Norwegian Terms of Endearment and Affection

    Norwegian have an old saying: “kjært barn har mange navn” (a beloved child has many names). And what better way to use those terms of endearment than to do it in the beautiful Norwegian language that sounds like a “singing language”?

    Although some may cringe at the thought of using corny language, and many Norwegians do, research suggests that inner language and pet names have the potential to strengthen relationships. [1]

    then why not give it a try?

    the most common Norwegian term of endearment

    “vennen” is the most common term of endearment in Norwegian.

    translates to “friend” or “the friend”, but the meaning is closer to the English words “love” , “honey”, or “honey”.

    This intimate word is primarily used to comfort someone and is reserved for close friends and family.

    Use the term “vennen” with caution, because it can come across as very condescending if used in the wrong context, for example, when you’re talking to a stranger or someone you’re not close to.

    Here are some examples of common Norwegian phrases that use the term of endearment “vennen”:

    • hei vennen. (hello love)
    • hvordan går det vennen? / går det bra med deg vennen? (How are you, honey? / Are you okay, love?) A mother can ask this of her children, but also of her husband, and vice versa.
    • lille come. / little vennen. (little friend) pet name for a boy. can be interpreted as very condescending if used with adults.
    • Non-natives, and especially foreign street vendors, often use the phrase “hei min comen”. the addition “min” can make this phrase appear false.

      Norwegian terms of endearment for men and boys

      Norwegian men tend to be reserved and although they love their friends, this affection is rarely expressed out loud. terms of endearment among Norwegian men are usually nicknames or title words.

      Norwegian people also have a long tradition of calling friends by their last name, which is still true today. Getting a nickname is a sign that you belong in the group and, for many people, the best term of endearment.

      other examples of Norwegian terms of endearment for men and boys:

      • kongen (the king)
      • sjef / sjefen (chief/chief)
      • kompis (friend)
      • bestevenn (best friend)
      • Norwegian terms of endearment for girls and women

        Norwegian girls are not afraid to show their affection for one another, and this is reflected in the terms of endearment they use.

        Here, the focus is more on appearance than status. and although men like to call each other by their last name, this is not common for Norwegian women. one reason for this may be that it is still customary for the bride to take the groom’s surname.

        some examples of Norwegian terms of endearment for girls and women are:

        • søta (honey)
        • beib / bejb (baby) (Norwegian people often like to write English words in Norwegian).
        • finingen (good looking)
        • bestevenn (best friend)
        • bestis (best friend. less formal, more childish)
        • snuppa / schnuppa (baby)
        • Norwegian terms of affection

          While Norwegian men are not known to be intimate in their choice of words when talking to their male friends, they are not entirely stoic when it comes to their partner.

          many terms of affection are gender neutral or phrases to describe the male. this may be because Norwegian men are too embarrassed to think in their own terms of affection. so instead they just repeat the ones their girlfriends wear.

          kjæreste / kjæresten

          Norwegian don’t have words for boyfriend and girlfriend; instead, the words are combined into ‘kjæreste’ (bride/groom) or ‘kjæresten’ (the bride/groom).

          this is sometimes misspelled as “shæste” or “shæsten” by the younger generation, which is a play on how the word is pronounced.

          here are other terms of affection in norwegian:

          • elskling (my love)
          • beibi / beib (baby)
          • sussebass (susse = to kiss, bass = strong man) (the original meaning was forgotten long ago, and now it just means someone you like to kiss. It is used by both men and women).
          • pus (kitten) used by both men and women.
          • min bedre halvdel (my better half)
          • godjenta / godgutten (good girl / good boy)
          • hunken (Norwegian version of the word hunk) used to describe a boy.
          • kjekken (handsome) used to describe a boy.
          • sjefen

            If a Norwegian man tells you that he has to ask “sjefen” (his boss), he may be talking about his wife or girlfriend.

            but given that norway is the most gender equal country in the world [2], many Norwegian women do not see this as a term of endearment but as something demeaning.


            In the Norwegian countryside, ‘kjerring’ or ‘kjerringa’ is considered a term of endearment. however, for most other Norwegians, ‘kjerring’ translates to hag, the polar opposite.

            terms of endearment for friends in Norwegian

            Norwegian often make up nicknames based on geography, unique characteristics, or the person’s first name. many carry these nicknames their entire lives, and some even make it their official name.

            some examples:

            • rebekka is often shortened to bekka
            • alexander is often abbreviated as alex
            • former norway national soccer player and coach egil olsen will always be known as “drillo” because of his dribbling skills.
            • Norwegian former journalist and television personality ellen Åse bech langballe was known as ‘toppen bech’. she got her nickname ‘toppen’ for having a lock of hair standing up when she was a baby.
            • Norwegian terms of endearment for family

              Standard family vocabulary (mamma/pappa/bestemor/bestefar/tante/onkel) is most often used when talking to or about adult family members.

              However, a few variations are worth mentioning:

              a less formal nickname for parents used by their children. this is not as childish as ‘mom/dad’ and is mostly used by tweens and teens.

              Close friends of a family with children can get an honorary title of ‘tante’ or ‘onkel’. as this is not by blood, the term to describe their relationship is ‘filetant’ or ‘filleonkel’.

              however, they are called tante and onkel, just like the related ones.

              terms of endearment for children

              While some Norwegian children are given nicknames that last their whole lives, others are showered with pet names that are more temporary.

              Here are some examples of terms of endearment for children in Norwegian:

              • vennen / lille venn (dear / little darling)
              • throat. (the gold)
              • princessen. / prison. (princess / prince)
              • skatten / skatten min (treasure / my treasure)
              • gutten min / jenta min (my boy / my girl)
              • elsklingen min (my love)
              • skjønningen (honey)
              • lillemor (little mother)
              • common goodnight phrase:

                • god natt min skatt. (good night, my darling)
                • Norwegian phrases to tell someone you like or love them.

                  Norwegian have three degrees to express their love.

                  the least serious and something that even a Norwegian boy could say to another boy. comparable to the English version, I like you.

                  ‘I like’ has a second meaning for teens and tweens. In norwegian, there is no word for ‘crush’. instead, teens wonder who they like. ‘hvem liker du? Saying you like someone can be interpreted as having a crush on them if you’re talking to teens.

                  often abbreviated as ‘happy i grade.

                  more powerful and serious than ‘I like you’ in the sense that you would only say this to someone you really care about. although it may be, the meaning of this phrase is not necessarily romantic.

                  often abbreviated as ‘elsker deg’

                  Mainly said to your partner or someone you really care about. it is only pronounced if the person really means it. this phrase is not comparable to the English “I love you”, which is often used as a mere compliment.

                  Although stoic and reserved, Norwegians are not cruel, but it takes some work to open up. You may also find that many only use these terms of affection when no one else is around.

                  this is natural and a janteloven effect. a set of social norms that, among other things, indirectly tells you not to show your happiness to other people, as it will make them feel bad.

                  1. [1] cheesy nicknames strengthen a couple’s bond –
                  2. [2] norway – world leader in gender equality – norwegian national statistical institute
                  3. PS: You can use our free language tool, vocabchat, to create and record your own vocabulary and phrase lists.

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