Norwegian word of the day: Kjæreste

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Norwegian word of the day: Kjæreste
Today's Norwegian word of the day means partner or significant other. Caption Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash / Nicolas Raymond/FlickR

Today’s word of the day, the Norwegian word for partner, is unique for several reasons. 


What does it mean? 

Kjæreste, as you will have deduced from the intro and may have already encountered before, is the Norwegian word for a partner or boyfriend/girlfriend. However, the direct translation is perhaps more romantic than “partner” as kjæreste means “beloved”. 

It is derived from the Norwegian word for love, kjærlighet. However, Norwegians use other words for love too. For example, you would say to a serious romantic partner jeg elsker deg (I love you). Elsker, in this case, refers to an intense sense of love. 


Parents, on the other hand, may say to their kids glad i deg (I love you) to express this affection. This form can also be used when speaking to close friends also. However, you cannot use kjærlighet in either of these ways. 

Several things make kjæreste an interesting and unique interesting word. First of all, it isn’t gendered in the same way that boyfriend and girlfriend are. 

The word also applies to a person you are in a relationship with at different stages of your life. Whether you’re young, in your first relationship with someone, or have been going steady without tying the knot for years, you can use kjæreste. 

Whereas if you’ve only been with someone for two months and are still in your late teens or early twenties, people may find it weird to refer to someone you are in a relationship with as your partner.

Use it like this 

Vil du bli kjæresten min?

Do you want to be my boyfriend/girlfriend?

Mathias og Lena har vært kjærester i fem år.

Mathias and Lena have been together for five years.

Min kjæreste er helt fantastisk!

 My boyfriend/ girlfriend is absolutely amazing!

Jeg leter etter en kjæreste.

I am looking for a boyfriend/ girlfriend.


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