24 June 2011

What the Sam blazes is "Uff da!"?

As you may or may not know, when Dakota Territory was opened, thousands of Russian and Scandinavian immigrants rushed west to homestead. My great-great grandparents were of the latter persuasion. On my father's paternal side were the Swedes, and on his mother's side were the Norwegians. (Why this small snippet of a history/genealogy lesson? Keep reading.)

Grandma was Norwegian. (You know what they say about Norwegians? You can always tell a Norwegian, but you can't tell them much! Get it? If not, let me explain. They are S-T-U-B-B-O-R-N! And opinionated.) Growing up, I would always hear Grandma, and Grandpa, and even, to a lesser extent, my father and his siblings say "Uff da!" Nobody had to ever explain it to me what it meant; however, I'm guessing you may want to know what this weird sounding phrase means.


"Uff da" is a Norwegian phrase that covers a whole gamut of English phrases like "good grief," "fiddlesticks," "shucky darn," or (one of my favorites) "shut the front door."

Here are some examples when "uff da" might be used:

  • When you stub your toe, you might say, "Uff da!"
  • When your dog has sixteen puppies, you might say, "Uff da!"
  • When you get like the bazillionth phone call in a morning and you've finally had enough, you might say, "UFF DA!!!"


Although I don't use this phrase very often (not sure why), it is very dear to my heart. Well as dear as a phrase can be. It's part of my heritage, my history. I even had it on my license plate when I got my first car. It bugged me that it was spelled wrong. UFDA. The correct spelling was already taken! Can you believe it?! Somebody else in my SOUTHERN state had UFF DA on their car? Uff da!

Get it? Got it? Good! Now put that good old Norwegian phrase to good use!

1 comment:

SPowell said...

I love the story. I will add that to my vocabulary.....some would do good to use it instead of something off-color.