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Norwegian word of the day: Tøffelhelt

If you’re called a tøffelhelt, it may be time to stand up for yourself.

If you’re called a tøffelhelt, it may be time to stand up for yourself.
If you’re called a tøffelhelt, it may be time to stand up for yourself. Photo by Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond.

Why do I need to know this?

Including Norwegian expressions into your growing vocabulary is an excellent way to integrate and become more comfortable with your new language. But before you start throwing them around in daily conversation, you’re going to want to make sure you know exactly what an expression means, especially if it can be teasing or even degrading in nature.

What does it mean?

When directly translated to English, tøffelhelt means “slipper hero”. What it really means is “pushover” or “whipped”. Tøffelhelt is a teasing and/or derogatory expression used to describe a man controlled by his wife or partner.  

Tøffelhelt is a combined word with German origins. As the old tale goes, a bride and groom who first managed to step on the spouse’s foot would gain power in the marriage. “Slippers” or tøffler were previously perceived as a symbol of the female sex, while boots could symbolize men.

Norwegian synonyms

svekling – weakling 

usselrygg – spineless

Use it like this 

Han har alltid vært en tøffelhelt for damene – He’s always been a pushover with women 

Han sier aldri nei. For en tøffelhelt! – He never says no. What a pushover!

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Norwegian word of the day: Syden  

It’s the time of year when Norwegians will start chatting about going to the “the south” more and more. 

Norwegian word of the day: Syden  

What does it mean? 

Syd is a more traditional and outdated way of saying south in Norwegian. These days sør is the most common and widely used way of saying south and is the form used when giving directions. 

By adding “en” to the word, it becomes “the south”. 

The word is an informal way of describing a holiday. However, it doesn’t just describe any holiday, it means a getaway to another country further south than Norway. 

But, not just any country further south than Norway, because otherwise, that’s most of the world. For example, spending your holidays in the Shetland islands wouldn’t qualify as heading south. 

The saying refers to warmer climates, more or less exclusively. Furthermore, it’s commonly used for “typical” Norwegian holiday destinations such as the Canary Islands, Greece, Turkey and Cyprus. 

If you find it slightly confusing, then don’t worry, plenty of children without a solid grasp of geography do too. For example, if told by their parents that they are going to “syden” for a holiday, some children will assume this is a country, rather than an expression. 

There isn’t really an equivalent English saying. The closest is used to describe the migration of birds seeking warmer weather in “heading south for the winter”. 

Use it like this

Jeg gleder meg kjempe masse til sommerferien, for da skal jeg til Syden. 

 (I am really looking forward to the summer holidays because then I am headed to “the South”. )

Anna: Hva skal du i sommer Karen?

(Anna: What are your plans for summer, Karen?)

Karen: Jeg skal til Syden!

 (Karen: I am going to “the South”)