Words you won’t find in English

I thought we could share words that doesn't have an english equivalent, I will start with 10 that I stole from a site that I will link to in the end.

1. Orka

This verb is a tremendously common word meaning "to have the energy". Ex: Jag orkar springa runt kvarteret (I have the energy to run around the block)

2. Harkla

It’s used to describe that sound when you clear your throat, often before giving a speech or dislodging cinnamon bun pieces from their throat.. Ex: Jag måste harkla mig! (I must clear my throat!)

3. Hinna

This is an enormously common verb in Swedish, meaning "to find the time" or "to be on time". Ex: Hoppas att jag hinner till tåget! (Hopefully I will make it to the train in time!)

4. Blunda

To close your eyes, or to turn a blind eye. Ex: Blunda så ska du få en överraskning! (Close your eyes and you will get a surprise!)

5. Mysa

We almost have this in English with the word snuggle, but if you’re gonna mysa in Swedish, you can do it with someone, alone, or even in a café – perhaps "to cosy up" fits the bill. Ex: Ikväll ska jag mysa framför teven! (Tonight, I will cosy up in front of the telly!)

6. Vabba

This is becoming increasingly popular in Sweden, and is short for Vård Av Barn (meaning “to be at home because the children need taking care of, but you get paid for it from the government”). In fact, Swedes have even taken to calling February “Vabruary” due to such common child sicknesses.

7. Duktig

Anyone who has learnt Swedish will have heard this one by encouraging Swedes. It means "good at it". or "talented at it". Ex: Du är så duktig på att prata svenska! (You are really good at speaking Swedish!)

8. Jobbig

In terms of common words, you can’t spend a day in Sweden without coming across this word. It can mean troublesome or trying, annoying or difficult, about people, things, events – almost anything. It’s a real all-encompassing word. Ex: Matte är så jävla jobbigt! (Math is so damn difficult!)

9. Gubbe/Gumma

Here is a two-for-one package meaning “old man/old lady” and rather endearingly – that is, if you’re saying them in an affectionate voice. In fact, they can be coupled with "lilla gubben" to mean "little guy" for a boy, or "lilla gumman" for a girl. Ex: Hon är en söt liten gumma (She is a cute little old lady)

10. Mormor/farmor/morfar/farfar

As well as being a tongue twister for the rookie Swedish learner, this combination is a brilliant selection of words we desperately need in English. These are the words for your grandparents – (Mothermother, fathermother, motherfather, fatherfather).


May 26, 2016


These are cool. I'm tempted to just start using them in the US and enjoy the confused looks.

Harkla reminds me somewhat of "hacking a loogie"which does clear your throat.

May 26, 2016


May 27, 2016

Ett mycket viktigt ord för de flesta svenskar! :D

June 8, 2016

Tiga = remain silent

May 30, 2016

Svenska är jobbig... jag tycker om svenska. Jag mysa framför Duolingo! Tack så mycket för "post"-en

May 26, 2016

[deactivated user]

    Saudade (Portuguese) is a deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. Moreover, it often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might never return. A stronger form of saudade might be felt towards people and things whose whereabouts are unknown, such as a lost lover, or a family member who has gone missing, moved away, separated, or died. Saudade was once described as "the love that remains" after someone is gone.

    May 26, 2016

    Sounds a bit like vemod - wistfulness, longing, melancholy.

    May 26, 2016

    [deactivated user]

      I looked it up and it looks close.

      May 27, 2016

      what about lagom :)

      May 27, 2016


      Make the bed


      Fill up your car/anything that run on gas


      Set the table

      May 28, 2016

      Skadeglädje - feel happiness in someone else's misery.

      June 8, 2016

      Slippa - To not have to do something jobbigt.

      January 10, 2017

      Someone please translate träsmak into English for me :)

      January 10, 2017
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