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Norwegian expression of the day: å ha is i magen

Norwegians are often so logical and prepared, one could claim their society has "is i magen".

Do Norwegians have ice in their veins or ice in their stomachs?
Do Norwegians have ice in their veins or ice in their stomachs? Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why should I know this?

If you’re unaware of what this expression means, you may be confused if you take the directly translated meaning literally. If your colleague or friend is talking about having is i magen,  it has nothing to do with their stomach being cold. Well, unless they just ate three ice creams. 

What does it mean? 

Directly translated to English, å ha is i magen means, “to have ice in your stomach”. It really means to be calm and sensible. Norwegians often use it as a reminder to think logistics through before they make a decision.  

It means don’t act too fast before you consider the final outcome. It is similar to the expression in English, “put it on ice” when one is talking about holding off on making a decision. Similar but not exact. Å ha is i magen is an expression that refers to staying in or finding the right emotional state before taking action. 

When are the best situations to have ice in your stomach? 

Wanting to increase your bid when buying an apartment? Du burde ha is i magen, or “you should have ice in your stomach” before you blow your budget.

Are you considering selling some valuable stocks now? Or maybe you’re going to ha is i magen, and wait to see if they are worth more later. 

Are you annoyed with your boss and are considering sending a rather terse email? Why don’t you sleep on it, ha is i magen, and consider how you feel in the morning before pressing send. 

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Norwegian word of the day: Tropenatt 

If it’s been hot and humid throughout the day, then the chances are that a ‘tropenatt’ will follow, making it hard to fall asleep. 

Norwegian word of the day: Tropenatt 

What does it mean? 

Tropenatt means “tropical night” in English. It is formed by compounding the words for tropical and night. 

Given that Norway is a country perhaps more famous for its cold winters than warm weather, you may find it surprising that the language has a word for sweltering evenings. 

A tropenatt is an evening where the temperature doesn’t drop below 20C between 8pm and 8am. Apparently, tropical nights are the most common along the Oslo Fjord. The reason for this is that high sea temperatures in the area contribute to the frequency of tropical nights. 

Why do I need to know this? 

Seeing as the winters in Norway are so cold, homes in the country are designed to hold heat as much as possible. Therefore, if you see a tropenatt mentioned by anyone or in the forecast, you can probably expect an uncomfortable night’s sleep. 

However, if you’ve adopted a few Norwegian habits or home design cues, you may be prepared to combat warm sticky nights. 

This is because Norwegians (and Scandinavians as a whole) will sleep with two single duvets rather than one double one. 

This helps one deal with a tropical night as single duvets allow people to regulate their temperature better when they sleep. Poor temperature regulation and struggles with a large shared duvet contribute to a worse night’s sleep, according to experts.

Use it like this: 

Det er kjempevarmt i dag, og ifølge værmeldingen skal de bli tropenatt I natt også. 

(It’s super hot today, and according to the weather forecast, it’s meant to be a tropical night tonight too.)

 Jeg var så varm i natt. Det var 30 grader og tropenatt. 

(I was so hot last night. It was 30 degrees and a tropical night.)