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Norwegian word of the day: Skadefryd

Today's Norwegian word of the day has a distinctly German feel to it. 

Pictured is Norway's word of the day, skadefryd, on a blackboard.
Pictured is Norway's word of the day, skadefryd, on a blackboard. Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash and Nicolas Raymond/FlickR

What does it mean? 

Norwegian is a North Germanic language, and skadefryd is an example of a word drawn from Norwegian’s German origins and shares no English equivalent. 

Skadefryd is the Norwegian word for the German word schadenfreude. The term originated in the 18th century and has no direct English translation or equivalent. 

The German word is a compound of Schaden, meaning (damage/harm) and Freude (joy). However, the Norwegian word isn’t a compound but instead a translation of the German original. 

However, some of you reading, who don’t know much German, may have heard the word schadenfreude. This is because it has slowly started to enter the English vocabulary as a word that sums up a very specific feeling. 

Essentially, schadenfreude is when you feel joy or satisfaction in somebody else’s misfortunate. 

For example, feeling glad to find out a colleague you didn’t like has been fired is a good example of skadefryd. 

Feeling pleasure in smaller misfortunes is also an example. People typically find the concept of other people falling over quite funny. 

Philosopher Theodor Adorno has defined skadefryd as “mainly unexpected joy at another’s suffering that is noted as everyday and/or appropriate”. 

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For members


Eight phrases to express affection in Norwegian 

Sometimes you just want to tell somebody how much they mean to you. Here are eight Norwegian phrases you can use to let someone know you care about them. 

Eight phrases to express affection in Norwegian 

It’s always nice to tell your nearest and dearest how much you appreciate and value them. When learning a new language, you will also learn new ways to tell someone that you care about them. 

Luckily, in Norwegian, there are plenty of ways for you to express your affection for someone. Here are our picks. 

READ ALSO: How to talk about family in Norwegian

Jeg er så heldig som har deg

(I am so lucky to have you) 

Ever have a friend or family member that’s always there for you, whether to lend a helping hand or offer a shoulder to cry on? 

You can use this phrase to let them know how grateful you are to have them. Likewise, the phrase can be said to friends, family and partners to let them know how much you appreciate them. 

Jeg elsker deg

(I love you) 

There are two ways you can tell somebody that you love them in Norwegian. Jeg elsker deg describes a very strong feeling of love that Norwegians don’t use lightly. Some may only utter it a few times in their life. 

Norwegians will use this when they are ‘in’ love with someone. 

Jeg er glad i deg/ glad i deg

(I love you/ love you) 

Glad i deg is the second, less intense, and more commonly used phrase for telling someone you love them. 

It is the preferred form used in day-to-day life to let a partner, a parent or a child know that you love them. This expression can be used to let anybody you care about that you love them. 

In specific contexts, the two ways of telling someone you love them can be interchangeably. So, for example, you can tell your husband or wife glad i deg or jeg elsker deg. But you would never say jeg elsker deg to your favourite colleague. 

Jeg savner deg

(I miss you) 

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and telling someone you are missing them is a good way of letting them know they are in your thoughts. 

This can be used to let anyone, whether they are a friend, relative or partner, know that you miss them. 

Jeg er hodestups forelsket i deg

(I am head over heals in love with you) 

Many languages use descriptive imagery to express their feelings for someone. Unfortunately, this isn’t as common in Norwegian. However, some examples do exist- as is the case with jeg er hodestups forelsket i deg. 

Partners will often say this to one another to let them know how madly they are in love with one another. 

Du er en fantastisk venn

(You are a fantastic friend)

Friends make everything better, whether it’s hobbies, activities, or when you need a helping hand. You can use this to let someone know they are a fantastic friend, either because they’ve been a fantastic help to you or because you are guaranteed to always have a good time together. 

Takk for at du alltid er der for meg

(Thank you for always being there for me). 

If you have a Mr./Mrs. dependable in your life that you know you can rely on for anything and would move mountains to give you a hand- you should definitely use this phrase to express your deep gratitude. 

Du er verdens beste kjæreste/kompis/vennninne/mamma/pappa

(You are the world’s best partner, friend, girlfriend, mother, and father) 

A classic of a genre when it comes to birthday cards, letting someone know they are the best friend/partner/parent in the world is a great way to show your fondness for them.