Last chance to vote: What’s the best word in the Swedish language?

Last chance to vote: What's the best word in the Swedish language?
Speak now or forever hold your peace. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT
The Local's readers nominated more than 100 Swedish words to our competition. Here's a final shortlist – it's now time to pick a winner.

Thanks to everyone who took part in the first round of voting. The final shortlist is based on the number of nominations the words received, with our jury given the final say whenever a tiebreaker was needed.

Click below to upvote your favourite. You can still vote, but the competition closes at 7am (Sweden time) on Tuesday.

 

VOTE: What's the best word in the Swedish language?

Upvote your favourite word and help The Local pick the best word in the Swedish language.

 

Lagom

A famously untranslatable (although one of The Local's writers disagrees) Swedish word, lagom means 'just the right amount' or 'in moderation'. Mulana from Indonesia, one of the readers who nominated it, writes: “It is a good way of thinking that we are equal with others. And we are not more special than others. It makes us respect others.”

 

Ö

One letter, one word. Ö means 'island'. “It's one letter long but because Sweden has lots of water bodies and thus islands, you see ö everywhere,” writes Robin Joseph from India.

 

Jordgubbe

Jordgubbe means 'strawberry'. But as Cheyenne Wolf from Florida points out, “the literal meaning is 'old earth man'. It's so funny and cute”.

 

Fika

Fika is the Swedish word for enjoying a coffee and cake, often with a friend or colleagues. “It brings everyone together,” writes Peggy Schaefer from the US.

 

Sköldpadda

Sköldpadda means 'turtle', but its literal meaning is 'shield toad', which several readers found amusing. “Shield. Toad. A turtle has never sounded so badass,” writes Lindsey Higgins from the US.

Fart

Fart means 'speed' in Swedish (in case you're wondering, the English fart would be fis or prutt in Swedish) and also exists in words such as infart and utfart ('entrance' and 'exit' for cars). Sailesh Kesavan from India was one of several readers who said infart “makes me giggle like a child”.

 

Bra

Bra means 'good' and you'll often hear it as jättebra ('very good') in response to suggestions. Claudia Colantonio writes that “the meaning is positive and even a non-Swedish person can sound Swedish when they say it!”

 

Oj

Oj is a catch-all expression for feelings of surprise when something unexpected happens (anything from 'oops' to 'wow' or 'oh dear').  “I can honestly say I have never come across a more expressive, versatile word in any other language. 'Wow' in English can be used in some cases, but, for instance, it doesn’t express sympathy or compassion nearly as well as 'oj…' can,” writes a Canadian reader who wished to remain anonymous.

 

Tjena

Tjena is a casual word for 'hello'. “The sound has a touch of dearness, when I hear this word my heart smiles,” writes Jyothi Pala from India.

 

Varsågod

Varsågod is usually translated as 'you're welcome' but can also mean 'here you go'. “Polite for all occasions,” writes Steve Gorman from the UK.

 


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