Norwegian word of the day: Rappkjeftet

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Norwegian word of the day: Rappkjeftet
If you know someone prone to biting remarks then you may want to use this word. Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash and Nicolas Raymond/FlickR

Today's word is perfect if you know someone with a quick wit, a sharp tongue and a tendency for biting remarks. 


We all know somebody where it doesn't matter what you have to say they are always there with a lighting quick, often rude, response. 

The Norwegian word describing such a person is rappkjeftetRapp means fast, while kjeft is a less polite word for mouth. 

For example, to tell someone to 'shut the hell up', you'd say: 'hold kjeft'. It's worth noting that this way of telling someone to shut up is considered quite rude, so it's best to use this bonus phrase at your discretion. 

Put together, rappkjeftet means "quick mouth". However, the name isn't entirely complimentary, as evidenced by the less than polite synonym for mouth used in the word. 


While a rappkjeftet certainly has a sharp wit, they may also be prone to snarky, sarcastic and biting remarks- meaning it's not always a good thing to be called one. 

A similar remark to this in English would be smartarse/smartass (depending on which side of the Atlantic one might hail from). The reason for this is that while it can be used to describe a friend always getting the last word in, you can also use it to sum up someone who can grate on you with their comments.

It's more common to hear it used to describe someone whose biting remarks err on the side of rude or annoying than it would for a quick-witted friend. 

If you know someone more prone to a light-hearted jape or joke, it may be better to call them a spøkefugl

Directly translated, spøkefugl means "joke bird". The word comes from the Norwegian words for joke (spøke) and bird (fugl). 

The word refers to an individual fond of pranks and jokes and who likes to play the odd (innocent) trick now and again.

Use it like this: 

Hørte du hvordan Petter snakket til sjefen? Han var rappkjeftet.

Did you hear how Petter spoke to the boss? He was quick-mouthed/ being a smartass.

Ikke vær rappkjeftet.

 Don't be quick-mouthed (a smartarse).



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