Swedish word of the day: tisdag

the word tisdag written on a blackboard next to the swedish flag
Tisdag is the Swedish word for Tuesday, but what does it mean? Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
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Tisdag is the Swedish word for Tuesday.

It’s named after the Old Norse god Tyr; in other words tisdag means “Tyr’s day”.

Tuesday is dies Martis in Latin, Mars’ day, which you’ll see in languages with Latin roots such as French (mardi) and Italian (martedì). There is a clear connection between the two: Tyr is often thought of as the counterpart to the Roman god of war, Mars.

Tyr isn’t one of the most famous Norse deities today. In Icelandic poet Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda, the most important source material from the 13th century, his crowning glory is an incident where he gets his hand bitten off by Fenrir, a wolf in Norse mythology.

During Ragnarök, the great battle of the end times, the prophecy states that Tyr will fight – and kill and be killed by – Garm, the dog that guards the gates of death kingdom Hel.

For now, his main contribution to Sweden other than giving Tuesday its name, is that he appears in several place names across Scandinavia, such as the Swedish east coast town Tierp, Tyringe in southern region Skåne, or Thisted in Denmark and Tysnes in Norway.

Tuesday is, since 1972, the second day of the Swedish week.


Vi ses på tisdag!

I’ll see you on Tuesday!

Brukar du äta semlor på fettisdagen?

Do you usually eat semlor [a popular Swedish pastry] on Shrove Tuesday?

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