How to Do a Whole Poodle in Swedish

Posted on 31. Mar, 2015 by in Swedish Language

Pudel Grossschwarz

This proud poodle refuses to apologize. By B. Schoener (Flying Spark at de.wikipedia) (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

That title doesn’t make much sense, does it? That’s what happens sometimes with literal translations. But in Sweden, you’ll sometimes see headlines about someone who has gjort en hel pudel. In fact, just recently, after Sweden apologized (or didn’t apologize) to Saudi Arabia after the country chose not to renew an arms deal with the Saudis, Dagens Nyheter asked that very question: Har Sverige gjort en pudel?

As I’m sure you’ve realized, att göra en pudel means to ask for forgiveness. It’s done in a public way and usually in response to a previously bold statement that turned out to be wrong. To do a poodle then is to expose your wrongness and admit to it. In English we might say that you got on your hands and knees and begged for forgiveness. That sort of thing. You’re asking for forgiveness in a way that puts you in a position of humility or vulnerability. Just like a poodle on its back after it ate the cake off the table and got caught.

The phrase is relatively new in Swedish and appeared for the first time in a 2002 Dagens Nyheter article. In that article about a Swedish political scandal involving Jan O. Karlsson, Pål Jebsen was quoted using the term to positively describe the way in which Karlsson apologized. And with that quote, a new idiom was born. In 2003, Svenska språknämnden added it to their list of new words and phrases.

But to do a whole poodle isn’t the only Swedish use of the word pudel. You can also be klok som en pudel, for example. That is to say, you’re super smart, wise as an owl.

Or maybe you are a luspudel. That’s not a good thing though. It means that you’re kind of a scoundrel. A rat. A swine. A louse even. In fact, en lus means just that, a louse. So you’re a louse poodle. The worst kind of poodle, obviously.

En pudel makes a surprising number of appearances in the Swedish language, especially in colorful idioms or phrases. Does your language have any idioms that use poodles? Let us know in the comments below.

Interested in more idioms? Check out our post Tricky Swedish Idioms.

30 Swedish Hockey Words You Need to Know

Posted on 23. Mar, 2015 by in Vocabulary

On March 28 hundreds of the best hockey players in the world will be in Malmö, Sweden. Malmö is host to the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship. For one week, eight teams from Canada, Finland, Germany, Japan, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States of America will be competing for the World Championship.

With the tournament coming up, you might want to brush up on your hockey vocabulary. Below is a list of Swedish hockey nouns that will help you as you discuss the World Championships with your friends. You’ll probably notice that a lot of the words in Swedish are the same in English; that’s why this vocabulary list is just a little bit longer. If you make it to the very end of the list, I’ve included another fun word that is hockey-related, but not necessarily about hockey.

Svenska Engelska
en ishockeyrink ice hockey rink
en puck puck
en hockeyklubba hockey stick
en skridsko iceskate
en hjälm helmet
en forward forward
en anfallsspelare forward
en center center
en back defender
en målvakt goalie
en domare referee
en linjedomare linesman
en tekning face-off
en assist assist
ett mål goal
ett straffslag penalty shot
en utvisningsstraff penalty
ett powerplay power play
ett skott shot
en passning pass
ett dragskott wrist shot
ett slagskott slapshot
en räddning save
en förlängning overtime
ett övertidsspel overtime
en period period
en coach coach
en tränare coach
en spelare player
ett världsmästerskap World Championship

And finally, as promised, your bonus word: en hockeyfrilla. A mullet. I blame Jaromír Jágr.

Now that you’ve got your hockey vocab ready to go, you should get ready to go to a game. Here’s the link for tickets where you can find plenty of other information about the tournament as well.

Super Scary Prepositions: Under

Posted on 16. Feb, 2015 by in Grammar, Swedish Language

This is the second post in the “Super Scary Prepositions” series. The first, written around Halloween inspired the name. Since prepositions are scary at any time of the year, I’m going to stick with the title and just call it a series.

Anyway, if you missed the first one, it was about the preposition till and was, appropriately, titled: Super Scary Prepositions: Till. This time, let’s take a look at the preposition under.

Under is actually a relatively simple preposition to deal with. Under, like so many prepositions, helps to indicate location and time. It also helps us indicate measurement. That gives us three rules or guidelines to start with:

  1. To indicate the location of something as being below or under something else
  2. To indicate the duration of a certain time period
  3. To indicate the measurement of something as being below or under something else

To indicate the location of something as being below or under something else
Location is relatively easy when it comes to under. That’s because it’s so similar to the English “under,” underneath, “below,” or “beneath.” In fact, if you want to describe the location of something and you’d use the word “under” in English, you can feel fairly confident in using the word under in Swedish. A few examples:

Tre troll bor under bron. Three trolls live under the bridge.
Hunden sover under bordet. The dog is sleeping under the table.

To indicate the duration of a certain time period
This one is a bit trickier, but under is used to describe a duration of time that corresponds to the English word “during” or the phrase “in the course of.” So if you want to describe something that happened during an entire time period, under is the word you’re looking for. Here are some examples:

Jag lärde mig svenska under sommaren. I learned Swedish during the summer.
Vad ska du göra under påsklovet? What are you going to do during Easter break?

To confuse you just a bit, under can be used to replace i when responding to the question hur länge. I and no preposition at all is most common when responding to this question. Just in case, though, here is an example:

Hur länge har du varit borta? Under hela sommaren!
How long have you been away? (During) the whole summer!

To indicate the measurement of something as being below or under something else
Using under as a form of measurement corresponds nicely with the English usage as well. You’ll especially see this when people are describing temperature, age, or height. For example:

Barn under 18 år får inte köra i Sverige. Children under the age of 18 aren’t allowed to drive in Sweden.
Medeltemperaturen under juni är under 25 grader. (Two unders in one sentence!) The average temperature during June is below 25 degrees Celsius.


Now you have three ways of using the preposition under. As with most prepositions, there are exceptions and nuances and phrases where this word will pop up. You might see it used to describe silence (under tystnad) or to describe something under construction (under byggnad), for example. But keep in mind the three guidelines you learned above and you should get the hang of the word under in no time.


As always, good luck!