“What is stekare?” Swedish slang words and sayings to learn

Even if you study Swedish you might not be taught all the necessary words at school… I noticed this when I moved here and started interacting with Swedes on social media and especially on Tinder. Swedish language has many slang words and sayings they use in informal communication. They have also borrowed a number of words from the English language, for instance the word “cool” is used Swedish as well. For most people it’s pretty obvious what cool means, but I’ve run into a number of words I had no clue what they mean, so I wanted to share them with you. I also asked some Swedes what slang words they’d recommend foreigners to learn and added them to my list.

I’d like to thank my classmates who taught me the word “stekare” and inspired me to look deeper into the Swedish language.

1. Tja! = Someone started a conversation on Tinder by typing “Tja!”, it means hello. The words I had learned were Hej, Tjenare and Hejsan.

2. Bakis = If you are bakis, you’re hungover.

3. Fjortis = Comes from the word “fjortonåring” (14-year-old), but can be used to refer to a person in any age group. An immature person who wears a lot of makeup, consumes alcohol, enjoys parties and wears provocative clothing.

4. Kanon = I asked someone “How are you?” The answer was “Kanon här!” the formal meaning is cannon, weapon or gun, but in this case it meant “Great!”

5. Swisha = Swish is a popular mobile application for transferring money in Sweden, swisha is a verb for using the app.

6. Bärs = “Ett bär” is a berry, but bärs is beer. The formal word is “öl”.

7. Is i magen = Ice in the stomach? It means keeping calm.

8. Blire = “Blire ikväll (tonight)?” asked someone. I googled blire and still had no clue what it was. He was trying to ask what I was doing that night. It’s a short version of “Vad blir det?”

9. För sjutton gubbar = For 17 men? It’s a mild curse.

10. Aina = A negative word for the police.

11. Ingen fara på taket = No danger on the roof? It means everything’s okay.

12. Schysst = I recently received an email about schyssta rabatter, in other words, cool discounts.

13. Surt sa räven om rönnbären = Rowan berries are sour said the fox? You might say you don’t like something because you’re not able to reach it.

14. Stekare = I saved the best one for last. I probably didn’t know the word stekare, since they don’t really exist in Umeå… The best place to find a stekare is Stockholm. A typical stekare belongs to the Swedish upper class, wears branded clothing and drinks champagne!

Man wearing sunglasses and holding a martini glass.
Photo: Lost in Stockholm ↗️

Written by Leonilla

17 Feb 2016