From Iceland — Word of the Issue: Fössari

Word of the Issue: Fössari

Published January 4, 2018

Word of the Issue: Fössari
Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Hugleikur Dagsson

“Fössari” is an informal Icelandic word for Friday, which is more formally written “Föstudagur.”There should be nothing particularly controversial about this word in itself, yet for some reason it evokes rage in a great many people. Think of an informal word that everyone around you says, like “smol” or “henlo” or “doggo.” That cringing irritation you feel is what many Icelanders feel when they hear “fössari.” Interestingly, the backlash against fössari inspired a backlash against the backlash. In the accompanying image, a comic by Hugleikur Dagsson depicts a funeral for a man who hated fössari, wherein the attendees then take the opportunity to all say fössari around his coffin. And this is what makes fössari so special; it’s not the construction itself, but the fact that a new word can be introduced to the language that some people will resist and others will accept. As such, fössari is a testament to Icelandic being as vibrant a language as any other, and that’s what makes it this issue’s Word of the Issue.

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