16 Funny Swedish Insults

Swedes have a colorful way of insulting one another. And most of our insults hail from the pre-industrialization time, when most of the population were farmers or worked outside.

This means, Swedes love insults relating to dumb geese, stupid donkeys, and gossiping sheep. And in a time when cities were distant, and the countryside was full of peasants, you cannot go far from the forest.

I split the list of insults into phrases and words. Next time you want to get angry with a Swede, you are armed with a list!

Insulting Swedish Phrases
Skita i det blå skåpet – To shit in the blue cupboard. It really means to ‘cross the line,’ as in ‘you’ve crossed the line and have pissed people off.’

The phrase originates from the comedy film, Göta Kanal, when the actor Janne Loffe Carlsson says, “Nu har de skitit i det blå skåpet, nu är det krig!” – “You’ve pooped in the blue cupboard, now it’s war!”

Gå och dra något gammalt över dig – Go and hide yourself under something old – Not only you should get lost, but put an old blanket over your head. That way, you can look even more stupid.

Dra åt skogen – Go to the forest – Sweden is full of trees and when you want someone to ‘get lost’ you tell them to ‘go to the forest.’ What a great way to get rid of the annoying hipsters in Söder!

Ditt jävla ålahuvud – You damn eel head – Seriously, that is the literal translation, eel head. Eels are notorious to have, flat, dumb heads?

Släng dig i backen – Throw yourself to the hill – ‘Get lost.’

Goddag yxskaft – Hello axe handle – One of my favorite phrases that I learned in Swedish class, ‘goddag yxskaft’ is a non sequitur. A non sequitur is an illogical statement. This phrase comes from the story of a deaf man who makes ax handles. When a stranger approaches him (most likely to ask the way to the town), he says, “hello”, but the deaf man responds, “axe handle.”

Åsnan mellan två hötappar – An ass between two stacks of hay – Someone who cannot make up their mind, being wishy-washy.

Dum som en gås. – Dumb like a goose – These three insults were common in the olden days. You will probably hear senior citizen say them but not young folks.
Tjock som en gris. – Fat as a pig.
Envis som en åsna. – Stubborn as a donkey.

Inte rent mjöl i påsen – Not clean flour in the bag – To describe someone who is a crook.

Insulting Swedish Words
Snuskhummer – Dirty lobster – Someone who is creepy or a douche bag.

Skitstövel – Poop boot – A bastard.

Dumbom – Stupid road barrier – Thick skulled, stupid.

Sladdertacka – Gossip sheep – Someone who gossips too much.

Mösstock – Cap log – Another way to call someone an idiot.

6 thoughts on “16 Funny Swedish Insults”

  1. “Åsnan mellan två hötappar – An ass between two stacks of hay”. It’s from some ancient greek fable.

    “Ditt jävla ålahuvud”. Typical insult in Scania. People down there have some hook up on eels, don’t ask me why. “Ditt jävla ålarens” (You damn eel entrails) is used as well.
    “Ditt jävla äggahuvud” (You damn egg head) is another one.

  2. Skitstövel = shit-kicker. From the manure smelling boots the peasants used to wear.

    “Eels are notorious to have, flat, dumb heads? ” Typical insult from Scania, the southern tip of Sweden.
    Also “ålarens” (eel’s entrails) or “äggahuvud” (egghead). For maximum dramatic/humourous effect, these insult should be expressed in scanian accent.

    Skita på golvet och halka i det (Shit on the floor and then slip on it) – well, you’ve crossed all the lines and you’re way beyond them.

    Envis som en röd gris – stubborn as a red pig.

    Speaking of animals…
    Död som en sill (dead as a herring), dum som en åsna (dumb as a jackass), slug som en räv (sly as a fox), skitig som en gris (filthy as a pig), stark som en oxe (strong as an ox)

  3. Magnus,

    Thanks for the explanations and animal insults! I love how languages use the local animal species to create insults.

  4. I believe some of them are greek actually, from Aesop’s ancient fables. The sly fox and the ambivalent jackass are.

  5. I would guess the eel’s head insult comes from the coastal fishing communities where the head was the useless part of the eel when using it as bait. “Ditt jävla ålahuvud” being an expression for someone who is dumb or useless.

  6. “Släng dig i backen” literally means “throw yourself on the ground” – not hill (backe = slope or ground, ås = hill)

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