Icelandic Language Blog

Angry, angry Icelanders. Posted by on Nov 30, 2014 in Icelandic culture, Icelandic customs

Angry Sheep Red by Kyle May at Flickr.

After a whole month of talking about fighting in the Medieval era I felt it’s time to see if anything’s changed in one thousand years. Are Icelanders still solving their problems by hacking parts off of their enemies? Should you carry an axe around just in case when visiting the country?

Perhaps not, because one thousand years can indeed change societies a great amount. First of all women no longer hide behind femininity if they have a beef with someone – just take a walk down any of Reykjavík’s party streets after the nightclubs close. Curiously they do need alcohol to get their aggression out though, and the same applies to men. It seems that the Icelander of today is having an opposite problem, incapability of showing their anger altogether (unless drunk).

Hafnarfjordur by Shadowgate at Flickr.

In fact negative feelings have become something of a taboo and showing them is almost considered rude, so instead people dance around them and make a great show of pretending NOT to be angry, doubly so if they actually are mad. When you see someone admitting to being angry they may therefore do it in an oddly calm fashion, almost as if they were not really upset at all… but don’t let that fool you. They’re just holding back out of general politeness and are in fact very, very angry.

So how will you ever know that an Icelander is feeling upset? Look for the following words and phrases!

Reiður/reið = angry

Pirraður/pirruð = annoyed

Brjálaður/brjáluð = mad/crazy

Kolbrjálaður/kolbrjáluð = lit. transl. coal crazy, real meaning: filled with rage/hate/anger

Öskuillur/öskuill = lit. transl. ash evil, real meaning: filled with rage/hate/anger

Öskuvondur/öskuvond = same as above

Cutlery protest… by Greg Neate at Flickr.

Some handy things you can say when you’re angry yourself:

Það er svo pirrandi! = It’s so annoying!

Hingað og ekki lengra! = lit. transl. this far and not further, real meaning: now you’ve done it/now you’ve crossed a line!

Þegiðu/Haltu kjafti! = Shut up! You can also add “æ” to the beginning – “æ þegiðu” = Oh shut up.

Þegið þið (öll)! = Shut up (every one of you)! This one’s a plural, in case you want to tell a group of people to shut up and not just one person in it.

Nú er nog komið! = lit. transl. now has enough come, real meaning: that’s enough!

Mér er ofboðið! = I’m outraged!

Nú er mér nóg boðið! = lit. transl. I’ve been given enough, real meaning: I’ve had enough!

Éttann sjálfur/étt’ann sjálfur/étt’hann sjálfur (all spellings exist)! = lit. transl. eat it yourself, real meaning: a generic insult on the lines of “piss off”.

Helvítis andskotans djöfulsins fokking fokk! = Hell’s devil’s devil’s effing eff! You can make almost any combination of these ones by the way.

Wait how to use them? Here’s a short pronunciation guide! 😀



First of all, I’m really, really sorry to be so late with another video, one with some interesting vocabulary for any viking fan: Medieval weapons + related words. You can view it here or at the blog post I chose to add it to (link). I wanted to include it in the series from the start but then my November turned crazily busy; however, I didn’t just want to give up on it either because that would have felt like giving partially up on a project that’s close to my heart (the Medieval era is my favourite and I could talk about it for days in a row if I didn’t have to sleep at nights). This won’t happen ever again.

Secondly, Christmas is coming. I have planned a little Icelandic something for you all regarding the season – it’ll start at, let’s see… 12 days! Until then, remember to be good. In Iceland you really better watch out, you better not cry, better not pout, you’ll be finding out why… 😉

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About the Author: hulda

Hi, I'm Hulda, originally Finnish but now living in the suburbs of Reykjavík. I'm here to help you in any way I can if you're considering learning Icelandic. Nice to meet you!