J, 80 was born and grew up in Spearfish, S.D. He is the grandson of Norwegian immigrants that moved to North Dakota so they could homestead and farm in the early 20th century.


“’Uffda’ in Norwegian is an exclamation, it represents surprise, annoyance, etc. My mom and grandmother both used that word generously.” said my informant.


The term ‘uffda’ seems to be a very common stereotypical expression in areas such as Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. These regions in the US, are populated by the descendants of Scandinavian immigrants, including many Norwegians. The phrase is used to express surprise, annoyance, relief, exhaustion, disappointment, astonishment, exasperation, and dismay; and it can be used positively or negatively. It is basically the equivalent of an exclamation mark in a regular conversation; it probably has the same functionality as when we say “OMG!”. The following links and articles verify the existence of this folk speech term: https://fillmorecountyjournal.com/what-part-of-uffda-dont-you-understand/