Swedish glossary

Learning Swedish is tough, some say. Why not start by using this Swedish–English glossary to learn some basic words and phrases? It’s not that difficult, really.

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An insider tip: the Swedish letters å, ä and ö sound like the o in ‘for’, the ai in ‘fair’ and the u in ‘fur’, respectively.

Photo: Sofia Sabel/
imagebank.sweden.se (altered)

Swedish glossary

Learning Swedish is tough, some say. Why not start by using this Swedish–English glossary to learn some basic words and phrases? It’s not that difficult, really.

Greetings & courtesies

Swedish English
God morgon! Good morning
God natt! Good night
Hej!
or Tjena!
Hello
Hi (informal)
Hejdå! Bye-bye
Hur mår du?
or Hur står det till?
or Hur är läget?
How are you? (neutral)
How are you? (formal)
What’s up? (informal)
Bara bra, tack. Och du? I’m fine, thanks. And you?
Tack! Thank you/Please (depending on the context)
Varsågod! Here you go/Please/You’re welcome (depending on the context)
Talar du engelska? Do you speak English?
Trevligt att träffas Pleased to meet you
Ursäkta mig! Excuse me
Ursäkta mig, var ligger toaletten? Excuse me, where is the restroom/toilet?

 

Kanelbulle = cinnamon bun.

Photo: Björn Tesch/
imagebank.sweden.se

 

Read more about cinnamon buns here:
Cinnamon buns

 

Food & drinks

Swedish English
Bröd Bread
En dagens, tack! Today’s special, please (mostly lunch time)
En stor stark A lager beer (literally: ‘a big strong’)
Ett glas rött/vitt A glass of red/white wine
Fisk Fish
Kaffe på maten Coffee after dinner (literally: ‘coffee on the food’)
Knäckebröd Crispbread
Kyckling Chicken
Kött Meat
Köttbullar och lingonsylt Meatballs and lingonberry jam
Lättöl Low-alcohol beer (a maximum of 2.25% alcohol by volume, common in Sweden)
Mjölk Milk
Ost Cheese
Skaldjur Shellfish
Smör Butter
Vatten Water
Vegetariskt Vegetarian

 

Feelings

Swedish English
Förlåt! I’m sorry/Forgive me
Jag gillar dig I like you
Jag hatar dig I hate you
Jag älskar dig I love you
Jag är ledsen I’m sorry/I’m sad (depending on the context)

 

Älg = moose.

Photo: Folio/
imagebank.sweden.se

 

Read more about the moose here:
Sweden’s most dangerous animal

Typically Swedish

Swedish English
Fika Coffee break (including the socialising that goes with it)
Glögg The Swedish version of mulled wine
Lagom Just right; not too little, not too much
Nja (nej + ja) No and yes
Ombudsman Ombudsman (!)
Påtår A refill of coffee (often included)
Sambo Someone who lives together with his/her partner without being married (short for samboende)
Smörgåsbord Smorgasbord
Särbo Someone who is in a long-term relationship but does not live together with his/her partner
Älg Moose (Eurasian elk)

 

Numerals

0 Noll
1 Ett
2 Två
3 Tre
4 Fyra
5 Fem
6 Sex
7 Sju
8 Åtta
9 Nio
10 Tio

 

Useful links

Ord.se Online multilingual dictionary
Tyda.se Online dictionary, mostly Swedish–English–Swedish
bab.la Multilingual phrase dictionary
learningswedish.se Free online Swedish course for beginners

Last updated: 16 May 2016

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