Word Of The Issue: Kuldaskræfa — The Reykjavik Grapevine

Word Of The Issue: Kuldaskræfa

Word Of The Issue: Kuldaskræfa

Published May 5, 2017

Photo by
Timothée Lambrecq

The word of the issue this issue is kuldaskræfa. This literally means “cold coward,” and is used to refer to people who get cold easily or hate being cold. It’s a word that has no English equivalent, and also says a lot about the culture. Iceland has a temperate climate, as you may know, so it’s not as if disliking the cold should be some uncommon character trait in this country. Yet anecdotally, Icelanders will more often than not express great sensitivity to heat but near imperviousness to cold. Express any sort of dislike for being cold and you will invite ridicule upon yourself, as people ask you why you moved to a country called ICEland in the first place. Kuldaskræfa reflects a lot of the rugged individualist aspects of Icelandic culture, and that’s why it’s this issue’s word of the issue.

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