Icelandic sayings

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  • Þetta reddast. (It’ll all work out in the end.). This is Iceland's unofficial motto.

  • Áfram með smjörið! (On with the butter!) This is a common phrase used to encourage someone to hurry up.

  • Það kemur allt með kalda vatni. (Everything comes with cold water.) This saying means that everything will work out in the end, even if things are tough right now.

  • Bíta á jaxlinn. (To bite the molar.) This means to grit your teeth and persevere through a difficult situation.

  • Það er ekki allt gull sem glittir. (Not all that glitters is gold.) This is a reminder that things are not always what they seem.

  • Það er ekki hægt að sitja á tveimur hestum. (You can't sit on two horses.) This means that you can't do two things at once.

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"I think the Icelanders had to face so many hardships that they learned to meet adversity with a combination of laissez-faire and capitulation. It’s something that became ingrained in the Icelandic people through centuries of living with a climate and landscape that always had the upper hand, against which you had to surrender, again and again, because you couldn’t fight them. It’s difficult in Iceland not to feel your insignificance against the elements.”

~ Alda Sigmundsdóttir


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