From Iceland — Word Of The Issue: Víti

Word Of The Issue: Víti

Published June 15, 2018

Word Of The Issue: Víti

Let’s say you’re playing a friendly game of football in Akranes and your buddy Þórgrímur wanders a little too close to the opposing team’s goalie. The ball is on the other side. He’s behind the defence. You hold your breathe. The whistle blows. “HELL,” cries the referee. Say what?

Yes, the Icelandic word for a sports penalty literally translates to ‘hell’. Yes, that hell, as in that red, warm, burning place that starts with the unbaptised and virtuous pagans and ends with Judas encapsulated in ice and Satan himself. For plebs, this seems a bit extreme, but for sports fans, it’s totally accurate. Watching your team get a red flag is fucking hell.

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