Norwegian language For Members

Fourteen Norwegian expressions to help you talk about the cold like a local

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected] • 7 Jan, 2023 Updated Sat 7 Jan 2023 10:24 CEST
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"Det er jævlig kaldt!" and other essentials for small talk in the winter, courtesy of The Local. Photo by Aaron Burden / Unsplash

The Local has prepared a short guide on how to address the Arctic chill in day-to-day conversation about chilly temperatures in Norway.

There's no need to shy away from all the kaldt (cold) talk – we've prepared a short primer on some of the key phrases and expressions that Norwegians use when they discuss the cold weather.

Sickeningly, deadly, or just bloody cold?

So, the cold is setting in outside. You leave your flat along with a friend, and right as you step into the street, the temperature chills you to the bone.

It's the perfect opportunity to exclaim, Det er beinkaldt ute! (It's so cold that it chills you to the bone!). If you don't want to come across as overly dramatic, you can always just acknowledge the fact that winter has finally arrived by shortly noting Temperaturen falt (The temperature dropped).

Suppose your Norwegian friend agrees with you. If that's the case, they're likely to retort with the following: Enig med deg – det er veldig kaldt! (I agree with you – it's very cold!)

Don't be caught off-guard if your local friend thinks the cold is deadly (dødskaldt), 'shitty' (dritkaldt), or sickening (sykelig kaldt). They might even describe the temperature as freezing/ ice cold (iskaldt).

How to complain about the cold

If you've successfully made friends with a few locals, expect more laid-back weather-related comments such as "Det er jævlig kaldt! (It's bloody cold!).

If the temperature is shockingly low, a male friend might even exclaim something like Jeg fryser pungen av meg! (I'm freezing my nuts off!).

But don't expect such a reaction if the temperature is not below zero degrees Celsius – Norwegians are very used to the cold and know how to utilise layers of clothes and wool to guard against bad weather.

However, if your friend is feeling grumpy, they could say something like Jeg har alltid sagt jeg liker ikke kaldt vær (I always said I don't like cold weather). If you agree with them, feel free to respond Nei, ikke jeg heller (No, me neither).

On the other hand, as the low temperatures will likely surprise you more often than the average local, phrases such as Jeg hadde ikke forventet at det skulle være så kaldt (I didn't expect it to be this cold), Jeg må tilbake til leiligheten og ta en jakke (I need to go back to the flat and grab a jacket), and Jeg savner sommeren, det er for kaldt nå (I miss the summer, it's too cold now) can all come in handy.

Regardless of how low the temperature drops, keep the following two (unofficial) Norwegian national mottos close to heart:

De som venter på fint vær holder seg innendørs hele dagen (Those who wait for nice weather stay indoors all day long)

and

Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær (There’s no bad weather, only bad clothes).

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Robin-Ivan Capar 2023/01/07 10:24

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