“Drinking alone at home in your underwear” and other Finnish emojis

The Finnish Tourism Agency knows what it’s doing and has released an emoji for the Finnish word: Kalsarikännit, which is quite unique and does only exist – as far as I know – in Finnish. It means “to get drunk alone at home in your underwear”.

drinking home alone emoji

The Finnish Emojis

The Finnish government promotion agency (ThisisFinland), which is part of the Communication Department of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, launched a while back a collection of “Emojis” to describe some things about Finland that are complicated to explain. You can find them here.

For example, they have an emoji for Tom of Finland, the Finn that is pretty much responsible for the gay iconography (leather, mustaches and bulky beefcakes). Or the Finnish baby box.

Tom of Finland emoji
Tom of Finland

They are not real emojis, of course: they have no associated UNICODE value and therefore are not worldwide usable in apps like Whatsapp. It is, though, a quirky nice Finnish made-in-agency campaign.

The emoji of drinking alone at home in your underwear: Kalsarikännit

The first time I saw the reference to the word “Kalsarikännit” was in this famous post by Ben on Twitter which you probably saw as an image or retweeted.

Since then the meme disappears only to reappear some time later. As I am helping doing now.

Phone with emojis
Emojis on a phone screen. Source (CC: by-sa)

Is it a good idea?

The page of ThisisFinland is where all the emojis are. On the page says that the spirit in which they have been made is that of tongue-in-check. In other words, ironic or “in a light tone”.

But is it a good idea? The Kalsarikännit normalizes a bit the use of alcohol alone which is perhaps not the best idea.

Not everyone thinks like that, of course. Like this guy, who writes: “The Hygge is very 2016. Kalsarikännit, the word that only exists in Finland for drinking alone at home in your underwear, is what you’re wearing this year“. What do you think of this?

A Moomin: always a good choice.

By the way: verb or noun?

The truth is that if I had to use the word kalsarikännit in a sentence I wouldn’t know where to start. The website of ThisisFinland doesn’t make it clear either but I think it gives a clue (spoiler: noun). It defines it as “that feeling you get when you go home to be alone and get drunk in your underwear, with no intention of going out afterwards“. In that case, therefore, it would be a noun, although perhaps its growing popularity will make it a verb and people will say “I’m kalsarikännit-ing tonight”. Or the equivalent of that phrase in Finnish.

Finnish has a word for 'getting drunk alone at home in your underwear': kalsarikännit Share on X

What’s your favorite emoji of the collection? What do you think of kalsarikännit? Let us know in the comments below.