Norwegian word of the day: Hetebølge

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Norwegian word of the day: Hetebølge
Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash and Nicolas Raymond/FlickR

Today's word hasn't always been associated with Norway, but instances have become increasingly common in recent years.


What does it mean?

Hetebølge is the Norwegian word for a heatwave, and is a simple compound of the word for heat (hete) and the word for wave (bølge).

This word isn't the most common for heat. Instead, the word varme is used when referring to heat. You would use varme in other compounds, such as a heat pump (varmepumpe).

Heatwaves, for obvious reasons, haven't always been associated with Norway. Still, the country can see prolonged periods of 25c or 30c plus days.

In the summer, the warmest part of Norway is usually a village called Nesbyn, which holds the national heat record (varmerekord) as a temperature of 35.6c was recorded in 1970. The area's unique microclimate means that it has also gotten as cold as -38c in the past.

Heatwaves will, unfortunately, become more common in Norway due to global warming. Even if Norway doesn't experience super common heatwaves, plenty of Norwegians will feel the heat on the continent as they typically travel to the Mediterranean, or Syden, as Norwegians call it, every summer.

Use it like this

Jeg lurer på om det blir hetebølge i Norge i sommer.

I wonder if there will be a heatwave in Norway this summer.

Det var hetebølge i Hellas i juni med nesten 40 varmegrader.


There was a heatwave in Greece in June, and it was almost 40 degrees.

Det er meldt hetebølge neste uke.

The forecast is predicting a heatwave next week.



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