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Norwegian expression of the day: Helt Texas

Norwegian expression of the day: Helt Texas
Texas is a by-word for crazy in Norway. Photo by Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
What do you associate with the state of Texas? For Norwegians, the state's wild west reputation became the origin of a term used to describe the modern-day's craziness.

Why do I need to know this?

The sudden mention of a state in North America may throw you off when conversing in Norwegian. The expression may be old, but it’s still used in the media and private discussions today. If you want to lasso helt Texas into your vocabulary, it’s essential to use it in the proper context. 

What does it mean?

Directly translated, helt Texas means “all of Texas” or “totally Texas”. The expression is decades old and originates from the reputation Texas has in Scandinavian countries. Texas equates to cowboys and the wild west. The shoot ’em up western films and a less regulated and governed society.

You can use helt Texas to describe a crazy situation or a wild act someone has done. Doing a belly flop from the high dive? Helt Texas! Last night’s crazy storm that washed away your patio furniture? Helt Texas. 

Helt Texas is not typically used to describe a person. But more of a chaotic event or atmosphere. 

Wondering if the term is dictionary official? Not quite. Daniel Gusfre Ims, section manager in the section for language use and language advice in the Language Council, said to public broadcaster NRK that the term has roots far back in time. “Using “texas” as a word for wild conditions is something we have done for a long time. The word is not found in Bokmålsordboka or Nynorskordboka, but in Norsk Ordbok over Nynorsk og dialekter the word is included,” he says.


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