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Norwegian expression of the day: å ha is i magen

Norwegians are often so logical and prepared, one could claim their society has "is i magen".

Do Norwegians have ice in their veins or ice in their stomachs?
Do Norwegians have ice in their veins or ice in their stomachs? Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why should I know this?

If you’re unaware of what this expression means, you may be confused if you take the directly translated meaning literally. If your colleague or friend is talking about having is i magen,  it has nothing to do with their stomach being cold. Well, unless they just ate three ice creams. 

What does it mean? 

Directly translated to English, å ha is i magen means, “to have ice in your stomach”. It really means to be calm and sensible. Norwegians often use it as a reminder to think logistics through before they make a decision.  

It means don’t act too fast before you consider the final outcome. It is similar to the expression in English, “put it on ice” when one is talking about holding off on making a decision. Similar but not exact. Å ha is i magen is an expression that refers to staying in or finding the right emotional state before taking action. 

When are the best situations to have ice in your stomach? 

Wanting to increase your bid when buying an apartment? Du burde ha is i magen, or “you should have ice in your stomach” before you blow your budget.

Are you considering selling some valuable stocks now? Or maybe you’re going to ha is i magen, and wait to see if they are worth more later. 

Are you annoyed with your boss and are considering sending a rather terse email? Why don’t you sleep on it, ha is i magen, and consider how you feel in the morning before pressing send. 

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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?)