15 Beautiful Icelandic Words We Need in English

Icelandic pony | © Erin Honeycutt
Icelandic pony | © Erin Honeycutt
Photo of Camille Buckley
1 February 2018

With only 330,000 residents, Iceland has a pretty small population and even fewer native speakers of Icelandic. With archaic roots that still carry over into this modern language, Icelandic is unique in that it is very close to Old Norse. Another thing that makes it unique is that it is constantly changing, as new translations of foreign words are readily made available. Here are some beautiful words that don’t quite have a direct translation into English.

Raðljóst (n.)

Pronounce it like this: rath-ljoust

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Skúmaskot (n.)

Pronounce it like this: skewma-skoat

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Nenna (v.)

Pronounce it like this: nennah

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Skreppa (v.)

Pronounce it like this: skreppah

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Vesen (n.)

Pronounce it like this: veh-sen

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Kærasti / Kærasta (n.)

Pronounce it like this: kai-rasti / kai-rasta

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Ljósmóðir (n.)

Pronounce it like this: ljous-mow-thr

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Jæja (interj.)

Pronounce it like this: yai-yah

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Víðsýni (n.)

Pronounce it like this: vith-see-nee

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Ísbíltúr (n.)

Pronounce it like this: ees-beel-tour

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Duglegur (adj.)

Pronounce it like this: doog-leg-ur

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Ástfangin (adj.)

Pronounce it like this: owst-faungin

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Gluggaveður (n.)

Pronounce it like this: glew-ga-veth-ur

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Tölva (n.)

Pronounce it like this: toelva

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Dragsúgur (n.)

Pronounce it like this: drag-sue-gher

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