Don’t mess with Texas? Someone forgot to tell Norway: The US state’s name has taken on an unusual and not entirely complimentary role in Norwegian, with people using it as slang to mean “crazy” or ”chaotic.”
“The evidence has convinced us that this is really an accepted part of Norwegian slang,” said Texas Monthly this week. Such evidence is not too hard to find.
Norwegian news articles occasionally quote people using the phrase “det er helt Texas,” which translates to “It is totally Texas.” An Avisa Nordland article published in March 2014, for example, reports that “det er helt Texas” is how a local police chief described an ongoing road traffic safety situation. In VG, a popular tabloid paper, a 2012 sports article says a football team manager described a recent match as ”helt Texas.” And a fisherman told his local NRK station that his catch of a swordfish was—you guessed it—”helt Texas.”
According to a post on Tumblr, the expression represents the most simplistic associations non-Texans hold about the state: “It’s something that brings to mind chaotic, crazy conditions, like the ‘wild west,’ and at least back when the expression was coined, the ‘wild west’ held very strong Texas associations.”
A self-identified Norwegian took to Reddit yesterday to confirm the colloquialism: “I use the expression frequently, and hear it being used by others all the time as well. It can be interchanged with “Wild West” (ville vesten) but that is a lot less common.”
A number of users on the forum of website wordreference.com discussed this in 2008, confirming the above and also introducing a second connotation: “In my own dialect helt Texas can aslo [sic] mean that something is very big/large,” one person wrote.