For members


Norwegian expression of the day: Fortelle hvor skapet skal stå

If you feel that others are stepping all over you and it's time to stand up for yourself, you'll need to 'tell the closet where to stand'. 

Norwegian word of the day.
If you need to take charge of everything, then you'll need to tell the closet where to stand. Caption Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash / Nicolas Raymond/FlickR

What does it mean? 

Directly translated, it means “to tell the closet where to stand”. Norway hasn’t invented self-moving furniture to upstage its neighbour Sweden- known for its flatpack furniture. Instead, it’s simply a metaphor for putting things in their proper place. 

This could refer to someone telling you that you should be more assertive and stand up for yourself. 

Why do I need to know this? 

If you hear a Norwegian say this, you may think you’ve misheard them when they come up with a quip about moving the furniture around seemingly out of context. 

Telling the cupboard where to stand refers to taking charge or standing up for yourself. A person who knows where the closet stands can be seen as opinionated and determined. 

By directing the metaphorical furniture around you are seen as taking control of the situation. 

Use it like this: 

Du må fortelle Jonas hvor skapet skal stå. Det er på tide.

You have to tell Jonas where the closet should stand. It’s about time.

 Du skulle hørt Lise på møtet vårt i går, hun fortalte virkelig Mads hvor skapet skal stå. 

You should have heard Lise in our meeting yesterday. She really told Mads where the closet should stand (she really put Mads in his place).

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


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).