22 funniest Finnish drinking-related expressions Culture

Learning a language is a long and sometimes frustrating process, but it’s not all bad. There are so many things that make learning a language fun. Trying to pronounce a difficult word, the proud feeling when you finally master a short conversation with someone and oh yeah, all those hilarious words that only make sense in that language.

I’ve been trying to learn Finnish for the past six months and while it’s not always been easy I’ve really loved learning a new language. I’m still determined to one day be fluent, but that’s a matter for a different blog post.

Anyway, a few days ago I spoke to someone who declared that his plans for the evening were to get “defensive quick drunk”. Say whaat? You feel puzzled by that phrase? Join the club! I had no idea what getting “defensive quick drunk” would involve, but it all made a lot more sense after someone explained it to me. I found the phrase so hilarious that I felt the need to share with you guys on the Global Brunch Facebook page. Little did I know that so many other people would join the discussion to share other fun drinking-related vocabulary.

Before I knew, I had gathered a selection of 22 hilarious Finnish phrases that I just had to share. Finns love a good drink or two, so it doesn’t come as surprise that they have such a large drinking related vocabulary. So whether you’re looking to brush up your vocabulary before your visit to Finland or simply want to have a laugh, these are guaranteed to make you smile.

22 funniest Finnish drinking-related words & phrases

1) Suojakänni = “Defensive quick drunk” (when you quickly get drunk to avoid possible responsibility). Can also mean: that if for example you have a party on Saturday, you start drinking on Friday, so you increase your alcohol tolerance and accustom your body in time.

2) Mennään yksille = “Let’s go for one” (not meaning one drink, rather one night – meaning the amount you manage to drink during one night)

3) Mennä parille = “Going out for couple” (When you know you’re going to drink a lot but promise that you’ll manage to get home before closing time)

4) Salashotti = “Secret shot” (When you order drinks for the whole table, but secretly order one extra shot for yourself that you drink before heading back to the table)

5) Rynäkkökänni = “Charge drunk” (Getting drunk really fast because there is not much time and everyone else has started to drink long before you arrived and you need to get to the same state of drunk as your friends quickly)

6) Änkyräkänni = “Naysayer drunk” (Also, the pessimist. State of drunk when nothing is good and you are against everything and everyone.

7) Nousuhumala = “Ascending intoxication” (The state of being tipsy, when you start getting drunk and you feel happy)

8) Laskuhumala = “Descending intoxication” (The state of starting to sober up while getting tired after you have finished your drinks and you feel sad.

9) Yhdet vielä = “One more” (When you just can’t stop drinking. It means one more beer, followed by a few more beer and then just one more)

10) Vedetään perseet olalle = “Let’s pull our asses on our shoulders!” (when you want to go out and party/get really drunk)

11) Laitamyötäinen = “Broad reach” (Phase of drunk where one just can’t walk straight forward in a straight line and instead ends up waking sideways)

12) Olla tuiskeessa = “Being in a breeze” (State of drunk when you look like windswept even when being inside)

13) Räkäkänni = “Snot drunk” (Being so drunk that when wiping your nose you manages to swipe snot all over your face and not even realise it)

14) Olla nakit silmillä = “sausages over the eyes” (The state of drunk where you cannot keep eyes open or can’t focus your look on anything.This phrase probably refers to the swollen eye caused by heavy drinking.)

15) Pieni sievä = “Little pretty” (being a little bit tipsy or drinking just a little bit of alcohol)

16) Loiventaa = “Smoothers” (Eng: Hair of the dog. Having a few drinks the day after drinking to avoid or get rid off a hangover)

17) Umpikänni = “Solid drunk” (When one is so drunk it seems nothing in them moves anymore)

18) Olla naamat = “Be faces” (State of drunk when no matter what one tries to do they end up landing on their face not trying to understand what happens around but still trying to be social)

19) Ottaa toisellekin jalalle = “Taking one for the other leg” (An excuse to have two shots instead of only one. One shot for each leg, as you need both legs to stand on and be equally drunk)

20) Kalsarikännit = “Underwear drunk” (Drinking alone at home in your underwear with no intention of going out. This phrase is so popular that This is Finland have invented an emoji for it. )

21) Liskojen yö = “Night of the lizards” (The night after the day of the hangover.)

22) Kommando känni/ninja känni = “Commando drunk” (Being drunk all day but still trying to do all the normal stuff and believe that nobody notices that you are drunk)

22 funniest Finnish drinking-related expressions

Disclaimer: Some of these words and phrases are regional dialect and might not be known all across Finland. Both the use of these phrases and any form of intoxication described above are at your own risk. 


  1. Haha love the photo of you at the end. You are too cute!

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