Mar 9, 2016

Etymology Expeditions: Swedish Words

I just got back from Stockholm, so I thought we'd explore some Swedish words this week.

Here's a few that are like candy for your ears and make you smile:

Kackerlacka means "cockroach," but isn't it a fun word? We get the English word "cockroach" from Spanish cucaracha "beetle," and this sounds similar enough that the roots might be similar. The Swedish word apparently comes from Dutch, but that's as far back as I got with the etymology.  

Sliddersladder means "gossip." Sounds like it, right?

Lillgammal means precocious, but literally little-old. We have this same one in Finnish, borrowed from our Swedish neighbours, no doubt.

And here are a few beautifully weird ones:

Trollslända means dragonfly, but the literal translation is "troll's spindle."

Smultronställe, metaphor for an idyllic spot, literally "wild strawberry place."

Fattiga riddare "poor knights" are actually French toast.

Formgivare means designer, but literally it's somewhat poetic "giver of form."

Fun, huh?

If you have a favourite I missed, feel free to post it in the comments.

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