From Iceland — Word Of The Issue: Teika

Word Of The Issue: Teika

Published April 9, 2018

Word Of The Issue: Teika
Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Dagblaðið, 1978/Sv.Þorm

The Icelandic word of the issue is teika. This word is a classic example of vocabulary that falls out of use due to technological evolution. “Teika” is derived from the English word “take”, and specifically refers to hopping onto a taxi’s running board or the rear bumper of a bus to get a free ride, if only for a block or two. This used to be a fun, albeit dangerous, activity for Icelandic kids in Reykjavík back when cars actually had running boards, especially in the 40s and 50s. For a long time, it was the bane of drivers in Iceland’s capital. Fortunately for them, cars and buses changed their designs, making it impossible to teika unless you literally leaped onto the hood of a driving car, which is inadvisable. In fact, the only time you see or hear this word today is to refer to Reykjavík of yore. It’s a fun example of how words can fall out of use because the thing they refer to no longer exists, and that’s why teika is the word of the issue.

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