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Fact Check: 'Texas' Is Reportedly Slang for 'Crazy' in Norway. Here Are the Facts

C. Morgan Engel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images
C. Morgan Engel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Claim:

Norwegians say “Texas” as slang to mean wild or crazy.

Rating:

Rating: True
Rating: True

A claim about Norwegian slang has regularly been shared on Texas-oriented social media accounts for nearly a decade: Residents of the Scandinavian nation use the name of the U.S. state as a word for something crazy and lawless. For example, the assertion was shared to the subreddit r/Texas in this September 2023 post:

The claim is true. This bit of linguistic trivia became popular internet fodder following an October 2015 story in Texas Monthly that reported on the phenomenon:

Apparently the word “Texas” is slang for “crazy” or “wild,” as in, “the end of the [whatever sport they play in Norway] game was totally Texas!” [...]

Usually, when the word “texas”— as an adjective, most often without capitalization — appears in Norwegian, the context involves the phrase, “det var helt texas,” which translates to, roughly, “it was totally/absolutely/completely bonkers.” You wouldn’t call a person “totally texas”; it usually describes a chaotic atmosphere.

As reported by the BBC in 2015, this usage has a fairly long history in Norway and is linked to the popularity of American Western films and books:

It became part of the language when Norwegians started watching cowboy movies and reading Western literature, according to Daniel Gusfre Ims, the head of the advisory service at the Language Council of Norway.

"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 says. [...]

Nowadays, the word is widespread all over Norway. It's frequently used in the phrase "helt texas" [completely crazy], which has appeared in Norwegian newspapers 50 times this year, he says.

Snopes confirmed current Norwegian use of this phrase by performing a search of Norwegian-language media outlets for "helt texas." The search demonstrated its wide use in Norway.

For example, a November 2023 headline in the Norwegian outlet Stavanger Aftenblad (shown translated with Google below) used the phrase to describe the large volume of cars sold abroad by a used-car dealer:

The phrase was also used in a January 2023 report from the Norwegian outlet VG (also translated with Google) to describe rising food prices:

Because the use of "Texas" as slang in Norway for wild, crazy or out of control is a historically documented phenomenon, and because it is in use today, we rate the claim "True."

Sources:

Forskrekket over deler av matbransjen: – Helt Texas. 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.vg.no/i/ab4pPL.

Han har aldri solgt flere biler til utlandet: – Helt texas, sier bransjesjef. 27 Nov. 2023, https://www.aftenbladet.no/i/GM72am.

Solomon, Dan. “Y’all, Norwegians Use the Word ‘Texas’ as Slang to Mean ‘Crazy.’” Texas Monthly, 20 Oct. 2015, https://www.texasmonthly.com/the-daily-post/yall-norwegians-use-the-word-texas-as-slang-to-mean-crazy/.

“Why Do Norwegians Use ‘texas’ to Mean ‘Crazy’?” BBC News, 23 Oct. 2015. www.bbc.com, https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-34622478.