Uff da

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Uff da (sometimes also spelled huffda, uff-da, uffda, uff-dah, oofda, ufda, ufdah, oofta, or uf daa) is an exclamation of Norwegian origin adopted by Scandinavian-Americans in the 19th century. It is an exclamation that is relatively common in the Upper Midwestern states of the United States.[1]


Uff da is often used in the Upper Midwest as a term for sensory overload. It can be used as an expression of surprise, astonishment, exhaustion, relief and sometimes dismay. For many, Uff da is an all-purpose expression with a variety of nuances, and covering a variety of situations. The expression has lost its original connotation, and it is increasingly difficult to specify in exact terms what it means in any given usage. Within Scandinavian-American culture, Uff da frequently translates into: I am overwhelmed. It has become a mark of Scandinavian roots, particularly for people from Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, northern Illinois, Minnesota, and Upper Peninsula of Michigan.[2] Uff da can often be used as an alternative for many common obscenities. [3]

Norwegian Usage[edit]

In Norwegian, uff or huff is an interjection used when something is unpleasant, uncomfortable, hurtful, annoying, sad, or irritating.[4] Uff da is most often used as a response when hearing something lamentable (but not too serious), and could often be translated as Oh, I'm sorry to hear that.[5]

Cultural references[edit]

The following are some examples of how Uff da has become established in parts of the upper Midwest of the United States, often in a humorous way:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Uff Da: Norwegian-American expressivity (Tormod Kinnes. The Gold Scales)
  2. ^ Clark, Jayne (July 25, 2002). "True blue North? You betcha!". USA Today. 
  3. ^ Lein, Rob. "Vikings bumble in draft? Uff da". Bismarck Tribune (North Dakota). 
  4. ^ "Søk i Bokmåls- og Nynorskordboka". Retrieved 2009-09-19. 
  5. ^ Haugen, Einar Norwegian American Dictionary/Norsk engelsk ordbok (University of Wisconsin. 1985) ISBN 0-299-03874-2
  6. ^ Writers, John Ewoldt; Lynn Underwood; Staff. "Dollars & sense; What's in store in Red Wing?". Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minn.). 
  7. ^ "Enderlin Independent: North Dakota". Retrieved 2009-09-19. 
  8. ^ Williams-Masson, Ellen (2006-03-15). "New Glarus Brew-haha on Tap". The Capital Times (Madison, Wisconsin). 
  9. ^ "2009FargoMarathonNewsletter012009". Archived from the original on February 5, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-19. 
  10. ^ Panaracer Uff Da! 26 x 2.3 Urban Jumping Tire. Panaracer. 
  11. ^ "FAA Information about Uff-da Airport (2WI1)". Retrieved 2009-09-19. 
  12. ^ Williams, Beth. "Stoughton Group Wants Wal-mart Plan Reconsidered". Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, WI). 
  13. ^ About OOVVDA Winery (OOVVDA)
  14. ^ "OOf-da Tacos". 
  15. ^ "Uff Da Mud Run". Retrieved 2013-01-06. 

Other sources[edit]

  • Allen, Harold B. (1973) The Linguistic Atlas of the Upper Midwest, Volume 1 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press) ISBN 978-0816606863
  • Haugen, Einar (1957) Beginning Norwegian: a grammar and reader (George G.Harrap & Co Ltd) ISBN 978-0245531378
  • Lovoll, Odd S. (1998) The Promise Fulfilled: A Portrait of Norwegian Americans Today (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press) ISBN 9780816628322
  • Mohr, Howard (1987) How to talk Minnesotan : a visitor's guide (New York, NY: Penguin Books) ISBN 978-0143122692
  • Stangland, E. C. (1987). Red Strangland's Norwegian Home Companion. (Dorset Press). ISBN 978-0880295215. 
  • Stangland, E. C. (1988). Uff Da Jokes. (Norse Press). ISBN 978-0960269242. 

External links[edit]