‘Negro ball’ scrapped from Swedish dictionary

The word ‘negerboll’ should not be used to describe this snack. Photo: TT

For the first time, Swedish dictionaries are set to recommend alternative words alongside expressions deemed racist or otherwise offensive. Some words will also be removed completely, including ‘negerboll’ (negro ball) for a type of Swedish sweet.

‘Neger’ (negro), ‘zigenare’ (gypsy) and ‘lapp’ (a derogatory term for an indigenous Sami person from Lappland) are among the offensive words that will be followed by the phrase “använd istället” (use instead) in the next edition of Sweden’s official dictionary produced by Svenska Akademien (The Swedish Academy), due for release next month.

The recommended alternative expressions for the above words are ‘svart’ (black), ‘rom’ (Roma) and ‘same’ (Sami).

A few offensive words have also been completely removed from the dictionary, including the widely debated term ‘negerboll’ (negro ball), which was historically used to describe ‘chokladboll’, a sweet chocolate snack covered in dried coconut.

Svenska Akademien is an independent cultural institution set up in 1785 by the country’s former King Gustav III in order to advance the Swedish language.

Its dictionaries have previously noted which words in the Swedish language are currently considered offensive, but the organisation’s books have never before suggested alternative expressions alongside them…