Speed Reads

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In Norway, 'Texas' is slang for 'crazy'

It started like this: A Tumblr post asked if "it is a thing in (American) English to use 'Texas' as a word for [...] something that's out of control or chaotic, or as like, 'crazy'?" Because, the post went on, "that is a thing people say in Norwegian."

When the post went viral, Texas Monthly looked into whether "texas" is actually a thing people say in the Land of the Midnight Sun to signify when something is nuts.

Turns out it is.

"Usually, when the word 'texas' — as an adjective, most often without capitalization — appears in Norwegian, the context involves the phrase, 'det var helt texas,' which translates to, roughly, 'it was totally/absolutely/completely bonkers.' You wouldn't call a person 'totally texas' — it usually describes a chaotic atmosphere," Texas Monthly explained.

The expression, which apparently dates back several decades, gives insight into how Scandinavians understand the Lone Star state: "'Texas' = 'cowboys' = 'Wild West' = 'an unpredictable, exciting, sometimes scary atmosphere.'"

This isn't just some internet joke. Actual people are quoted dropping the adjective in interviews, like that time a fisherman told the local news about catching a rare swordfish: "I heard a loud noise from the bay, but I did not know where it came from right away. Thirty seconds to a minute later it jumped out in the fjord. I got to see some of it before I took up the camera. It was totally texas!"

The only appropriate response to this revelation is retaliation. Although that wouldn't be very Norway of us, would it?