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Colloquial Norwegian – Adjectives that you will not find in textbooks

I have chosen for you a few commonly used adjectives, which you will not find in any Norwegian language textbook. It is worth knowing them in order to understand what Norwegians talk about every day.

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A word for grusom could mean ruthless, terrible, dreadful, horrible. For example, en grusom fiende – a ruthless enemy. We can use this adjective in everyday situations, e.g. et grusomt slips – terrible tie, et grusomt vær – awful weather. It is sometimes used as an adverb with positive adjectives such as En grusomt pen dame. A terribly pretty girl.


This adjective comes from the noun vold, which means violence. However, it is commonly used to emphasize the enormity of a given phenomenon or state. For example, Han har voldsomme smerter. He has enormous pains. Det var et voldsomt snøfall. A lot of snow has fallen.


Kjapp means fast, it’s synonymous with rask og fort. This word is often used in advertising slogans such as Kjøp kjapt og billig! Buy quickly and cheaply!


Kjekk means handsome. We can say that about a handsome man. There is also a noun from this adjective, namely kjekkas, or a handsome man. About a pretty woman we will say that she is fin (pretty) or pen (beautiful).


Artig is the same as pleasant, funny, interesting. Artig can be a person, e.g. En artig kar. Funny guy. Artig can also be doing something like Det er artig å reise mye. It is interesting to travel a lot.


Common Norwegian “likes” words borrowed from English. One of them is the English adjective kjip (cheap). In Norwegian it can mean: bad, horrible, sad, boring. For example, Livet er kjipt.

If you know any other interesting colloquial adjectives, share them with us in the comments!

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