Untranslatable Norwegian words described using Instagram

Pålegg. Photo Credit: Marija Tiurina

Having been an exchange student for a few months in Dublin, I have realized that some Norwegian words are almost impossible to translate to English. Most of the time there are words in English that are similar enough so I can make myself understood, but it is not the same.

Described by Instagram pictures found from hashtags, here is a list of Norwegian words I have been missing in the English language:


[slideshow_deploy id=’23047′]


The Danes may have hyggebut Norwegians have the word koselig which is very similar. Everything can be koselig, like friluftsliv. The noun of the word kos is especially important on Fridays, when every Norwegian tries to get have the ultimate Friday feeling described as fredagskos.


Kvelds. Photo Credit: Natalie Totland (@natalietotland)

I think my favourite meal of the day is kvelds and it is a meal I look forward to enjoy when I am going back to Norway. Sort of like an evening breakfast it includes milk, bread and lots of…pålegg:


Pålegg. Photo Credit: Marija Tiurina (@marijatiurina)

What do you call the toppings, spreads and cold cuts you put on a sandwich? Pålegg!


[slideshow_deploy id=’23036′]


Friluftsliv directly translates to ‘free air life’ and even though it is similar to the word outdoors, the word has great cultural impact on the Norwegian culture.


Utepils – to enjoy beer outside. Photo Credit: Hanne Hansen (@hahansen90)

Utepils is a word like no other in any languages. Meaning basically to enjoy beer outside, it is a sign of the end of winter when Norwegians can finally have their utepils again.

Do you know any words that does not translate well to English? Leave a comment below.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.