What the Swedish word Lagom means

There are untranslatable words and expressions in Swedish that have no literal translation. One such word is Lagom.

Lagom is the word that sums up the Swedes’ attitude towards life. Lagom can be translated as «neither more nor less, but just right».

Lagom is the motto of every Swede, expressing the wish not to exaggerate, not to overdo, not to overdo, not to overdo.

Lagom is a universal word, because Swedes use it in everyday life, in the shop, when travelling, when visiting, at work. If a Swede is asked what the temperature should be in the house, how much meat should be fried or how much milk should be added to coffee, the answer is obvious: Lagom!

By that word, we mean in moderation. Everything is good, but it has to be in moderation.

History of the word

Lagom has an ending -om, which comes with the word from way back when Swedish had a case system. The root ‘lag’ translates to ‘law’. In ancient times, the Vikings divided their booty by law or legally — laghum. Over time, the concept of «law» ceased to be associated with laghum and was transformed into the meaning of «enough».