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Norwegian word of the day: Å ha en finger med i spillet

The deadline to make a bid on your dream apartment is closing in. Are you ready 'å ha finger med i spillet' and make your move?

A chalkboard.
Do you have a finger in the game? Photo by Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

What does it mean? 

Directly translated to English, Å ha en finger med i spillet means “to have a finger in the game”. It has a nearly identical meaning to the English phrases, “to have your toes in the water” or “ to have a hand in”.  

Å ha en finger med i spillet means to be an obvious part of something, or to be a part of something without being seen. It could be with a group, a final decision, an activity, or a literal game. 

The expression can be used in both lighter and more serious situations. 

For example – A parent can have a larger role than the teacher said was allowed in helping their son with his family tree project by having their finger in the game. 

One can also claim the iceberg had its finger in the game when it came to the sinking of the Titanic. 

Norwegian synonyms

influere influence 

assistere assist 

spille en rolle  i play a part in 


Use it like this

Jeg vet du hadde en finger med i spillet, Hanne – I know you had a hand in this, Hanne 

Jeg er ganske sikker at regjeringen har en finger med i alt – I’m pretty sure the government has their hand in everything. 

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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Syd is a more traditional and outdated way of saying south in Norwegian.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”)