Swedish idioms in painfully literal translation

( REMARK:   This Historical Document has been revised to fulfil the new Swedish legislation "PUL-lagen" )
"Call Sweden: 37 cents/minute"

kulturCHOCK! needs you!!

Aficionados of the Swedish language like to collect idioms and amuse each other by translating them literally. Here is your chance to contribute to an ever-growing collection. Use the submission form to send us your own idioms for inclusion here. (Note. This is a Historical Document, it is not possible to submit)

Some of the submissions that are not really idioms, or that just do not make any sense can be found on a separate list.

This linguistic resource is brought to you by:
A Swedish-American journal of being neither here nor there.

Editor's Choice: ten idioms that crack us up

(Tio ordspråk som spricker upp oss)

submit your own!

Show where the cupboard shall stand!
Visa vart skåpet skall stå!


Give him the basket
Ge honom korgen

Give him on the boat
Ge honom på båten

Butt to butt nothing can happen
ända mot ända ingenting kan hända

You have to bend in time if you want to make a crook.
Det ska böjas i tid det som krokigt ska bli.
Swedish expression meaning that you have to start learning early if you want to become a master.

Similar barns leaks the beast.
Lika barn leka bäst.
Swedish expression meaning that people with the same opinions get along better.

To fall in love
Att ramla i kärlek
Att bli förälskad...

To talk seven cottages full
Prata sju stugor fulla
To talk a lot. Said usually of women.

Hit as a kratt
Slå som en kratta
If you're playing for example golf and you miss the peg big time...

Mild forces!
Milda makter!
Good gracious!
Fredrik Helin

Take oneself in the collar
Ta sig i kragen
Pull oneself together.

He doesn't spit in the glass
Han spottar inte i glaset
He is fond of the bottle.

Make the whistlings
Göra susen
Do the trick.

I bang off
Jag smäller av
I freak out

Brother-in-law politics

It's pie.
Den är paj.
It doesn't work.

Smoke together
Ryka ihop
To fly at each other.

Go like the cat around hot porridge.
Gå som katten kring het gröt.
Beat about the bush.

Give someone on the nut.
Ge någon på nöten.
To give someone a hiding.

Be hot on the porridge.
Vara het på gröten.
To be very eager.

Få för sig något.
Obtain for oneself something.
To imagine something.

To put on someone's fallen cloak.
Att axla någons fallna mantel
To take over from one's predecessor.

To roll hat.
Rulla hatt
To party.

Not a sportscap!
Inte en sportmössa!
Fat chance!

You are all blue-eyed you
Du är allt blåögd du
To be innocent/naive

Now your out riding your bicycle
Nu är du ute och cyklar
You don't know what you're talking about!

Hello in the cottage!
Hallå i stugan!
It's simply a way of saying hello...

To dive upp like the old man in the box
Att dyka upp som gubben i lådan
To suddenly appear unexpectedly. A better translation might be: "To pop up like jack-in-the-box"

...for all the butter in the county of Smaland
...för allt smör i Småland
Freely translated: Something you absolutely don't want to miss. Eg: "I don't want to miss your party for all the butter in the county of Smaland"

Walk on the pump.
Gå på pumpen.
Trying to do something and fail.

Big pots also have ears.
Små kastruller har också öron
Children listens on adult conversation and understand more than you think.

He did not even say 'bottle'
Han sa inte ens flaska
He was silent even though a response was expected. The idiom comes from an old Albert Engström cartoon where a priest arrives to late to the death bed of an old wino. The priest ask the wino's wife if he made any confessions before passing away. The wife's reply was "He did not even say 'bottle'".

He did not say 'six thirty'
Han sa inte halv sju
He was silent.

Det är mörkt som i en smeds arsle.
It´s dark as the inside of a smith´s arse.
There are some places you never ever want to visit... When the lights go out, this phrase is usefull to express the experience of total darkness.

Now is it lighthouse in the stick
Nu är det fyr i pinnen
Now the situation is getting tense

Have you been eating barb wire, or ?
Har du käkat taggtråd eller ?
When someone is being nasty to you. Doesn't work at all in american. People only look surprised.

I'll be back, said the bitch travelling on the windmill.
Jag kommer tillbaka, sa karringen som for pa kvarnvingen.
I guess a bitch is not that easy to get rid of.....

Splush the bend, I´ve been white for a week now!
Spola kröken, jag har varit vit i en vecka nu!
Stop drinking, I've been sober for a week now!

Shit! Nor enough dung for the whole field!
Det var skit att int dynga räckte över hela tegen!
This is a rare agricultural expression used when farting.

A way of saying hello.

That was close to the eye
Det var nära ögat
That was a close shave.

Is you rump in the butterdish?
Har du rumpan i smorbyttan?
Are you all of a sudden rich?

If not if in the way was, cows in the air would fly.
Om ej om i vagen vore, kuddorna i luften fore.
If things had been different, the present situation would be different.

I senses owls in the swamp
Jag anar ugglor i mossen
anar oråd/A feeling that's something is wrong

There´s no cow on the ice
Det är ingen ko på isen
Det är ingen fara/don't worry

Buy a harbour
The capital of Denmark

this really would taste bird
Det skulle smaka fågel

there is a large risk for a grab and scramble
det ar stor risk for huggsexa
not to sure what this means , but at a guess something about first come first served.Though connotations are a little more funnier especially for British English speaking people...

Welcome if table!
Välkommen ombord!

One shall not throw a spear in row houses...
Man ska inte kasta spjut i radhus...
Ett varningens ord på vägen...

She was rather wheellegged
Hon var ganska hjulbent

You can jump up and fondle your buttocks on that!
Det kan du hoppa upp och klappa dig i baken på!
Make no misstake about this being certain/Begå inget misstag om att detta inte är säkert.

"Ferd is climbing the refrigerator like a talking horse"
Zinsk ke vinder moefel Ferd
The character "Ferd" is well known in Swedish folklore as a lovable buffon. To say that he climbs the refrigertor means that he aspires to coolness. "Like a talking horse" is an odd idiom that refers to dizziness brought on by smoke inhalation.

Jester's silly smelling.
Rackarns fånig osis.
The thing to say when everything goes bad.

Ice in the stomach
Is i magen
Means your in control of the situation - cooool

Have you sold your butter and lost the money?
Har du sålt smöret och tappat pengarna?

Du ser ledsen ut.
You look saidly.

Walking and small skipping steps
Knallar och småskuttar
Everything is cool.

Walk like the cat around hot poridge
Gå som katten kring het gröt
To talk about everything except what's really on your mind

The cat also
Katten också!
Like swearing when you hurt yourself or are mad. The same as saying : Damn

Are you dropped behind the wagon?
Är du tappad bakom vagnen?
Are you stupid or what? Or how stupid can one person be

To be behind the floating
Att vara bakom flötet
To be stupid

A wolf in sheep clothes
En ulv i fårakläder
For instance, it could be a priest who really is a bank robber.

Has one taken the devil in his boat, get he also to row him ashore.
Har man tagit fan i båten, får man också ro honom iland
Don't start something you can't finish. Or maybe, don't play with matches or you'll get burnt.

A bushy beard can't replace a clever brain
Yviga skägg kan aldrig ersätta kloka hjärnor
A beard does not a genius make

Empty barrels scrambles the most.
Tomma tunnor skramlar mest.
You think that someone is really stupid and only talks a lot rubbish.

To talk is silver, to keep silent is gold.
Att tala ar silver, att tiga ar guld.
Don't talk too much.

Rarely yawns the blue tit...
Sällan gäspar blåmesen...
Ett ordspråk att ta till när inget annat verkar passa eller om man inte lyssnat på vad personen pratat om...

If if didn't exit the bull would milk
Om inte om fanns skulle tjuren mjölka

They are as good cabbage-aholics as each other.
De är lika goda kålsupare.
The one is no better than the other in some respect.

Hoot,hoot,said the boat when the bridge went!
Tut,tut,sa båten när bryggan gick!
I don´t relly know what it´s means,but my grandmother used to say so,and now I´m going round and sying that to my freinds.

on the wallpaper
på tapeten
You use the expression "something's on the wallpaper" for example as "what's on the agenda"

Do you want to hang over with me?
Vill du hänga över med mig?
In Helsingborg the ferrys only have 20 minutes to Denmark. There you can "tura", travel back and forth and drink and drink and drink... So the question is: Do you want to join me for a "tura"?

speed control
se utfart/exit below

It´s smells you got to take
Det är smällar du får ta
Lifes school, you have to take the good with the bad. But if you dont translate smällar (punches) then you can use your nose (?!) instead.

in-worked squeeze day
If Thursday (or Tuesday) is a public holiday then Friday (or Monday) in the same week can also be taken as a holiday If you have saved up enough overtime. The Friday or Monday is "squeezed" (klämd) between the weekend and the public holiday and the overtime is in-worked (inarbetad).

Hello ´ello in the red whortleberry forest
Hej svejs i lingonskogen
Some kind of greeting I suppose? "Svejs" is probably just a reduplication of "hej".

It's taking itself, said the arsonist when his hair was on fire.
Det tar sig, sa mordbrännarn när det brann i håret.
Things are looking up. (One of my father's favorites, possibly from Blandaren, the student publication of Tekniska Högskolan, which he used to read religiously in the late 50s.)

That old man doesn't walk.
Den gubben går inte.
You can't trick me that easily./ I won't fall for it.

You honourable crook!
Du, din ärans skurk!
Swedish way of saying "You bastard!"

Is the head dumb, sheep the body suffer.
Är huvudet dumt, får kroppen lida.
To be said when somebody falls and hurts himself due to some stupid acrobatic manouver that he had no chance of doing without bodydamage in the first place.

She's a pig.
Hon aer pigg.
That is a heck of a thing to call a pretty girl!

Sorry, svenskar, that will never, never be an 'exit' to a native English speaker!

djavel, fan, satan
The complete translator of Swedish swear words to English. Add intensity by counting: seven devils, seventeen devils, seventy seven devils, etc. Really strong Swedish swearing: Oh! Fie, the devil!

Enough is best
Lagom är bäst
The most swedish idiom of all, sorry but it´s impossible to translate Lagom is in Swedish the word for something beeing -just,enough,right,adaquate. "to hot"-[lagom]-"to cold".

Do not pass the river until it has stoppet
Du ska inte hoppa över ån förrän den har runnit klart

It´s only the firstname
Det är bara förnamnet
Could be used in several situations. For example: Somethings going straight to hell and someone asks if you are doing alright.

2 lakare, som har interesser i et mejeri

Hatching with the gums
Haecka med tandkoettet

When speaking of trolls, they stand in the father's yard
När man talar om trollen, står de i farstun

Han har kastat in handuken
He have thrown in the hankerschief
He has died. Han har dött.

make magic with my knees
trolla med knäna
turn on a coin -- make things out of thin air.

sell not the skin before the bear is shot
sälja inte skinnet innan björnen är skjuten
don't count your chickens before they're hatched

But you are likewise only too plenty, only the same.
Men ni e liksom ba för mycket, liksom ba.

rarely pees a wooden horse
Sällan pinkar en trähäst

There is no cow on the is, as long as the backlegs are on land.
Det är ingen ko på isen, så länge bakbenen står på land
(You had this one before, but not the final part.) There is nothing to worry about yet.

Nothing to knit under the chair with
Inget att sticka under stolen med
That's nothing you have to hide...

more cocks make the soup worse
ju fler kockar, ju sämre soppa

Easy pucks
Lugna puckar
When something is cool, no need to worry. When doing something easy.

It is better to stop something in the basin than in the stream
Det är bättre att stämma i bäcken än i ån.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. A stitch in time saves nine.

When the cat is gone, the rats dance on the table.
När katten är borta dansar råttorna på bordet.
When the cat's away, the mice will play. (I had to add this one! I see my non-Swedish coworkers look puzzled when the Swedes laugh and nudge one another and say, "Now the rats will dance on the table!")

När man talar om trollen, så står dom i farstun!
When you're talking about the troll, he stands in the hallway!
When you're talking about someone, and he shows up. Kind a like "talking about the devil".

Is it really the birthday of the horse today?
Va, har hästen födelsedag i dag?
Someone has cut a too great piece of bread. Maybe rural.

A lot of scream for that small amount of wool, he said when he cut the hair of the pig.
Mycket skrik för lite ull, sa han som klippte grisen.
When you are disappointed over the tiny result from all effort

Rather a little shit in the corners than a clean hell
Hellre lite skit i hörnen än ett rent helvete
Work on your sexlife instead of argueing over who should clean the apartment, how often it should be done and when it should be done.

Make a chicken out of a feather
Göra en höns av en fjäder
Make a mountain out of a molehill

Don't shout hello until you have crossed the stream.
Ropa inte hej förräns du har kommit över bäcken.
Don't count your chickens until they've hatched.

To take cabbage upon someone
Att ta kål på någon
To kill someone

Slow in the slopes
Sakta i backarna!

the dog eats where the swede sleeps
gersvil ol erd alkae ttijj
swedes are animals not even respected by dogs (or dogs eat off swedish beds)

shit the same
skit samma

There's no danger on the roof
Det är ingen fara på taket
Du behöver inte stressa

Who are you for a one? I cannot feel again you
Vad ar du for en? Jag kanner inte igen dig

Oh, seventeen!
Å, sjutton!
I am surprised to hear that

The way you are making your bed you have to lie down
Som man bäddar får man ligga
You have to take the consseguenses of your own behaviour

What rattles the spider?
Vad sprattlar spindeln?
What time is it?

He'll get his fish warm
Han kommer att få sina fiskar varma
He'll get his just desserts

Evil powder will not perish easily.
Ont krut förgås inte så lätt.
'Ont krut' (=evil powder) from german 'Unkraut' (=weed) i.e. blatant mistranslation!

Melts like childshit in your mouth
Smälter som barnskit i munnen
You say this when something is really good! Mmmm, just imagine.

Jump and shit and get striped legs!
Hoppa och skit och få randiga ben
Get off my case you stupid sucker!

A flyshit in universe
En flugskit i universum
Something really not important.

No, here is no children being made.
Nej, har blir inga barn gjorda.
Let's go!

Better a bird in the hand than 10 in the forest
bättre en fågel i handen än 10 i skogen

What are you for a one? I don't feel again you!
Vad är du för en? Jag känner inte igen dig!

A quarter past the crack in the glass
Kvart över sprickan i glaset
Simply a saying for "I don´t know"

Hit you down
Sla dig ner

Don't paint the devil on the wall!
Måla inte fan på väggen!

Morning moment has gold in mouth.
Morgonstund har guld i mun.
Similar English ideom:The early bird catches the worm.

Here lies a dog buried
Här ligger en hund begraven.
There is something fishy going on.

He threw the spoon.
Han kastade sleven
"He died." Found in Southern Swedish-speaking Finland. Very strange expression.

Mr. God, even/nevertheless
Herre Gud, ändåå!
Herre means "lord" as well. Statment of surprise, mostly used by women.

Heaven and pancake!
Himmel och pankaka!
Another expression of mild surprise

Jesus in Paris!
Jesus i Paris!
Extreme surprise or amazement. "Doesn't that beat all?" Doesn't make a great deal of sense in Swedish either, but there you are.

Quickly connected, half burned.
Friskt kopplat, hälften brunnet!
Mean that if you build something fast, you have to expect it to fail. (Murphys' law)

Don't drop the suck!
Tappa inte sugen!
The thing is, the meaning of this is basically don't give up. But that doesn't really capture the subtle nuance of the original swedish - you have to ask a native.

How plenty is the bell?
Hur mycket är klockan?
Bad translation on "What time is it" Hur mycket-How plenty är-is, "klockan" is the same word in swedish for watch and bell

Begin on a new marble
Börja på ny kula
To start all over again

Up as a sun, down as a pancake
Upp som en sol, ner som en pannkaka
It started out well but ended in disaster

It became a thumb
Det bidde en tumme
It started up with great visions but ended up as a fiasco.

I will fling myself in the shower
Jag ska slänga mig i duschen
I am going to take a shower

I'm barescraped
Jag är barskrapad!
I'm stony broke - Jag är stenbruten

The Sea sucks
Sjön suger
You always get extra hungry when you are on the sea, so a meal when you get home will taste much better than otherwise.

Hello what it goes!
Hej vad det går!
Things are going smooth and fast

Are yoo good in the head, or?
Eru go' i huve', eller?
Are you nuts?

Are you dry behind your ears?
Är du torr bakom öronen?
Are you unexperienced

Speak out of the beard
Tala ur skägget
Speak up or clearer

Laughs best that laughs last
Skrattar bäst som skrattar sist
The correct English saying would be "he who laughs last, laughs longest", but even trying to say that is enough to make anyone laugh...

There's a lot now
De' e mycke' nu
This peculiar saying is (or was?) often used when there is a lot going on around you.

It you don´t put you in, need you not pull out of.
Det man inte lägger sig i, behöver man inte dra sig ur.
Don´t interfeer!, Don´t put yor nose where it doesn´t belong.

Law about is best
Lagom är bäst
Not to much, not to little, but just right, is best.

The lazy one would rather carry himself to death, then walk two times.
den late bär hellre ijäl sig, än gå två gånger.
Does not your mother tell you this when you trying to clean the table in one go?

"close" doesn't shoot/kill the hare/rabbit
"Nara skjuter ingen hare"
When one says "I was close" your reply would be as above.

Here is your pay for old cheese
Här får du betalt för gammal ost
To hit back

Don´t say hello, until you are over the river
Säg inte hej, förrän du är över ån
Well, kind of:Don´t celelebrate something, ´til you´re sure...

This does not give bread, not even a loaf
Detta ger icke bröd, ej heller limpa.
Used when you are going to do something you were supposed to do much earlier.

It is STOP !
Det är halt !
To say it's slippery.

Does the cellular phone shit in the forest?
Skiter nallen i skogen ?
Confusing ?? Well, it is a way to say "YES" when asked a stupid question.

Become on the bang.
Bli på smällen
To become pregnant.

Lonesome is strong
Ensam är stark
To my mind, this idiom sucks.

My heavy coin.
Min tunga slant.
"Slip of the tounge."

What does he have in his binoculars
Vad har han i kikaren
You can ask this about a person who is up to something, i.e. "What is he up to?"

(You already have this one, but the English saying 'A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush' is the exact equivalent. Of course, we are only 20% as uninterested in uncaught birds.)
Bättre en fågel i handen än tio i skogen

To hit a drill.
Att slå en drill.
To pee. (Usally in the summer :-) ?). Jag går ut och slår en drill. Han är bakom busken och slår en drill. etc.

Don´t throw pigs in a planthouse.
Kasta inte gris i glashus.

How plenty is the bell?
Hur mycket ör klockan?

He has Santa Clauses on the attic.
Han har tomtar på loftet.
He is out of his mind.

Snazzy without being gaudy, said the Devil, dyed his tail grass green
Snyggt utan att vara pråligt, sa' fan och måla' svansen gräsgrön
Proud exclmatation upon completing a job done just right; in Sweden, even the Devil knows what "lagom" is.

To walk in the roof
Att gå i taket
Actually means to be really pissed off.

You lucky cheese
Din lyckans ost
Said when something good has happend to another person, to let him know that youre a bit envious of him.

He had a fox behind his ear
Han hade en räv bakom örat
Equals the English idiom: "He had something upp his sleeve" ("Han hade något uppe i örmen (?)")

Would you like coffee on the food ?
Vill du ha kaffe på maten ?
Would you like coffee after you finish your meal ?

what you say and what the cat shits I put on the same pile!
Vad du säger och vad katta skiter lägger jag på samma hög!
You can talk but I won't listen!

Clear as sausage water.
Klart som korvspad.
Something is really obvious.

They are like like berries
De är lika som bär
They look just the same

Pepper, pepper take in wood
Peppar, Peppar ta i trö

Don't buy the pig in the sack!
Köp inte grisen i säcken!
That you should know exactly what you are buying.

Sourly said the fox about the rowanberries.
Surt sa räven om rönnbären
That you can be a bad loser.

Now it's dangerous legs in the potatoes
Nu ar det farliga ben i potatisen
To say when you know something that can suddenly change the situation. 'It isn't so easy that it appears to be'

Do you shark
Hajar du?
Get it, when you try to explain something to someone

From tell to made is the jump great
Från sagt och gjort är språnget stort
It is always good to make long jumps when you are doing what you are talking about or what????

Look you not if
Se dig inte om
Don´t look back

Selldom are the cows jumping backwords up i the appletrees to snatch pears!
Sällan hoppar korna baklänges upp i äppelträden och pallar päron!
A complicated way of saying that something is impossible.

Driven in the bottom
Körd i botten
Run down, worn out

Blown on the candy
Blåst på konfekten
Fooled, or cheated out of something you'd expected.

Are you clean out and bicycling?
Är du rent ute och cycklar?
Rhetorically: You're talking nonsense or doing something the wrong way (completely).

Järnspikar !!!

This way no children will be made
Så här blir inga barn gjorda
It's time to break up and leave (or do something else)

Shit the same
Skit det samma
It doesn`t matter, Who cares..

Don't sell the skin until you have shot the bear
Sälj inte skinnet förrän björnen är skjuten
You get it.

Let's drag!
Vi drar!
Let's go.

That was a real memory beet
Det var en riktig minnesbeta
"That taught you right"

First to the mill is first able to grind
Först till kvarn får först mala
Den som är först är säker på att få del av något som det inte finns så mycket kvar av The one who's first is sure of getting a part of something that it is not so much left of.

Now shall you not lay the nose in wet
Nu ska du inte lägga näsan i blöt!
"Mind your own business"

Late shall the sin wake up
Sent ska syndarn vakna

Staple peas in the attic
Trava ärtor på vinden
Be lost in conversation

Now you cycle in the bathtub!
Nu cyklar du väl i badkaret!
"You don't know what you are talking about"

Have you eaten drop porridge?
Har du käkat tapp-gröt?
When someone keeps dropping things

A man with barley in his back
En karl med råg i ryggen
"Straight as a ramrod"

Mothers pigs are we all
Morsgrisar är vi allihopa
Everyone is a child at heart

One shall be around oneself and about oneself to get something in oneself and on oneself
Man ska va' om sig och kring sig för att få nå't i sig och på sig
To provide for yourself you have to make an effort

Better one bird in the hand than ten in the forest
Bättre en fågel i handen än tio i skogen
One is better than nothing

Shall vi drag?
Ska vi dra?
"Let's go, eh?"

Take you in the fire!
Ta'rej i brasan!
"Get stuffed" as they say Down Under

No, now walks shame on dry land
Nä, nu går skam på torra land
"I can't believe she actually did that" or similar

Make magic with your kneecaps
Trolla med knäna
To get something that is obviosly impossible to get.

I wasn't born in a doorway.
Jag inte född i farstun.
I am not stupid. I wasn't born yesterday.

Speak is silver but shut up is gold
Tala är silver men tiga är guld
It´s better to be quiet than talk without thinking

To throw a goat's eye.
Att kasta ett getöga
Take a quick look. As in: "Ta och kasta ett getöga på våra ordspråk" -- "Take and throw a goat's eye at our wordsayings.

No, drag on threes
Nä, dra på trissor
When something takes un unexpected turn in a positive sense

Eat steel and shit chains
Käka stål och skita kätting
Be a really tough guy

hit a seven
slå en sjua
to pee

put the goat as a gardener
sätta bocken som trädgårdemästare
When somone is put to do a thing he really can´t do. Example: To employ a blind to read the eveningnews on TV.

small pots also got ears
små grytor har ocksa öron
Small children understands more than you think they do.

I sense owls in the moss
Jag anar ugglor i mossen
Something feels wrong.

How stand it to? -It´s banging and walking!
Hur står det till? -Det knallar och går!
How are you? -Life goes on!

Look at the Devil!
Se på fan!
"I'll be damned!" would be an appropriate translation.

Having the thumb in the middle of the hand
Ha tummen mitt i handen
This is used to describe that someone is not very technical. Kind of like 'having two left thumbs'.

drink one's head off
supa skallen av sig
get exremely drunk/wasted/plastered etc. etc.

Traveller's onething
Resandes ensak
This is an old one ... in one of the medieval province laws, it was stated: "biter so taska av, resandes ensak". That is, if you are a traveller visiting the outhouse of the inn, and the local sow bites of what appears above, BLAME YOURSELF! The innkeepers were happy withthe apragraph. Nowaday, it's like saying, "you're doing a stupid thing, but that's your problem".

Offer bread to the baker´s children
Bjuda bröd till bagarbarn
"Carry coals to Newcastle"

Better be out on slippery ice and have it sleek, than go in mud and sludge
Bättre vara ute på hal is och ha det glatt, än gå i lera och sörja
Don´t worry - be happy!

Throw the axe in the lake
Kasta yxan i sjön
To give up

Beat two flies in one bang
Slå två flugor i en smäll
Get two results with one action

The taste is like the bum - divided
Smaken är som baken - delad
Tastes differ

Pretend that it rains
Låtsas som det regnar
Behave as if nothing were the matter

Be hot on the porridge
Vara het på gröten
To be VERY eager about something

Walk like the cat around hot porridge
Gå som katten kring het gröt
Beat about the bush

It touches me not in the back
Det rör mig inte i ryggen
I couldn´t care less!

Much one shall hear before the ears fall off
Mycket ska man höra innan örona trillar av
I´ve never heard such a thing!

Grasp the gallop
Fatta galoppen
Catch the drift

Flush the bend!
Spola kröken!
Don´t drink! (This used to be the official slogan of Systembolaget (The National Liquor Store Company).

April, April your stupid herring, i can cheat you werever i want!
April, April din dumma sill. Jag kan lura dig vart jag vill!
The english phrase of "April fool..."

Shot yourself and shit on others
sköt dig själv och skit i andra
Take care of your own business

A pink in the sea
En pink i havet
pink = piss. Also equivalent: "En fis i vinden" = "A fart in the wind", or "En loska i rymden" = "A spit in space". Example usage: "Even if I stop polluting the earth, it won't matter, it's just a..."

The one who yawns after much, looses often whole part
Den som gapar efter mycket, mister ofta hela stycket
"The one who wants to have to much, often looses it all"

It shrieks to clear one self out of the road with the waist intact.
Det gäller att klara sig undan med livet i behåll
The important thing [here] is to get away alive.

You are walking me on the nerves
Du går mej på nerverna
You drive me nuts! Funny retranslation to swedish: Du promenerar mig på nerverna.

Leave someone wind by wave.
Lämna någon vind för våg.
To to totally abandon someone.

Hello jump in the blueberry forest!
Hej hopp i blåbärsskogen!
A cheerful expression to be used when you are a bit surprised.

Better a bird in your hand than ten in the woods
Bättre en fågel i handen än tio i skogen
I think the english translation would be: Be happy with what you have.(Typical swedish!)

Don't yell hi until you're over the stream
Ropa inte hej förräns du är över bäcken..
Swedish pessimism telling you not to say "I made it" until you really reached the goal you set up.

It was a real sea-battle
Det var ett riktigt sjoslag
A party that got just a little bit wet......!!!!!!!

Now the boiled pork is fried
Nu är det kokta fläsket stekt
Equal to american phrase "now you're in deep shit"/Synonymt med amerkanska frasen "nu är du i djup skit"

Now it is driven!
Nu aer det kört!
"Now it is too late", "It is all over"?

Put your legs on your the back.
Lägga benen på ryggen.
Run extremely fast, maybe to get away from something dangerous.

How stands it to?
Hur står det till?
Swedish phrase for "How are you?". How you can ask people in what why they are standing beats me!!

you are shit silly
du är skitlöjlig
This a pretty unknown thing..but very common to say in Borlänge :)

To put onion on the salmon
Att lägga lök på laxen
To make things even worse...

take your Peter out of school
ta sin Pelle ur skolan
Beats Me! Perhaps someone trying to prevent things before they happened?

dropped behind a wagon
tappad bakom en vagn
Being daft. Usage as in 'Are you dropped behind a wagon?' or as in the self-hyping 'I'm not dropped behind a wagon, you know!'

Pee and go lie down!
Kissa och gå lägg dig!
It just means, "calm down," although it seems odd to tell someone to pee and then lie down. ("There?!?") I still like the phrase, though.

Shoot around yourself!
Sköt om Dig!
A basic "take care" that sounds funny with a slight alteration to the conjugation of the verb "shot".

What has happend? Have you been overdriven by the train?
Vad har hänt? Har du blivit överkord av tåget?
Overkord -- Overdriven

I have slow
Jag har långsamt

curious in a cone
nyfiken i en strut
someone who is very nosey. i don't have a clue as to where the cone enters into it :).

I'm sucked
Jag är sugen
possibly "I'm the suck". means "I have the munchies" or "I feel like ...". the preposition to be used is "på (on)", i.e. "I am the suck on a lingonberry".

Get your thumb out of the hedge!
Få tummen ur häcken!
Get on with it!!!

Grab yourself in the hedge!
Ta dig i häcken!
Hedge also means Ass in swedish. The meaning of the phrase is: I DON'T THINK SO.....

like a fart behind the victors of Lebanon
som en prutt bakom Libanons segrare
med skyndsamhet, som pappa brukade säga

Belt yourself!
Skärp dig!

I don't recognize myself.
Jag känner inte igen mig.
I don't recognize this place.

No danger on the roof.
Ingen fara pa taket.
... as Ingemar Johansson once said. It means that there is no danger.

Give the iron!
Ge järnet!
Ge järnet means "Go on, hurry up" or "do the best you can"

Thanks on forehand.
Tack på förhand.
Another way to end a letter/conversation. Used to thank someone for a favor just asked. Perhaps it should be signed "Mr/s Tennis"?

Are you pig and cry today?
Är ni pigga och krya idag?
Meaning something like "Are you hale and hearty today?" Overheard at Arlanda airport when an elderly lady were seeing off her American friends. (True!! Honestly!!) And they seemed to understand what she meant to say.

Is it possible overheadtaken?
Är det överhuvudtaget möjligt?
"Is it possible at all?" would be the correct phrase.

Walk over the creek after water!
Gå över ån efter vatten!
It means to make something more difficult than it is!

Throw your self in the river!
Släng dig i älven!
It means get lost!

Pull to where the pepper grows!
Dra dit pepparn växer!
It´s similar with "Go to hell" but nicer.

We are visible!
Vi syns!
See you later

Hear you you you! What are you holding on with?!
Hör du du du! Vad håller du på med?!
Hey you! What are you doing?!

Hello on you!
Hej på dig!
Informal greeting- "How ya doin'?" might be an English equivalent.

Give me the rake
Ge mig krattan
Let's shake hands ie Give me your hand(rake) so we can shake hands

Beat your self down.
Slå dig ner.
Sit down, please.

Now you have shit in the blue cupboard.
Nu har du skitit i det blå skåpet.
When you really have made a fool out of yourself.

Sold the butter and lost your money.
Sålt smöret och tappat pengarna.
When someone seems depressed.

Get off my back, boy!
Stig av min rygg, pojk!
Should be obvious!

Freshly dared, half won
Friskt vågat, hälften vunnit
Great idiom, but couldn't it be more accurately rendered as :"To dare is half the battle"?

No matter how you twist and turn your butt is always in the back.
Hur man än vänder sig är alltid ändan bak.
The saying reflects that there are certain things you cannot effect, they are just the way they are.

To jump into a crazy barrel
Att hoppa i galen tunna
More correct:To bark up the wrong tree

Pierce and burn
Stick och brinn
A mild way of saying "go to hell" to someone. Go away and burn is more correct.

get the butt out of the wagon
få ändan ur vagnen
Used for example like this: He has to get the butt out of the wagon and start working now. I e, if you are procrastinating for something, you need to get the butt out of the wagon and get started.

Cross in the ceiling!
Kors i taket!
Belive it or not! Skulle kunna vara den mer troliga kommentaren när man överraskas över att något verkligen hänt som man trodde aldrig skulle hända.

He drank himself behind the ears!
Han drack sig bakom örorna!
He got loaded!

How's the lay?
Hur är läget?
What's up?

pig bites will come back
Svinhugg går igen

Take the long leg before!
Ta det långa benet före!
Skynda dig!/ Hurry up!

He has planted his last potato
Han har satt sin sista potatis
He's had it

It only ran out in the sand.
Det bara rann ut i sanden.
Its a saying like "Nothing became of it".

Drag me on a pine-twig wagon
Dra mig på en tallpinnevagn
No kidding! Don't try to fool me!

What are you for one, I don't feel again you?
Vad är du för en, jag känner inte igen dig?
Who are you? I don't recognize you.

Dont put your nose in wet
Lägg inte näsan i blöt
Mind your own buisness...

Pull to the forest.
Dra åt skogen!
Aww, get outta here! ie You're kidding!

Dropped behind an elevator
Tappad bakom en hiss
Being lost/dumb.

Have a iron for hell!
Ta dej ett järn för fasen!
Have a drink!! .... but with a strong accent.

There's a dog buried here!
Här ligger en hund begraven!
There's something fishy going on!

What in the whole peace hold you on with?!
Vad i hela friden håller du på med?!
Sort of: What on earth are you doing?!

The cow is on the ice
Vi har ko po isen
We're in deep trouble (with a slight nuance of the absurd and intractable

Where took the road the road? We are out on a field and field!
Vart tog vägen vägen? Vi är ute på en åker och åker!
Where did the road go? We are out travelling on a field!

Slowly in the slopes!
Sakta i backarna!
Take it easy!

Paddle and turn over
Paddla och Vält
The phrase is sort of a nicer "go to hell", used in southwestern parts of the country. Has a tremendous offending effect on americans in its translation.

Drag me backwards!
Dra mig baklänges!

cake on top of cake
Tårta på tårta
Something that's redundant or too much of a good thing. Kind of like "gilding the lily."

I give seventeen in that
Det ger jag sjutton i
I don't give a damn

How much yawns the cracker?
Hur mycket gäspar skorpan?
Stockholm slang for "what time is it?"

It burns in the knots
Det brinner i knutarna
Expression for being in a REAL hurry.

That was like the cat
Det var som katten
Idiomatic expression - that's amazing!

Not much to hang in the christmas tree
Inte mycket att hänga i julgranen
To say that something is not worth much. It has been said that Carl Bildt said it in US when he was where. Unaware of it just beeing a swedish idiom...

With his beard in the mailbox
Med skägget i brevlådan
Caught by surprise; caught with his pants down; överrumplad.

He doesn't have clean flour in the bag
Han har inte rent mjöl i påsen
He has something up his sleeve; he's up to something.

Then hears we, and have it so good.
Då hörs vi, och ha det så bra.
This is a general greeting at the end of a conversation where the the first phrase implies that you have agreed to get in touch again and the second wishes the second party well until then.

I have never heard on husband
Jag har aldrig hört på maken
I've never heard anything more outrageous

It snuck itself.
Det smoeg sig.
It didn't work.

I don't feel again myself.
Jag känner inte igen mig.
I am not familiar with the surroundings.

How much am I guilty?
Hur mycket är jag skyldig?
"How much do I owe you", would be more ideomatic.

In the Count's time
I grevens tid
Just in time; in the nick of time

Throw yourself against the wall!
Släng dig i väggen!
Roughly, "Go to hell" or something like that. Perhaps a little milder than that, like "get outta here!".
David Curle

copyright ©