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Swedish profanity

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Title: Swedish profanity  
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Subject: Cantonese profanity, Maledictology, Norwegian profanity, Armenian profanity, Swedish language
Collection: Profanity by Language, Swedish Language
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Swedish profanity

Swedish profanity can be divided into several categories. A substantial number of curse words in Swedish have religious origins. Euphemistic variants of the religious curses are commonly used as well. References to genitalia, or bodily functions, are common in the Swedish profanity vocabulary. Notably, no word for sexual intercourse is used, unlike many other languages (e.g., English "fuck", Spanish "joder", Mandarin "cào" / 肏/操).[1]

Some Swedish speakers find the native Swedish profanities lacking the required 'punch'. Profanity in Sweden therefore often borrows from other languages, such as English: Shit vad snygg hon är ("Damn, she's looks good"), German: Det var en scheissefilm ("That was a crappy movie"), and Finnish: Perkele!.


  • Intelligence profanities 1
  • Sexual profanities 2
  • Religious profanities 3
  • Scatological 4
  • Body parts 5
  • References 6

Intelligence profanities

Meaning idiot

Sexual profanities

Lit. "bugger, faggot", male homosexual. Combined with jävel (see below) to yield the very offensive bögjävel ("Fucking faggot"). The word bög is considered to be reappropriated by the Swedish gay community.[2]
Lit. "whore".

Religious profanities

A name for the Devil. Used interjectively, Va' fan? ("What the hell?"), Fan ta dig!, ("Goddamn you!", lit. "[may] the Devil take you!"). The derived word fanskap is also used: Vad har hon nu hittat på för fanskap? ("What devilry is she up to now?"). May be pronounced as a diphthong for emphasis: Faan!, Faen!. The euphemistic Dra åt fanders! (Get lost!) is commonly used, as are the common euphemisms:
  • fanken
  • fasen
  • fasiken
Förbannad, förbannat
Lit. "cursed, damned". Used interjectively, as Förbannat!, ("damn!") or as an intensifier: Var inte så förbannat dum! ("Don't be so damned stupid"). An alternative meaning is "angry": jag blev förbannad på henne ("I got pissed off at her"). Euphemisms include
  • förbaskat
  • förbenat
  • förbålt
Lit. "hell". Used similarly to the English "hell", such as in the phrase Dra åt helvete! ("Go to hell!") and Vad i helvete? ("What the hell?"). Euphemisms are:
  • Helsike
  • Hälsingland (referring to the province of Hälsingland)
Lit. "Lord God". A relatively mild profanity used to express dismay or surprise, similar to "Oh my God!" Contracted with jävlar it becomes the cruder and more offensive herrejävlar.
Jisses, jösses
Euphemisms for Jesus. As an interjection, an expression of amazement or surprise: Jisses! ("Oops!"), Jösses, vad du har blivit stor ("Geez, you've grown!")
Jävel, djävel.
Colloquial versions of djävul, lit. "devil". A versatile word, used in many ways as the English "fuck". The plural is frequently used as an interjection, Jävlar! ("Fuck!" or "Damn it!"), sometimes extended Jä-ä-ävlar-r-r-r for extra emphasis. Most commonly used pejoratively, as in din jävel! ("You fucker!"), but can also be used admiringly, as in han var en snabb jävel ("He was a quick son-of-a-bitch"). The word can also be used adjectivally: den jävla hunden bet mig! ("The fucking dog bit me!"). The derived form jävlig can mean "irritating", "troublesome": jag haft en jävlig dag. ("I've had a rough day"). Han jävlas med mig means "He's yanking my chain/fucking with me". Euphemisms abound, typically substituting with words beginning with järn- ("iron"):
  • järnspik: "iron nail(s)"
  • järnvägar: "railways"
Literally, an invocation of Satan. Used as an interjection Satan! and also in the genitive form: Den satans katten har pissat i rabatten igen ("The goddamn cat has pissed in the flowerbed again"). Euphemized as:

The religious profanities are often combined in tirades for extra emphasis or for comedic effect: satans helvetes förbannade jävlar.


Lit. "piss, urine". Frequently used as an interjection to express dismay or disappointment, Piss också! ("Damn it!"). Used as a prefix it either diminishes the suffix: det var pissenkelt ("It was really easy") or worsens it: Jag mår pissdåligt ("I feel like shit").
Lit. "shit". When used interjectively it is much less offensive than its English cognate: Skit! ("Damn!"). Commonly used for "filth", "mess": hon var skitig ("She was dirty"). As a verb, skita means "to defecate", as in: Han sket på sig ("He crapped his pants.") but also "to make dirty": Han skitade ner sig ("He got dirty"). Combined with the preposition i ("in") changes the meaning to "ignore", "not care": Det skiter jag i! ("I don't give a damn!"). Commonly used as a emphasizing prefix: skitbillig ("dirt cheap"), skitfull ("dead drunk") and as a diminishing prefix: Det är en skitsak ("It's a piece of cake"). In imperative mood, skit på dig! (lit. "go crap [in your clothes]!") is used like "get bent" or "get lost" in English.
Lit. "shit-boot". Very offensive term used to describe a person, like "asshole", "fucker", or "bastard."

Body parts

arsel, arsle
Lit. "arsehole". Used pejoratively about people: Vilket arsle han är! ("What an arsehole he is!")
Lit. "cunt". Used pejoratively about females: Hon är en riktig fitta. ("She's a real bitch")
Lit. "cock, dick". Used interjectively to express annoyance (Kuk!). Combined with huvud ("head") yields kukhuvud ("dickhead").
röv, rövhål
Lit. "arse, arsehole". Commonly used in the expression Ta dig i röven! ("Up yours!", lit. "grab your ass!").


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