Uff da! | what does the expression mean? | Norway

Uff da! is a Norwegian interjection, often used to express sympathy. For example when a child falls over: Uff da! Slo du deg? - meaning Poor you! Did you hurt yourself?
LA Dahlmann | talk NORWAY
«Uff da!» - what does it actually mean? | Illustration: LA Dahlmann cc pdm.
«Uff da! Slo du deg nå, lille venn?»

Pronunciation

Uff da!

Variations

Uff da! is usually said in a deep voice, and in a drawn-out and comforting way. But the response can also be quick and upbeat, if the damage done or the message received is not too bad. Then it works more as an encouragement. Below, see some examples of how the expression is used. There are several phrase-variations, mostly with a fairly similar meaning:

  • Uff a meg!
  • Uff a meg’en!
  • Au da!
  • Oi da!
  • Uff og uff!
  • Uff det var leit å høre!
  • Or simply just – Uff!

The expressions are informal, and usually only used when speaking to someone you know well – both grown-ups and children. However, it can also be used if a stranger tells you something that requires an immediate show of sympathy.

Examples

Example 1
The expression used in a conversation with a friend:
Person A | My father just called; he has been in a car accident!
Person B | Uff da! Is he OK?
Person A | He broke his arm.
Person B | Uff a meg! How terrible!

Example 2
The quick, encouraging and upbeat tone would be used if for example a child falls over but turns to you smiling: Uff da! Up you go!

Example 3
The expression can also be used in a more sarcastic context and tone. For example, in a conversation with a friend who earns twice as much as you do:
Person A | I am furious! I only got a 3% pay rise this year!
Person B | Uff da! How terrible for you.

Many descendants of Norwegian emigrants to North America, several generations down the line, still hold on to this somewhat peculiar expression.

Did you see this one?
Vintage photos | the stave churches | Norway

Advertisement

End of advertisement

Our most recent posts

Advertisement

End of advertisement

My Norwegian heritage

With the Bronze age came a new and important phase in human history and development: mankind learned how to make tools and other objects from a metal they called bronze.
On 9 April 1940, German forces attacked Norway in the early hours of the morning. The Norwegian armed forces attempted to stave off the attack, but they were in no way prepared for this monumental task.
This beautiful oil painting by Johan Christian Dahl says a lot about generations of Norwegians - and the landscape and the skills they knew.
Åre is a Norwegian noun that means an open fireplace, placed on the floor in the middle of a room. The smoke goes up and out through a vent in the roof - the ljore.
The Black Death – mother of all plagues - ravaged humankind in the mid-1300s. A Norwegian scholar takes us through the lead up to the disaster.
Here are 12 historical photos representing the fascinating Sami culture - with deep roots in the Norwegian and Nordic landscape.
In Norway, the first traces of iron date back to 400-300 BC. The country has significant iron resources, and making tools and weapons from this new metal was a significant step forward.
Oslo is the capital city of Norway. It was founded in AD 1048 by the Viking king Harald Hardråde. Historically, the city is also known as Christiania or Kristiania.
Budrått is a Norwegian noun that means the output of milk products on a farm - such as cheese and butter. The word is often associated with what was produced during the summer on the seasonal mountain or forest pasture farm - the seter.
In a cold country like Norway, warm clothing is essential. This is a refined and old version of a woollen sweater from the district of Setesdal.
At Easter in 1906, renowned Norwegian photographer Anders Beer Wilse took this series of photos on a trip with a group of friends.
Queen Maud of Norway was born in London in 1869, as Princess Maud of Wales. Her grandmother was none other than the formidable Queen Victoria.
In the year AD 1537, King Christian 3 of Denmark-Norway embraced the Lutheran Reformation, and the Norwegians went from being Catholics to Protestants. The king confiscated the Catholic Church’s considerable wealth, a welcomed addition to the royal coffers. Norway more or less ceased to exist as a sovereign state and became a province under Denmark.
Some claim that porridge is the oldest hot dish in the Norwegian diet. Was it to our ancestors what bread is to the modern family of today?
In the coastal districts of the old Norway, a strandsitter was a beach dweller - who rented a small piece of land - but owned the house he built on it. His livelihood was usually connected to the sea.
The first half of the 1900s came with a momentous change to Norwegian society. The old ways of the ancient hunting and farming culture were rapidly dying.
In olden Norway, the farm-animals were sent off to the mountains and forests all summer. With them came a herder to guard them, and a maid to turn their milk into cheese and butter.
In Norway, the pizza appeared as an exotic newcomer in the 1970s. But bread topped with foodstuffs is nothing new in Norwegian food history.
Klippfisk - or klipfish - is fish preserved through salting and drying. Since the early 1700s, the Norwegians have been large-scale klippfisk producers and exporters.
When I was a boy, it was the workhorse that pulled the heaviest weight in agricultural life. And this had been the reality for as long as anyone could remember.
In this video-collection of historical photos, we reminisce about the dairy cow on the old Norwegian farm. We recommend that you watch with the sound on. Enjoy!

Follow us on social media

Norwegian history