Norwegian word of the day: Muffens

Norwegian word of the day: Muffens
Photo: Sara Cervera on Unsplash
If someone in Norway offers you a cupcake, make sure there's nothing fishy about it before you accept. Here's why.

Why do I need to know muffens?

Because you really don’t want to confuse it with muffins, which means ‘cupcakes’.

What does it mean?

Muffens is Norwegian for ‘fishy’, meaning something is not quite right.

Her er det noe muffens literally translates to ‘there are some muffens here’, but it really means ‘I smell a rat’, ‘something is off’ or ‘this is fishy’.

Many Norwegians don’t know the difference between muffens and muffins, so some will say her er det noe muffins, which means ‘there are some cupcakes here’.

If what they actually mean is muffens, that something looks suspicious, that’s something of a bummer.

If someone offers you muffins in Norway, they should ask, har du lyst på muffins? – do you fancy a cupcake?

If, however, they offer you muffens, you’d do well to politely decline.

Origins

Muffens likely came from the German word muff, which means ‘mold’ or ‘bad smell’, according to according to Norwegian dictionary NAOB.

Use it like this

Jeg lukter muffens! – I smell a rat!

Her er det noe muffens, er sikkert og visst. – There is something fishy going on here, that’s for sure.

Politiet sa de syntes det var noe muffens ved innbruddet. – The police said they thought there was something suspicious about the break-in.

Synonyms

Ugler i mosen – owls in the moss (meaning something is fishy)


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