Swedish word of the day: jobbig

Swedish word of the day: jobbig
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
Often described as one of the Swedish language's untranslatable words, there are plenty of times where jobbig comes in handy.

Jobbig is an adjective meaning “tiresome”, “trying”, “irritating”, “arduous”, “difficult to deal with”, or “a lot of work”.

But despite the fact there are several possible translations, it’s hard to claim any of them are quite so satisfying to exclaim as jobbig.

It comes from jobb (“job”) combined with the adjective ending -ig. It’s not necessarily that a jobbig task is difficult – it could be, but it could also just be one you don’t want to do. It feels like hard, unrewarding work. 

You can use it to describe anything that’s a pain to deal with, perhaps a person, your day, a conversation, or a situation. Grammar exercises, a long car trip with grouchy toddlers, your least favourite household chore, tax returns, that neighbour you always have to brace yourself for a conversation with: all of these might be jobbig.


Vilken jobbig dag jag har haft!

What a rough day I’ve had!

Han var jobbig som tonåring

He was a pain to deal with as a teenager

Oj vad jobbigt!

Oh, what a pain!

Villa, Volvo, Vovve: The Local’s Word Guide to Swedish Life, written by The Local’s journalists, is now available to pre-order. Head to lysforlag.com/vvv to read more about it, and use the discount code VOVVELOVE (valid until October 27th) to get a 10% discount on all pre-orders.

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