Norwegian word of the day: Blåveis 

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Norwegian word of the day: Blåveis 
Caption photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash / Nicolas Raymond/FlickR

If you're lucky enough to see one, you'll be looking forward to warmer weather. However, if you are sporting a 'blåveis', you've likely had bad luck. 


What does blåveis mean? 

Blåveis is a spring flower, most commonly considered one of the first signs of the season. The flower's name comes from its appearance with blå, meaning blue. Its English name is Liverwort or Hepatica. 

The plant is about 10cm high and is found in forests and thickets in eastern and central Norway. If you live in the west of Norway and wonder whether you've seen one before, you probably haven't, as they aren't found there. 

Depending on the weather, many will first see the flowers on their first forest walk or hike of the year or perhaps their last cross-country ski of the season. For many, they signal the start of the forest season in Norway. 

The plant is the county flower for the historic county of Akershus, which is now Viken County. In ancient times, the plant was believed to have medicinal properties. 

Why do I need to know this? 

It's safe to presume that the majority who read this article aren't here for the floriculture lesson, although if you've made it this far, you may be. 

The word actually has a second meaning, which may be more useful (or at least more interesting). Many Norwegians will refer to a blackeye (bruising around the eye) as a blåveis


Norwegians will use blåveis to describe a blackeye just as much as the more proper blåøye (blue eye). In this sense, blåveis could be considered similar to English slang, such as "a shiner" when referring to a blackeye. 

Use it like this: 

Oj, du har fått en skikkelig blåveis!

Wow, you have gotten a proper blackeye!

 Blåveis er et ordentlig vårtegn!

 Hepatica flowers are a sign of spring!


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