5 Interesting Swedish idioms

5 Interesting Swedish idioms

21 Feb, 2018

Conquering a language doesn’t just involve learning how to say things literally, but also embracing the use of idioms - things that don’t make sense if you translate it directly to your home language.

In English we have sayings like “it’s raining cats and dogs” and “to beat around the bush”, and I thought it would be a good idea to learn some Swedish idioms.

When I looked up Swedish idioms, I realised that I had heard a few already from my sambo. He’d say “close but no cigar”. To be honest, I wasn’t 100% sure what he meant by that, I just assumed he meant it was close, or something almost happened. Turns out I wasn’t far from the truth.

Nära skjuter ingen hare

“Close but no cigar” If you almost achieved something but didn’t quite get it, so it doesn’t count.

Om det finns hjärterum, så finns det stjärterum

“If there’s room for the heart, there’s room for the butt” You may say this if you have extra friends want to squeeze in on a couch

Gå som katten kring het gröt

“To go like the cat around hot porridge” or in other words “to beat around the bush” If someone isn’t getting to the point, or is just going around the subject.

Ingen ko på isen

“No cow is on the ice” –> “Don’t worry” If someone seems to be worried about something, you may want to tell them “Ingen ko på isen”

Det ligger en hund begraven

“A dog is buried there” –> There’s more to it

Learning Swedish
Written by Nicola Owen