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 what it means now in America. 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][3] Uff da can often be used as an alternative for many common obscenities.


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. ^ Lovoll, Odd S. The Promise Fulfilled: A Portrait of Norwegian Americans Today (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998)
  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]

External links[edit]