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Have-crazy

The Swedish word hagalen, is made up of “ha” (have) and “galen” (crazy)
In English: acquisitive or more informal, grabby. None of which are a perfect fit (to acquire something, or to want to grab it, is not exactly the same as wanting to have it):

“Taking” or “grabbing” is very aggressive and culpable, whereas “having”, is more passive, already a condition, a state. Not an action. (The most equivalent word in Swedish for “grabby”, is arguably the adjective “roffig”, from the verb roffa [åt sig]).

The word “acquisitive” is elegant sounding, hiding some of the inherent ugliness, which a word like “greedy”, for example, can’t elude. Girig (Swedish for “greedy”), similiarly, sounds as unpleasant as the attribute it is defining.

But the word “hagalen” – even though ha sounds innocent enough, a fait accompli – it includes the word galen, “crazy”. Crazy is not stable, static, placid, nor elegant. The crazy part of the word is overriding the first. The mental image that hagalen produces, is an interesting conflict between a passive state of things and a frantic state of mind.

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