display | more...
'The word fika is proof, if proof were needed, that Sweden is the most civilised country in the world.' So said a friend of mine, and I believe it. What does fika mean? Fika is usually a noun, of common gender (en fika = a fika, fikan = the fika), and it means, roughly, 'morning or afternoon tea (or coffee), and a bun, or something like that, and hopefully a sit down and chat with a friend'. You won't find the word in every Swedish dictionary, but that makes no odds. Fika is proof of Swedish sophistication. The verb form is usually 'ta en fika'.

Other words not readily expressed in English:

Hygge, kawaii. See also innit.
The alledged etymology of the word "fika" is one of the strangest I have heard so far:

There is a Swedish "secret language" called fikonspråk (English: "Fig Language"), somewhat similar to pig latin. To say a word in this language, you split it after the first vowel, then say "fi" + the second part + the first part + "kon".

E.g. The Swedish word for coffee is "kaffe". Split after the first vowel and you get "ka" and "ffe". Adding "fi" and "kon" you get "fiffe kakon", which is "kaffe" in this language.

When fig language was at its most popular in Sweden, teenagers used it to keep secrets from their parents and other adults. Some "fig-words" related to the activities the teenagers wanted to keep secret, smoking and drinking coffee for instance, survived the language and is now part of "mainstream" Swedish slang.

So what has all this to do with "fika"?

Some people claim that "fiffe kakon", the word for "kaffe" i used in the example, was used for some time to mean a coffee break, but was later abbreviated to "fika".

Pr: fee-kah

The Swedish idiom for let's take a cup of coffee and have a nice chin-wag, 'ska vi ta en fika', amuses native speakers of Italian no end, since the word fika is homophone with the Italian word for cunt.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.