Norwegian expression of the day: Legge seg flat

Agnes Erickson
Agnes Erickson - [email protected]
Norwegian expression of the day: Legge seg flat
When you mess up, you'll need this expression in your Norwegian vocabulary. Photo by Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

If you lose your neighbour's dog while house sitting, it might be time to legge seg flat.


Why should I know this? 

Legge seg flat is a term that when translated to English, could create some confusion. It’s meaning is not taken literally. And it’s often used when you’re running high on emotion. 

A legge seg flat is a broad expression. It could be used to discuss everything from a company filing for bankruptcy to accidentally spilling coffee on the stranger sitting next to you on the subway.

What does it mean?

Directly translated, legge seg flat means “lie down flat”. It really means to admit that you have done something wrong. If you’re asked to legge seg flat, that person is usually asking for an apology or at the very least, an admission that you're in the wrong. 


The expression is not just used by or for an individual. Groups and businesses can also legge seg flat.

Norwegian synonyms

beklage - apologize

gi opp - give up 

Use it like this 

Nå må du legge seg flat og si unnskyld - You need to give up and say sorry

Bedriften gikk konkurs og måtte legge seg flat - The company went bankrupt and had to go under. 


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saltsands 2021/12/09 16:59
oh man. at 62, this makes me think of my childhood. my sister and me, we played this, literally. Me :) its just burned into my conscience :)

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