Norwegian expression of the day: Å være midt i smørøyet

If you find yourself in a great location, it'd be fair to say that you're in 'the middle of the butter eye'. 

Today's Norwegian expression of the day
To be in the middle of the 'butter eye' means to be in a good location. Caption Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash / Nicolas Raymond/FlickR

What does it mean? 

Directly translated, it means “to be in the middle of the butter eye”, which won’t make any sense to anyone really when translated. There also aren’t many sayings in English that are similar. 

It actually means for something to be in an excellent location. Similar to our last word of the day, matpakke, where we not only explained the packed lunch, but also pålegg, we are going to need a quick lesson on Norwegian cuisine to understand the saying fully. 

So, to be in the middle of the butter eye refers to risgrøt or rømmegrøtRisgrøt is a rice porridge similar to rice pudding, and rømmegrøt is a sour cream porridge. Both are typically served with generous helpings of sugar and cinnamon, with a big knob of butter typically in the middle of the dish. The melted butter then leaves a hole known as the butter eye. 

To be in that spot is seen as being a good thing. 

Locals will typically use the saying to refer to a central location or an area with a lot going on rather than any good spot. Therefore if you find a good camping spot, you might raise a few eyebrows if you say it’s in the butter’s eye. 

Additionally, locals typically won’t use it to refer to a situation either, meaning if you are in the middle of something situationally or in the ‘thick of it’ to use an English saying, then it probably won’t work either. 

Use it like this? 

Dette hotellet har flott beliggenhet, det ligger midt i smørøyet! 

(This hotel has a great location, it’s in the middle of the ‘butter eye’/ central location) 

Vår nye leilighet i Oslo ligger midt i smørøyet

(Our new apartment in Oslo is in a super central location/ in the ‘butter eye’)

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Norwegian expression of the day: Grevens tid 

Is it a good thing, or a bad thing, if you manage to do something in the "counts time"? Let's find out. 

Norwegian expression of the day: Grevens tid 

What does it mean? 

As mentioned in the intro, “grevens tid” literally translates to the “count’s time”. The count’s time means arriving at a good or lucky moment or achieving or preventing something, typically at the last minute. 

Catch a vase just before it hits the ground, or make it to the station just in time to catch your train? Then you did it in the count’s time. 

The term is said to have originated in Sweden and refers to Count Per Brahe Dy, who became governor of Finland in 1637. It was customary for a count to arrive late to events during the period. This is because, typically, the highest status one held, the more likely they were to come later. 

However, these days the saying isn’t used to describe when someone arrives “fashionably late” to use an English expression. 

Use it like this: 

Nå kom du i grevens tid 

(You came just at the right time.)

Du kom i grevens tid, jeg skulle akkurat til å ringe!

(You came just at the right time, I was just about to call you!)

Nå kom du i grevens tid! Vi skulle akkurat til å spise! 

(You came just at the right time, we are about to eat!)