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Norwegian expression of the day: Skjerp deg

Skjerp deg is the verbal equivalent of clapping your hands in front of someone’s face.

Norwegian expression of the day: Skjerp deg
Here's today's word of the day. Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know this?

If someone tells you to skjerp deg, you’re likely not paying attention. That, or you may have just done something a little idiotic. Skjerp deg can be used in many instances. By teachers who see their students staring dreamily out the window instead of at the white board. By the police officer who knows the criminal is lying to them. Or by the friend who sees you walk right into traffic while texting on your phone. 

What does it mean?  

Directly translated to English, skjerp deg means, “sharpen yourself”. Skjerp deg is often used as a stern command. It is not rude to say to others. Though the expression is most often used by a person who is in charge. You wouldn’t tell your boss or teacher to skjerp deg, for example. 

Norwegian synonyms to skjerp deg

følg med follow along 

være oppmerksompay attention 

Use it like this 

Hei, så du at det var et rødt lys? Skjerp deg! – Hey, did you see it was a red light? Pay attention! 

Nå må du skjerpe deg og slutt å tull. – Now you need to pay attention and stop fooling around. 

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Norwegian word of the day: Yr 

Given how often the weather changes in Norway, this is a useful one to know.

Norwegian word of the day: Yr 

What does it mean? 

Yr is the word used to describe a light drizzle in Norway. Yr is also the name of the country’s most popular weather app, which is run by public broadcaster NRK and the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. 

Drizzle is precipitation with a drop size of less than 0.5 mm and is a transition between rain and clouds. Given you’ll unlikely to be measuring rain drops as they fall, you’ll typically be able to tell drizzle from feel. 

Most Norwegians are undeterred by the presence of drizzle unless they are expecting heavier rain to follow. 

The reason for this is that I am sure you will have had a Norwegian tell you at some point now when you’ve complained about being cold or wet- det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær (there is no such thing as poor weather, just inappropriate clothes”). 

However, yr shouldn’t be disregarded every time you come across it or if it’s on the forecast, especially up in the mountains, as a little bit of drizzle can soon become a rain shower. 

Use it like this: 

Det er meldt yr i morgen tidlig, kanskje vi bør utsette teltturen vår?

(It’s meant to be drizzling tomorrow morning, maybe we should postpone our camping trip?)