The Norwegian language is a versatile and nuanced language. In old days, the Norse spoke Old Norwegian, but hundreds of years in union with Denmark – and later Sweden, changed the language into what is now called ‘Bokmål’.
Languages are constantly changing through the influence of foreign languages. We know the origin of some of the terms, while others are contrived. Some proverbs were made by mistake either through typos or speech impediments.
Here is a list of common Norwegian proverbs that are based on animals or food. Some are constructed by the object’s character and abilities, while others reflect an abstract phenomenon. The Norwegian words that are highlighted represent an animal or something edible.
Funny Norwegian Proverbs:
- Å ane ugler i mosen – To sense owls in the moss = Something suspect, or danger ahead
- Å bli tatt på fersken – To get caught on the peach = To be caught in the act
- Bare blåbær – Just blueberries = Something is just plain simple and/or easy to conduct
- Å bite i det sure eplet – To bite in the sour apple = To take the blame, or to do something you really do not want to
- Borte som ei sviske – Gone as a prune = Everything is all gone
- Å hvile på laurbærene – To rest on the laurels = To be satisfied with any result
- Å ha en høne å plukke – To have a hen to pick = Wanting to resolve a conflict – either through discussion or fighting
- Å koke bort i kålen – To boil away in the cabbage = To disappear into platitudes, not get anything of significance
- Å ha det godt som plommen i egget – To have it good as the plum in the egg = To be completely satisfied
- Å skille klinten fra hveten – To separate the chaff from the wheat = To distinguish the worthless from the valuable
- Å stjele som en ravn – To steal as a raven = Kleptomaniac behavior
- Å ta kål på – To take cabbage on = To ruin something or someone, make an end to
- Å tråkke i salaten – To step into the salad = To do something inappropriate, make a fool of yourself
- Å være på bærtur – To be on a berry trip = Being on the wrong track, ‘way off’
- Å være på druen – To be on the grape = To be (moderately) intoxicated by alcohol
- Å være høy på pæra – To be high on the pear = To be superior, ‘stiff upper lip’
Text by: Anette Broteng Christiansen, ThorNews