Swedish idioms

A collection of idiomatic expressions in Swedish with English equivalents and translations.

Idioms English versions
Att ana ugglor i mossen To smell a rat; to have suspicions
("To suspect owls in the moss/bog")
Att ha tomfar på loftet To have bats in the belfry; to be a bit stupid/crazy
("To have gnomes in the attic")
Droppen som fick bägaren att rinna över The straw that broke the camel's back
("The droplet that caused the beaker to overflow")
Först till kvarn (får först mala) First come, first served
("First to the mill does the first grinding")
Göra en höna av en fjäder To make a mountain out of a molehill
("To make a hen out of a feather")
Grädde på moset The icing on the cake
("The cream on the mash")
Gå som katten kring het gröt To beat around the bush; to pussyfoot
("To walk like a cat around hot porridge")
Ha en gås oplockad To have a bone to pick
("To have an unplucked goose")
Ha en räv bakom örat To be cunning
("To have a fox behind the ear")
Ha millimetrarna på sin sida To be lucky
("To have the millimeters on your side")
Inte döma hunden efter håren Don't judge a book by its cover
("Don't judge the dog after the hair")
Inte för allt smör i hela Småland Not all the tea in China
("Not for all the butter in Småland")
Ingen ko på isen There is no cause for concern; no immediate danger
("No cow on the ice")
Inte sälja skinnet förrän björnen är skjuten Don't count your chickens until they hatch
("Don't sell the skin before the bear is shot")
Känna som sin egen ficka To know like the back of one's hand
("To know like one's own pocket")
Mycket snack och lite verkstad All talk, no action
("Lots of talk and no workshop")
Skriva som en kråka To write illegibly
("To write like a crow")
Stava som en kråka To spell badly
("To spell like a crow")
Ta sig vatten över huvudet To bite off more than you can chew
("Take water over your head")
Vara ute och cykla To be utterly confused; to misunderstand something
("To be out cycling")
Trampa i klaveret To put one's foot in one's mouth - to do something awkward or embarrassing putting sb/oneself on the spot in a negative way
("To step (heavily) on the accordion")

Hear some Swedish idioms:


Swedish idioms

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More idioms

It's all Greek to me | It's raining cats and dogs | As easy as falling off a log | A sandwich short of a picnic | It's small world | When pigs fly | Out of sight, out of mind | Crystal-clear | Penny Pinching | Practice makes perfect | The grass is always greener | As Snug as a Bug in a Rug

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