A voice for newcomers in Sweden

Swedish word of the day: galen

Image: nito103/Depositphotos

Published: 25.Mar.2019 10:36 hrs

Here's a word that's fairly common in Swedish and has a fascinating history, but be careful how you use it.

The adjective galen means 'mad' or 'crazy'. 

It is used in many of the same ways as English 'crazy'. It's an offensive way of describing someone who is mentally unwell, and should be avoided in this context today. But it can describe an unusual and unwise behaviour or decision (for example: jobba på helgen? Är du galen? – Work at the weekend? Are you crazy?), or to talk about something which is unexpected, unusual or inexplicable. For example: Det här är galna siffror (these are crazy figures) or det är en galen historia (it's a crazy story).

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