Texans are generally thought of as a special breed, strong and independent,and unpredictable. Texans are also associated with cowboys. Norwegians use the word “Texas!” to describe “wild” and “crazy.” “Der var helt texas!,” or That was so totally Texas, is a phrase often used by citizens of Norway.
A Norwegian Consulate spokesperson from Houston, Texas, Anne Ekern, told NPR, “This, historically, you know, goes back to Norwegians, you know, watching cowboy movies and reading literature about the wild West, you know? And the Wild West held, I think with most Norwegians, held strong Texas association. So when we use the expression ‘Texas,’ we think about – you know, most of us think about a lot of action, a lot fun, and a lot of things going on.”
The consulate spokeswoman added, “I think it’s fair to say, I think since I moved to Texas, I haven’t really used that expression. But I’ve heard my mother use it when I’ve been home visiting.”
The BBC reported that the phrase “helt texas” (completely crazy) has appeared in newspapers in Norway over 50 times this year. The head of the advisory service at the Language Council of Norway, Daniel Gusfre Ims, told them the term became part of the language when Norwegians started watching westerns and reading books about cowboys. “The genre was extremely popular in Norway, and a lot of it featured Texas, so the word became a symbol of something lawless and without control,” he said.
The language expert says the term is often used negatively, but not always. “It could be a party out of control, a class out of control, or traffic. It could also be used by someone who had sold many products.” He said this use of language, called “metonymy,” by which there is the substitution of the name of an attribute for that of the thing meant, is common in Norway, and in language generally.
The BBC reported that the first usage of the word “Texas” as an adjective began in 1957 when it appeared in a novel by Vegard Vigerust entitled “The Boy who wanted to buy Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation.” Vigerust wrote – “he would make it even more texas in the village?”
The issue of the Norwegians’ use of the word “Texas” was first recently highlighted by Texas Monthly. Natives of the country on the Scandinavian Peninsula frequently use the word in association with sporting events or other exciting events. “Texas” is not used to describe a person.
Texas Monthly wrote that the expression “speaks to how the mythos of Texas has been interpreted in one Scandinavian country: ‘Texas’ = ‘cowboys’ = ‘Wild West’ = ‘an unpredictable, exciting, sometimes scary atmosphere,’ and thus can be used to describe a party that had people jumping off the roof into a swimming pool, a soccer game where fans were getting tense, or even a troubling traffic situation, which—while the etymology may be different—is fair enough for anyone who’s been in any Texas city during rush hour.”
So whether watching the Benghazi hearings, or watching developments of Hurricane Patricia on the Mexican shores in the Pacific, know that Norwegians could describe the happening as so very “Texas.”
Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. Follow her on Twitter@LanaShadwick2