Constructed Norwegian Words – Part I: 1905-1954

New words - SubwayOur language reflects the society we live in. Prior to the creation of a concept or product, the word (obviously) did not exist. In an etymological perspective the major changes around the world in the 1900’s have contributed to changes in our vocabulary through new and constructed words.

In two parts, ThorNews will provide you a representative selection of the “new” Norwegian words through the 1900’s. The first half of the century is characterized by industrial and technological transitions – in addition to the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden, warfare in Europe and literary ‘revolutions’.

The following words indicate some of the changes in the Norwegian society. Later, in the 1950’s – thanks to popular culture – it became more common to use foreign words – particularly English – in the Norwegian language. To be continued in Part II.


Termoskanne                    Thermos

Helikopter                          Helicopter

Rutebil                                Bus (Public Transport)

Selvangivelse                     Tax Return

Pengelotteri                       Lottery

Tegnefilm                          Animated Movie

Allergi                                 Allergy

Pølsebod                           Hot Dog Kiosk

Syketrygd                          Health Insurance

Støvsuger                           Vacuum Cleaner



New words - vacuum cleanerMorsdag                             Mother’s Day

Fascisme                            Fascism

Robot                                 Robot

Vinmonopol                      Wine Monopoly

Kringkasting                      Broadcasting

Tanks                                 Tanks

Insulin                                Insulin




Fjernsyn                             Television

Ostehøvel                         Cheese Slicer

Snitter                                Open Sandwich

Jetmotor                           Jet Engine

Kidnapping                        Kidnapping

Jantelov                            Law of Jante

Tunellbane                       Subway

Jojo                                    Yoyo



Folkemord                        Genocide

Flyvertinne                        Stewardess

Veskenapper                    Purse Thief

Barnevakt                         Babysitter

Atombombe                    Nuclear Bomb

Bikini                                  Bikini

Samtaleterapi                   Talking Therapy



New words - stewardessHusmor                              House Wife

Popcorn                             Popcorn

Deodorant                         Deodorant

Fryseboks                          Freezer

Nedringt                            Non-stop Calling

Flyskrekk                           Fear of Flying

Fredsmarsj                        Peace March

Fleksitid                             Flex time

Radar                                 Radar

Kulepenn                          Ball Point Pen

Penicillin                           Penicillin

Flygende tallerken          Flying Saucer

Frustrasjon                       Frustration

Guru                                  Guru

Plast                                  Plastic

Gallupundersøkelse        Gallup Survey

Grøsser                             Horror (film)

Haike                                 Hitchhiking

Jetfly                                 Jet Plane

Moped                              Moped

Papirbleie                         Paper Diaper

Sivilarbeider                     Conscientious Objector

Lysstoffrør                        Fluorescent Lamp

Kjernefamilie                   (The Core) Family

Kald krig                         Cold War

Pinup                              Pin-Up

Jogge                              Jogging

Fyllekjøring                     Drunk Driving


Text by: Anette Broteng Christiansen, ThorNews

Source: Typisk Norsk; Dinamo Forlag, 2005

Photos from top: Unknown, BBC, Everything PanAm

Categories: Language

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