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Norwegian expression of the day: Koste skjorta

Norway is known for being expensive, but this expression is for when something is beyond a bit pricey. 

Norwegian word of the day.
Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash and Nicolas Raymond/FlickR

What does it mean? 

Koste skjorta, means that something “costs the shirt”. The expression comes from koste (costs) and skjorta (shirt). 

Essentially it’s used to describe something that is very, very expensive- to the point of it being a ripoff or not worth the price. This is because you typically wouldn’t want to give up your shirt in exchange for something else. 

According to the Language Council of Norway (Språkrådet), the saying draws from the English expression cost you the shirt off your back.  

An alternative to this would be koste flesk which means to “cost the flesh”, more specifically pork’s flesh. That term exists in both Danish and Swedish. 

Both Danish and Swedish have their own versions of the expressions. The Danish version is slightly more dramatic and is koste det hvide ud af øjnene (to cost the whites out of the eye), while the Swedish version kosta skjortan (to cost the shirt also). However, the Danish version isn’t super widely used to our knowledge. 

Previously it was much more common to say koste flesk, but since the 2000s, the shirt has begun to catch up. 

Use it like this: 

Det kostet meg skjorta å fly fra Oslo til Hellas i sommerferien

(It cost me my shirt to fly from Oslo to Greece in the summer holidays) 

Inger skal kjøpe ny laptop neste måned, den koster 22.000 kr. Det koster skjorta!

(Inger will buy a new laptop next month, it costs 22,000 kroner. It costs the shirt!)

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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.