Typical Swedish words, phrases, sayings & idioms – and their Swedish to English translations!

What the he** are the Swedes actually saying? Swedish Deconstructed is the place where you’ll find the funniest typical Swedish expressions with their literal and actual Swedish to English translations.

  • När man talar om trollen så står de i farstun

    Literal translation:

    When talking about the trolls they stand in the vestibule

    Meaning: Speak of the devil and he shall appear.

  • Att ha råg i ryggen

    Literal translation:

    To have rye in the back

    Meaning: To be brave/strong/perseving/of good character.

  • Kofångare

    Literal translation:

    Cow catcher

    Meaning: Front bumper on a car.

  • Att trolla med knäna

    Literal translation:

    To do magic tricks with the knees

    Meaning: To achieve the impossible with ease.

  • Att sko sig på någon

    Literal translation:

    To shoe onself on someone

    Meaning: To exploit someone.

  • Full i sjutton

    Literal translation:

    Full in seventeen

    Meaning: Fill of mischeif.

  • Spola kröken

    Literal translation:

    Flush the bend

    Meaning: Stop drinking.

  • Att vara lite glad i hatten

    Literal translation:

    To be a little happy in the hat

    Meaning: To be a bit drunk.

  • Låt mig suga på den karamellen

    Literal translation:

    Let me suck on that piece of candy

    Meaning: Said when you want to reflect on something.

  • Att sitta med skägget i brevlådan

    Literal translation:

    To sit with the beard in the mailbox

    Meaning: To be in a predicament.

  • Kroppkakor

    Literal translation:

    Body cookies

    Meaning: A Swedish dish.

  • Att vara lite på kanelen

    Literal translation:

    To be a little on the cinnamon

    Meaning: To be drunk.

  • Att vara pang på rödbetan

    Literal translation:

    To be bang on the beetroot

    Meaning: To get straight to the point.

  • Toffelhjälte

    Literal translation:

    Slipper hero

    Meaning: A man who is completely under the control of his woman.

  • Det vet i katten

    Literal translation:

    That knows in the cat

    Meaning: I have no idea.

  • Han har satt sin sista potatis

    Literal translation:

    He has put his last potato

    Meaning: Said about someone who has done something for the last time.

  • Heja Sverige friskt humör, det är det som susen gör!

    Literal translation:

    Cheer Sweden healthy temper, that is what the swoosh does!

    Meaning: Swedish sport chant (no further explanation available).

  • Den gubben gick inte!

    Literal translation:

    That old man didn't walk!

    Meaning: You can't fool me.

  • I grevens tid

    Literal translation:

    In the time of the count

    Meaning: At the eleventh hour.

  • Att göra sin gubbe

    Literal translation:

    To do one's old man

    Meaning: Dribbling past an opponent (sports).

  • I bara mässingen

    Literal translation:

    In just the brass

    Meaning: In the nude.

  • Ont krut förgås inte så lätt

    Literal translation:

    Evil gunpowder doesn't perish so easily

    Meaning: Bad weeds grow tall.

  • Tjoflöjt!

    Literal translation:

    Yo flute!

    Meaning: Old greeting phrase.

  • Att ha huvudet på skaft

    Literal translation:

    To have the head on a handle

    Meaning: To be alert.

  • Att torska

    Literal translation:

    To cod

    Meaning: To lose.

  • Att vara om sig och kring sig

    Literal translation:

    To be about oneself and around oneself

    Meaning: Continuosly trying to gain small (economic) advantages.

  • Att ana ugglor i mossen

    Literal translation:

    To sense owls in the swamp

    Meaning: To suspect something.

  • Att glida in på en räkmacka

    Literal translation:

    To slide in on a shrimp sandwich

    Meaning: Achieving something without effort.

  • Att slå en sjua

    Literal translation:

    To punch a seven

    Meaning: To pee.

  • Att vara lite på lyset

    Literal translation:

    To be a little on the light

    Meaning: To be a bit drunk.

  • Din lyckans ost!

    Literal translation:

    You cheese of happiness!

    Meaning: What you say to someone who's really (undeservedly) lucky.

  • Buksvåger

    Literal translation:

    Belly brother-in-law

    Meaning: A guy that has had sex with the same person as you.

  • Att visa var skåpet ska stå

    Literal translation:

    To show where the closet shall stand

    Meaning: To be in charge.

  • Att inte ha alla indianer i kanoten

    Literal translation:

    Not to have all the native americans in the canoe

    Meaning: To be a bit stupid.

  • Att ta kål på någon

    Literal translation:

    To take cabbage on someone

    Meaning: To kill someone.