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Icelandic Terms of Endearment and Affection

Living in the cold north and being the descendants of a harsh Viking-age culture, Icelanders are generally true to the cultural characteristics of the Scandinavian nations.

Being reserved, stoic, and outwardly unemotional are definitely prominent cultural features, but while Icelanders might seem cold on the surface, we are a very family-oriented people and most of us have very firm bonds of friendship and love, which we strengthen through the use of specific terms of endearment.

General Icelandic terms of endearment

In the Icelandic language, there is a tendency to value quality over quantity, so our terms of affection and love tend to be few in number and are often different variations of the same terms. The use of these terms is not casual, however, so their use has a profound meaning.

By the way, if you have friends or relatives who speak Icelandic, why not learn the language? It is available on Pimsleur, and they offer a free lesson.

Unusual Icelandic terms of endearment

In Iceland, it is not customary to engage in extravagant displays of affection or love, and our terms of endearment tend to be quite simple and straightforward. There are a few exceptions, however, that might seem downright bizarre to an outside observer.

Masculine terms of endearment

Some terms in Icelandic are used exclusively for men and they tend to be only used by men to address one another.

Feminine terms of endearment

Strictly feminine terms of endearment are rare in Icelandic, as general terms like the ones discussed above are more commonly used for women, but there are still some that exclusively refer to women.

Terms of endearment, affection, and love are important verbal tools for maintaining and strengthening social bonds and Icelanders are no different from other nations in that regard.

We have also published two articles written by this same author, one focusing on Icelandic boy names and the other on Icelandic girl names.