Norwegian phrase of the day: Skjegget i postkassa

Agnes Erickson
Agnes Erickson - [email protected]
Norwegian phrase of the day: Skjegget i postkassa
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Have you ever wondered what Norwegians say when they find themselves in a spot of bother?


Why do I need to know this expression?

Skjegget i postkassa is perhaps one of the most common Norwegian slang expressions used in both professional and casual conversations. Without knowing the meaning of this phrase, you could find yourself pretty lost and confused in a discussion if you took what it means literally. 


What does it mean? 

Skjegget i postkassa directly translated means, “The beard in the mailbox”. 

It has nothing to do with a literal beard or a literal mailbox. Created in the 1950s, the expression is often used to describe when someone gets into a pinch or gets into trouble. It could also be used to describe when someone doesn’t fully achieve something that they wanted to do. 

Similar English expressions that compare to Skjegget i postkassa are “caught in a jam” or “stuck between a rock and a hard place”. 

Use it like this 

Så, til slutt ender du opp med skjegget i postkassa.“So in the end, you end up with the beard in the mailbox.”

Kommende generasjoner vil sitte med skjegget i postkassen. – “Future generations will sit with their beard in the mailbox.”


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Anonymous 2021/07/13 19:57
There is a similar expression from the Midwest US, home to a large number of Scandinavian descendants ... "Don't get your 'teet' caught in the wringer!" Wringers were attachments on old washing machines. Wet clothes would be passed through the wringer to wring out excess water. Bending over too close to the wringer might result in getting caught in it. Ouch!

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