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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 word of the day
This is the Norwegian equivalent of having butterflies in your stomach. Caption Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash / Nicolas Raymond/FlickR

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!)

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Norwegian word of the day: Attpåklatt

The Norwegians have the perfect saying to describe a significant age gap between you and your siblings. 

Norwegian word of the day: Attpåklatt

What does Attpåklatt mean?

This word refers to a sibling born long after their brothers and sisters. There are no specific rules on what gap there has to be between siblings for the youngest to be an attpåklatt. However, it is typically used to refer to kids born a minimum of seven to ten years after their siblings. 

When describing yourself or your sibling as an attpåklatt, people will automatically understand that there is a significant age gap.

This word is interesting because there isn’t a direct English equivalent. One thing to note when using the word is that the Norwegian term doesn’t say anything or imply anything about the child much younger than their brothers and sisters being a surprise for the parents. Therefore, it doesn’t distinguish between whether the child was planned or not. 

 Use it like this: 

Lillesøsteren min er ti år yngre enn meg. Hun er en skikkelig attpåklatt.

(My little sister is ten years younger than me. She is an “attpåklatt”.)

Han hadde to voksne barn fra før, men ønsket en attpåklatt.

(He had two adult children but wanted an “attpåklatt” – a child that is much younger than their siblings.)