Many people are fascinated by the Finnish language. People from all over the world find some of the words beautiful. Still, even when it comes to Finns, what sounds beautiful is a very personal thing.
To find the most beautiful Finnish words, I went through some of the polls published by magazines and newspapers on how Finns have voted on the most beautiful and happiest Finnish words, to name a few examples.
Hopefully, this list can grow with your suggestions in the comments. Is there a favorite word that always makes you happy or a word that touches your heart?
27 most beautiful Finnish words
Let’s dive right in and look at the words that have been voted into the top 10 by Finns in some of the biggest polls. The following words come from articles by Suomen Kuvalehti, Yle, and Me Naiset. These polls were run on different years and had from a few experts to 21500 participants.
Why are there 27 words here if all the polls aim to find the top 10? The answer is easy: only one of the words in the polls matched, and it got first place in most of the polls I looked at.
The decision on the most beautiful Finnish words might be challenging, but here are the 27 that made it to the lists. I’ll save the top one as the last!
kastehelmi = dewdrop
rakkaus = love
hiljaisuus = silence
rakas = dear
lounatuuli = southwest wind
kiitos = thank you
halla = frost
lumi = snow
aamunkoi = dawn
kaunis = beautiful
solina = babble (of a brook)
kulta = darling (also gold)
kesäheinä = summer hay
usva = mist
löyly = steam or heat of the sauna
aamu = morning
unelma = dream
koti = home
aalto = wave
kuulas = clear
taival = journey
kehtolaulu = lullaby
maailma = world
lauha = tempered
metsäpirtti = a cabin in the woods
nuttu = a piece of clothing
lauantai = Saturday
And finally, what was the one word that topped most of the polls? It is the same one that tops some of the polls for the most beautiful word in the English language: äiti (mother).
So a word is not only beautiful to us because of the way it sounds but also because of its meaning. Would we get a different list if we only asked foreigners who don’t speak the language?
The Finnish MTV News ran a small test for a video where German tourists liked the sound of the Finnish word “mummi” for grandmother. As far as I could find, bigger polls have not really been run this way.
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Words from the Finnish nature
When I recently wrote about 100+ unique Finnish names, I talked about how words from nature have become popular as first names. These words also reach the “most beautiful words” lists. The number of them might be one reason why the lists differ so much.
Some of the nature-themed words that have been suggested often as the most beautiful words in the Finnish language include:
aava = open sea
kielo = lily of the valley
höyhen = feather
lähde = spring
vanamo = twinflower
kesäyö = summer night
hilla = cloudberry
meri = sea
Happiest Finnish words
Since Finland has been voted the happiest country in the world, I thought another fun poll to look at would be the happiest words in the Finnish language. They were found by polling 70000 people. The poll was organized by the language app Duolingo and the Very Finnish problems website.
What is your guess? Is there a lot of overlap with the most beautiful words, or are happy words a completely different thing? Let’s find out. Here are the top 10:
söpö = cute
pupu = bunny
lumi = snow
mökki = cottage
lämpimämpi = warmer
pumpuli = cotton wool
äiti = mother
jompikumpi = one or the other
jäätelötötterö = ice cream cone
järvi = lake
Many of these words might bring a smile to your face, at least if you try to pronounce them. Or watch the video of Lauri Markkanen’s teammates from Chicago Bulls giving the word Jäätelötötterö a go.
That’s a quick look at some of the most beautiful and happiest Finnish words selected by Finns.
What are my favorites you might ask… Here they are:
lintu = bird
suvanto = pool, quiet waters
sielu = soul
tyyni = peaceful, calm
What are some of your favorites? Let me know what you think in the comments.
You might also like to read these articles on the Finnish language and names:
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