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Norwegian word of the day: Brillefin

Did you just have a great day at work and order your favourite take-out for dinner? Brillefin!

Norwegian word of the day: Brillefin
If its all going your way, you can add this phrase to your vocabulary. Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know this? 

It’s always a plus to learn as many positive adjectives as you can when learning a new language. After all, who doesn’t love having a larger vocabulary when they rave about something wonderful? 

What does it mean?

Directly translated to English, brillefin means “wonderful” or “amazing”. There is no official explanation as to how this slang word developed. It first started showing up in Norwegian literature and started being spoken in the 1930’s. 

How do I use it?

Brillefin is often used in the middle of a sentence. It’s an expression that can be used in both casual and formal conversation. 

Brillefin isn’t an adjective that only describes tangible objects. Brillefint can also be used to describe an amazing or beautiful idea. 

Norwegian synonyms

svært fin – super nice

glimrende – brilliant

ypperlig – excellent

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Norwegian expression of the day: Katta i sekken 

If you've bought something online that's completely different to what was advertised, this Norwegian saying should help sum things up. 

Norwegian expression of the day: Katta i sekken 

What does it mean?  

Katta i sekken means “cat in the bag”, unlike the English expression where having something in the bag is great, you don’t want to find a cat in your sack, metaphorically speaking. 

The expression describes a scenario or situation where you’ve bought something that is different to advertised, underwhelming, or if you’ve been ripped off and paid way more than the item is worth. 

It’s used as a verb, for example, Å kjøpe katta i sekken, (To buy a cat in the bag). Also, note that it’s typically the slang katta that’s used rather katt, or katten. 

The term dates back to the middle ages, and a possible origin of the phrase is the story of Till Eulenspiegel, where a cat is sewn into a rabbit skin and sold as a hare. 

Several languages use the term or have their own version of the expression. However, some languages will refer to a pig in the sack, like Swedish, while others use cats as metaphors for the unwanted item. In English, the closest expression is “A pig in a poke.” 

What about ‘letting the cat out of the bag’? 

This term can get confusing in its similarity to “letting the cat out of the bag, ” which means revealing a secret. In Norwegian this is: katta er ute av sekken. 

You may hear someone say something like Fikk du med deg det Vilde sa? Jeg antar katta er ute av sekken. This means: Did you hear what Vilde said? I guess the cat’s out of the bag.

Therefore, if you hear someone talking about cats in bags, it’s best to pay close attention to ensure you’ve listened to the expression correctly. 

Use it like this: 

Jeg kjøpte en telefon på Siden det ikke fungerer, kjøpte jeg katta i sekken.

(I bought a phone on Since it doesn’t work, I bought a cat in the bag).