The Meaning of Uff Da

By: Ashley Davis, Heritage Member

Just what does Uff da mean? I have heard my Grandpa and some Norwegian cousins say it, but when I ask, I get several definitions. So, I searched for an answer.

Uff da is of Norwegian origin. Itís common in the Upper Midwestern states of the United States. It can be used to express surprise, astonishment, exhaustion, relief, and dismay. It roughly means "drats!," "oops!," "ouch!," "Oh no!," or "Okay!." It has become a mark of Scandinavian roots.

Here are some situations I found that Uff da could be well used, enjoy! Do any have personal or humorous meanings to you?

Dropping your only egg on the floor

Discovering your girl/boyfriend loves Lutefisk

Having a mouse crawl up your leg on a hay ride

Looking in your rearview mirror and see flashing red lights

When your friends mock your Ole and Lena jokes

Eating a delicious sandwich, and then discovering you used cat food

Waking yourself up in church with your own snoring

Looking in the mirror and fining out youíre not getting better, just older

Eating hot soup with a runny nose

When your birthday cake collapses from the weight of the candles

Spending the last fifteen minutes getting your kid dressed to play in the snow, only for him to now tell you he has to go to the bathroom!

Having to take your kids Trick or Treating in a blizzard

And last but not least:

Knowing somewhere in the state of Minnesota is a piece of frozen metal with a piece of your tongue still attached to it!

Even though Uff da has many meanings, it all comes back to one thing, itís purely Norwegian!