and see if they should stay home the next day. Usually, this means that if things get worse you should keep them at home, but if things are the same or better the next morning they can go back to school.

Adults who feel krasslig may opt to work from home instead of heading into the office, if they can.

As far as the etymology of krasslig is concerned, it probably comes from the verb att krassla, "to work slowly or with difficulty" or "to move yourself with difficulty". You can also krassla on purpose, for example, at least historically, att krassla ihop something describes the act of putting something together slightly lazily and generally not doing a great job.

An example of something which has been put together badly or lazily in this way could be described as krassleri, while the person responsible for the botched job would be a krasslare. You're not likely to hear it used in this sense today, though.


Example sentences

Jag känner mig lite krasslig i dag så jag tror jag hoppar filmen i kväll.

I feel a bit poorly today so I think I'll skip the film tonight.

Hon är lite småkrasslig så det är nog bäst om ni kommer och hämtar henne.

She's a bit ill so it's probably for the best if you come and pick her up.

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