Word of the Issue: Jæja - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Word of the Issue: Jæja

Published March 22, 2019

Valur Grettisson

This four letter word is probably the most complicated word in the Icelandic language. Not because of the word itself, but because of the different tones of it that can change the meaning of it entirely. Jæja literally translates to ‘well’, but it can easily mean over ten things depending on your intonation.

For example, when pronounced with the famous inhaling sound, it means “I don’t really have time or energy to keep on with this discussion and I need to go.” When said sternly, it can mean “stop it, you fucking idiot.” So if you are all about being passive aggressive, this is the word that you want to study. 

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