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Norwegian word of the day: Klein 

Feeling awkward, hungover, maybe a bit sick? This word is the swiss army knife of slang expressions. 

Norwegian word of the day: Klein 
This describes if you feel awkward, rather than if something is awkward. Caption Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash / Nicolas Raymond/FlickR.

Why do I need to know klein?

Klein is a Norwegian expression which can express several things. It can be used as an informal way of saying that you feel embarrassed, hungover or sick. 

However, the term is most commonly used to express embarrassment or, more specifically, awkwardness in a conversation.

Klein, is a way of twisting the expression kleint, which describes something awkward. While they may appear to be the same word with just a letter chopped off, there are rules for using them to ensure you are grammatically correct. 

Kleint refers to a situation. Bumping into an ex when you’re looking a bit rough is a situation that would be described as kleint

For example, when you see your ex, you’ll think something like dette er kjempekleint!” to yourself, which means “this is super awkward”.

As with the example above, you can latch an intensifier, like kjempe, onto the word to help you express the situation’s awkwardness. 

When using klein, you are referring to your own personal feelings or describing another person rather than a situation. 

Out of the two, kleint is the more commonly and widely used of the expressions. 

Use it like this

Du var skikkelig klein på møtet i dag tidlig. Hva skjer?

(You were really awkward in the meeting this morning. What’s up?) 

Jeg møtte eksen min på butikken i helgen. Jeg visste ikke hva jeg skulle si og var kjempeklein!

(I met my ex in the grocery store this weekend. I didn’t know what to say and was so awkward!) 

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Norwegian expression of the day: Sommerfugler i magen

Eagerly anticipating something, but also have some nerves? In that case, you have "summer birds" in your stomach. 

Norwegian expression of the day: Sommerfugler i magen

What does it mean? 

Very literally, sommerfugler i magen means “summer birds in the stomach”. What it really means is “butterflies in your stomach”. Having butterflies in your stomach is a fairly common expression in English. 

Sommerfugler in isolation is an example of Norwegian giving animals fairly literal names. 

Other entertaining – and very literal – Norwegian animal names include nebbdyr or “beaked animal” for a ducked bull platypus and flaggermus or “flapping mouse” for a bat. You can read more about animals with very literal Norwegian names here

Norwegians use butterflies in the stomach in a similar way to most other languages, whereby it’s used to describe a mix of nervousness and excitement. So, for example, you might feel butterflies in your stomach on the first day of a new job. 

A similar sensation, although one which describes feeling more anxious or dreading something, would be gruer meg. 

Use it like this: 

Hver gang jeg ser Simon får jeg sommerfugler I magen.

(Everytime I see Simon I get butterflies in my stomach)

Jeg skal hoppe i fallskjerm I morgen, jeg har skikkelig sommerfugler i magen, men gleder meg!

(I am skydiving tomorrow. I have lots of butterflies in my stomach, but I am excited!)