Tricky Swedish idioms Posted by Katja on Oct 5, 2012 in Swedish Language, Vocabulary
Idioms are probably one of the most difficult areas in learning a language, partly because most of these idiomatic expressions are not written down making them hard to find. But generally most people just expect speakers of the language to know them, and these are of course a huge reflection of a society and cultures development over a long period of time meaning that the logic behind the expression might be basically non-existent for somebody who hasn’t been taught them from a young age.
However, this blog post is a crash course on the most common ones, to take your language to a completely different level!
We’ll start off with some easy ones about animals, used almost all the time.
|Svenska||English translation||Use of animal in English||Swedish version|
|Listig/slug som en räv||Sly as a fox||–|
|Stark som en björn/oxe||Strong as an ox||–|
|Hungrig som en varg||Eat like a horse||–|
|Arg som ett bi||Angry as a bull||Busy as a bee||Flitig som en myra|
|Klok som en uggla||Wise as an owl||–|
|Envis som en åsna||Stubborn as a mule||–|
|Fri som en fågel||Free as a bird||Eat like a bird||*means: eat smallportions|
|Minne som en guldfisk||Memory like a gold fish||–|
|Rädd som en hare||Scared like hell||Breed like rabbits||*means: to have a lotof children|
|Kvick/snabb som en vessla||Quick as a flash||–|
|Tyst som en mus||Quite as a mouse||–|
|Vig/smidig som en katt||Agile as a monkey||Grin like a Cheshire cat|
Just so you follow the organization of the table above I’ll explain why I have written things the way I did. Either you remember an idiom by the characteristic it is describing or the for example the animal used to describe. But if the animal is used to describe something different in Swedish than in your own language you’re in trouble right!?
Then there are a couple of others, very commonly used idioms in everyday life. Some are similar and others are quite different. Once you have heard them you’ll start hearing them all over the place, in films, books or conversations. Please share ones from you own language too!
|Ful som stryk||Ugly as hell|
|Gammal som gatan||Old as the hills|
|Klart som korvspad||Clear as a bell|
|Lika som bär||As like as two peas|
|Sova som en stock||Sleep like a log|
|Bakom flötet||Not the brightest light in the harbor|
|Det gick som smort||Work like a charm|
|Dick gick åt skogen||Go haywire|
|Dra mig baklänges||Blow me down|