Oofta uff dah ufda oofda

This website is dedicated to keeping this word alive and a part of our language. An expression used by people of scandinavian heritage…when they are overwhelmed. Can and is readily exchanged for such expressions as wow, oh my goodness, ouch, oh my God!. Examples. Oofta, I’m tired! Oofta she is so dumb! Oofta, this oatmeal is burned. Oofta this house is a mess. Oofta I’m glad the grandkids have left! Oofta that’s a big load of timber!

For more on the word go to Wikipedia


20 responses to “Oofta uff dah ufda oofda

  1. Well, thank you. I am originally from N. Illinois and for most of my life, my Norwegian grandmother used the phrase “oofta.” Now I am knowledged in the history of a word I still use today. I live in L0uisiana and can now relay this information to those who laugh at my yankee ways.

  2. Hi,
    My Norwegian grandmother, Olga, also used to say Uffda all the time. They owned a farm in southern Minnesota. We lived in Chicago, but would go for a visit at least once a year.

    When she used the word Uffda, I first thought it was a Norwegian cuss word – they used to speak Norwegian when they didn’t want me to understand what they were talking about.

    Later, by the context I got the real idea what it meant – glad to see you’re keeping this word alive.

    I live in Indianapolis now, not too many Norwegians here – and I never hear Uffda uttered anymore. I say it once in a while just for the heck of it, but that’s about it.

    • My family is all from southern Minnesota, Blue Earth to be exact….:) I was born in bloomington IL, but, my whole family is from MN…I consider MN my home, my grandmother spoke Norwegian (she was Norwegian, gramps was Danish) she used to always tell us to sweep up the “rusk” and if we were not sitting “lady like” we were told to stop “screeving”…LOLOL

  3. Hi,
    Since getting a bit larger now in my 7th month of pregnancy, I have been saying “Oofta” whenever I have to get up from laying down on the couch. My husband was laughing at me about this and was like”Oofta” what is that! I thought I had invented the word as it just seemed to fly out of my mouth with the effort of moving my pregnancy self around. Just for kicks I decided to google it to see if it meant anything and I am so happy to learn about the word on your blog. I will use the word with pride now, and maybe my baby is going to be a Scandanavian in spirit.

  4. Sånn, ja!

    Herlig at dere holder røttene ved like!

  5. Robert in Pittsburgh

    Many years ago I had a book called “They Have a Word for It” and I am pretty sure that the author indicated an additional, very subtle meaning for this word. As I recall, it had the additional connotation of : “I feel your pain.” For example if someone slips on the ice and falls and you say “Ufda” means something like, “That looked so painful I could just about feel myself hitting the sidwalk.” I’m not Scandanavian, don’t know for sure personally if that’s valid, but that’s what I recall. FYI The book is still available – now that I’ve been reminded of I’ll have to go and replace my lost copy!

  6. I love your website! I was curious what “oofta” actually meant so I googled it and found you. My siblings and I often used the word “oofta.” We picked it up as children from our Norwegian grandmother Dagny. She would be proud!

  7. this made me laugh
    my grandma augnes was norwegian

    i still say it everyday

  8. I am looking for anyone Norway here in Indianapolis. My brother-in-law is a reporter in Skienn Norway, and he and his family will be here in October. He is looking to write an article on someone form Norway living here in Indianapolis, and their experiences.

    Thanks, Matt


  10. Patricia Ottum

    I’m from MN and halk Norweigian. My Dad was a norweigan and proud of it. My sweetie hears mw say Ufda all the time and wants me to stop cause he thinks it ‘s a swear word. I don’t use it in that way, and I’m happy to know the real meaning. My Dad bragged about the fact that in the winter they walked 12 miles one way to school with baked potatoes in their pockets to keep their hands warm. Then they would eat the potatoes or boiled eggs for lunch! I love that!

  11. My maternal grandparents came from Norway, in 1910 and settled in southeastern Minnesota. They had 12 children (my mother being the 10th). I heard my uncles and mother use this term often. It is a part of my vocabulary, and my 6 children use it.

  12. My mother’s family was Norweigian and lived in western Minnesota. My mother and her brothers would always talk Norweigian or Pig Latin if they didn’t want us kids to know what they were saying. They would say Oofta quite often, and now I even have my southern husband from Tennessee saying it and my children. I hope their children will continue the tradition.

  13. My best friend and I began saying Ooftkah a few months back. We’re quite goofy folks so I figured that it was just a random word we picked up. We wanted to learn the definition to this since we use it so much and had no clue what it meant so we just decided to Google it. We have now come to the conclusion that it means ever thing we use it for.. ex: When we crash snowboarding we shout “ooftkah!!!!” Allowing it to echo throughout the whole mountain range. Don’t you worry. This word will not die if we have to do with it! OOFTKAH ON!!!!!

  14. My grandparents came from southern Sweden just before the First World War. I grew up with a lot of Oofta too, Also, when the dog needed to go out, grandma would tell it to go Lufta pipa, which I always thought meant lift a leg and pee, but eventually discovered was more like Get some and and chirp. I was eventually lucky enough to go to Sweden with my mother and my niece, meet our relatives, and go inside the house my grandmother grew up in. I encourage everyone lucky enough to be part Scandinavian to get there at some point. For me, growing up in a brand new Minneapolis suburb, it gave me a sense of groundedness I’d never had before, and seeing what a beautiful part of the world it is made me fully appreciate how much my grandparents had sacrificed by leaving their homes as young newlyweds in try their luck in Iowa. Neither of them ever saw their parents again, though they did go back and see their siblings. After the trip, when my grandfather came back and I asked him what Sweden was like, he said, “Everything is bigger, and better, in America. Except the children.” Apparently, compared to well-behaved, seen-but-not-heard Swedish kids, my cousins and I were real hellions!

  15. I had the pleasure to know my Great Grandparents when I was a child. Their parents emigrated from Sweden to Northeast Nebraska and settled near the community of Wausa, in Knox County before Nebraska was even a state!

    My Great Grandparents were born in the 1880’s, and had great recollections of growing up in rural Nebraska during that era before the 20th Century. While they knew how to speak English, Swedish was what they spoke day to day until they moved to Omaha during the Great Depression. Needless to say, they spoke with pretty heavy Swedish accents, even though they were born in the US. “Oofta” was heard often! Grandpa would talk about picking “sherrys” from the tree, or having a piece of “sheese” on his sandwich. I would hear things like, “We should go down to da ‘Lootren’ ‘Shurch’ and eat at the ‘Lootfisk’ Supper, ya sure!”

    They both passed away, one after the other in 1970… Oofta! I miss them dearly…

  16. John K Bergland

    My Norwegian family employ the word “Ufda” (oofta) as an exclamation when something out of the ordinary occurs. It means “Wow! That’s over the top.”
    In Scandinavian communities there are festivals called “Ufda Days”
    When my father wanted to say, “Now that’s really something!” he said “Ufda Mega!” When my beautiful and sophisticated sister says “Ufda Mega”, it’s like saying, “Mercy, mercy!!” with a special tender strength. It is music to my ears.
    When you witness the might and right of God expressed as grace say, “UFDA!” It will be good for all of us. Cheers!
    Dr. John

  17. Am attempting to run a marathon in every state. My next state is North Dakota and have never been that far north before. The Fargo Marathon had “Uff da!” written on their marketing materials. I’m from Louisiana and but have been a Texan for 16 years now. Never heard this word before and thanks for the explanation!

  18. I’m Filipino and from now on I’ll be saying Oofta /Uffda as much as I can 😉

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