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Norwegian expression of the day: Kleint

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Ingri Bergo - [email protected]
Norwegian expression of the day: Kleint
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond"

It's not really 'norsk', but for some reason it's one of Norwegians' favourite slang expressions.

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If you’ve lived in Norway for a while, you will surely have heard someone say that something is kleint.

Although it’s not even a Norwegian word, kleint somehow worked itself into the everyday language as one of Norwegians' favourite slang expressions.

Like most things that catch on, it started with the young and slowly spread through the country. 

Today, kleint is arguably a bit over-used.

What does it mean?

Kleint can mean several things. The most common of them is ‘awkward’.

If you did something really embarrassing, like dancing too wildly at an office party, you could exclaim faen, så kleint! -- 'damn, that was awkward!' -- when telling a friend the day after.

Or, if you have just engaged in small talk with a Norwegian who was actually trying to dodge you, but as a foreigner you did not read the signs properly (trust me, Norwegians usually do not stop to small talk if they can avoid it), they might say det var kleint - 'that was awkward' - if you did not have much to talk about. 

By the way, the linguistically accurate way of saying something is 'awkward' in Norwegian is probably pinlig or flaut, which also translate to embarrassing.

READ ALSO: Did you know that, to Norwegians, Texas is slang for 'crazy'?

Kleint can also mean ‘hungover’ (fyllesyk, literally 'drunk-sick'is the official Norwegian word for that).

Let's say you were at a Norwegian vors, ‘pre party’, another favourite slang expressions that is also derived from a German word (we really need to start making up our own words).

If If you are planning on partying Norwegian style -- and that means a lot of drinking -- you will definitely be extremely klein the next day,

Jeg er så sykt klein, jeg holder på å dø -- 'I’m so hungover, I'm going to die'.

You will probably also have done something kleint that you now deeply regret. It's as kleint as it gets.

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