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Interesting Scandinavian Proverbs

Updated on April 6, 2012

A proverb is saying, based upon common sense or practical experience, which is passed down brutally from generation to generation throughout a society. You may be familiar with some of the old proper that were taught to you as a child. These proverbs come from an area in Europe, known as Scandinavia, which includes the countries of Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.

  • The headless army can be in for a hard time.
  • It is no shame to look into the warm spring sun and regretting lost limb.
  • The lame man runs if he has to.
  • On the gallows, the first night is the worst.
  • War does not determine who is right, only who is remaining.
  • Don't mistake the bone for meat, nor a sheep’s head for a roasted turnip.
  • Don't go to the sauna if you're not itching.
  • The frost drives the pig home.
  • Poverty is no joy, although sometimes it makes you laugh.
  • If tar, hard liquor, and the sauna do not cure, the disease is fatal.
  • Don't let your sorrow come higher than your knees.
  • Advice should be viewed from behind.
  • A head is not to be cut off because it is scabby.
  • What you cannot briefly you do not know.
  • A little dog, a cow without horns, and a short man, are generally proud.
  • A woman may be ever so old, but if you set her on fire, she will jump.
  • Children and drunken men speak the truth.
  • Every little fish expects to become a whale.
  • Everything has an end, except a sausage, which has two.
  • It is a bold mouse that makes her nest in a cat’s ear.
  • The best manure is under the farmers shoe.
  • The dog kennel is not likely to keep sausage.
  • You must walk a long while behind a wild goose before you find an ostrich feather.
  • You cannot drink and whistle at the same time.
  • It’s bad to get ashamed over a thing well grasped.
  • Heroism consists of hanging on one minute longer.
  • It is better to feed one cat than many mice.
  • Life is uncertain so eat your dessert first.
  • Love came in a paper bag, said the maiden when she got a letter from her sweetheart.
  • Time for the mouse to yawn when it’s half inside the cat.
  • The box chooses its lid.
  • Laughter from long joy, a fart from laughing long.
  • If a blind man leads another, they both fall down together.
  • After three days, both fish and guests begin to smell.

It is interesting to think about these little snippets of knowledge that come from other areas of the world, and think about where this knowledge came from. What experiences led them to develop these sayings? And furthermore, how they have been passed down long enough to still be recorded today?


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    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 

      6 years ago from USA

      Hi, I just wanted to let you know that I have included this hub in my list of favorite hubs I've read during the week ending March 11. Congrats!

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 

      6 years ago from USA

      This is a great collection of proverbs, many of which I hadn't heard before today. Thank you for sharing the. Voted up.

    • guerrykathy profile image


      6 years ago

      Nice read. I love proverbs. Thanks for sharing.

    • cleaner3 profile image


      6 years ago from Pueblo, Colorado

      WOW, had me in stiches. very nice Write

    • anglnwu profile image


      6 years ago

      Great collection and they make so much sense. Thanks for shraing.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      I enjoyed reading this proverbs. I just heard a Mexican proverb today that makes sense, "The woman is the foundation of the house". Guess it could be true of any home where the family respects the mother. You put a smile in my day already.

    • KatyWhoWaited profile image


      6 years ago

      I LOVE these. I have to pass them on to my Swedish-American husband and his mother and father. The only "proverb" (actually a phrase) I hear most often is: "Well, dat's it ya know," uttered by some feat of articulation during the inhalation phase of a long sigh!

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Nice collection. Some made me laugh, some left me bewildered, but all made me think. Well done.

      Voted interesting and funny. Socially shared.

    • LaThing profile image


      6 years ago from From a World Within, USA

      Very nice! I like this one; "Don't let your sorrow come higher than your knees."


    • TMApsey profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA


    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 

      6 years ago from India

      Very interesting read especially "•It is a bold mouse that makes her nest in a cat’s ear"

      Thanks for sharing:)

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 

      6 years ago

      Love 'em! can i post one or two on my fb status?

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      brilliant!: A woman may be ever so old, but if you set her on fire, she will jump

    • profile image

      Breen Bergstrome 

      6 years ago

      Great ancestors are Scandinavian.

      I have heard my aunt Ruby quote several of these:

      "After three days both fish and guests begin to smell" and "poverty is no joy although sometimes it makes you laugh".

      Many wise proverbs here..some make me wonder and smile..some seem just having fun.

      Nice read dear.

    • petenali profile image


      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I always find proverbs interesting. I work in a fun sales environment and we often challenge each other to use certain funny phrases when talking with customers. I might use some of these with my sales team... voted up & funny


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