Country of Norway turns US state of Texas into adjective

Texas capitol; photo by Carol M. Highsmith, US Library of Congress Digital Collection
Photo of Texas capitol by Carol M. Highsmith, archived at US Library of Congress Digital Collection.

When I first saw the Tweet about Norway’s use of the word ‘texas’, I thought it was satire. I did some digging and found out it isn’t. It seems the good people of Norway have turned one of the largest states in the US into an adjective. In the US there’s an old saying, “Everything’s bigger in Texas.” Maybe that’s true because it looks like there are no other US states whose names have been turned into a modifier.

Texas Monthly, one of the most influential publications in the state, shed some light on how the term ‘texas’ came to mean something completely unrelated to geography when it comes to Norwegian slang:

“Y’all, Norwegians Use the Word “Texas” as Slang to Mean “Crazy”

The magazine offers various examples of such usage, including this one:

And here’s a fisherman telling the local news about the rare swordfish he caught in Northern Norway: “I heard a loud noise from the bay, but I did not know where it came from right away. Thirty seconds to a minute later it jumped out in the fjord. I got to see some of it before I took up the camera,” he says and continues: “It was totally texas!”

If you think about it, and if you think about the size of Texas and its influence on US culture, the term makes sense as an adjective.

photo of Norway from CIA World Factbook
Photo of Norway from CIA World Factbook

So if you’re visiting Norway, besides being careful about keeping your hands to yourself and other such matters, be aware that if you say the word, “Texas”, you’re describing something Norwegians may perceive as “bonkers.”

Thanks much to Rorry Bell (@BellRorry) and Nick Russo (@Kingnickrusso) on Twitter for tipping me off to the fact that next time my husband does something like trying to microwave a boiled egg (to reheat it), I can go Norwegian on him and say, That is totally texas!

Frankly, having lived in Florida for many years, I’d say the home state I’ve come to love could legitimately be used that way too. Imagine the response if, when you see the story about the guy who tried to “burn down [his] ex-boyfriend’s home with spaghetti sauce,” you tell your friends, “That is totally florida!”

A suggestion that if you make the state’s name an adjective, it’s my opinion you go lower case. 😊

(Kay B. Day/Sept. 10,2019)

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