SweGGate Facts Glossary Swedish (Job titles)

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Swedish dictionary:  Job Titles

This page is only for Job Titles. Additional glossaries here:

General   Abbreviations Relational
(like father, brother etc)
Bruk - Iron industry Legal system


There are several job titles explained in the other dictionaries but for convenience many of them are listed here with links to the explanation.
Since spelling is sometimes a problem the titles are listed in groups rather than alphabetically. 
Use Ctrl-F in your browser to search for words but try different spellings. Please note that the letters å, ä and ö are sorted after z in the alphabet in Swedish but on English/US computers sometimes å and ä with a and ö with o.
Title T Explanation
arb, arbetare A = worker, labourer
ängsv. ängsvaktare O literally field guard - guarding the domestic animals on graze land against predators. Usually paid by the socken
hagv., hagvaktare O = ängsvaktare.
inhyse(s)hjon O see gen. dict.
rotehjon O poor person (hjon) cared for by the rote
bygdehjon O poor person (hjon), supported by the socken. cf rotehjon.
fattighjon O = pauper
dagkarl, dagakarl, dagekarl O = day-worker, an unskilled general labourer, employed and paid day-by-day. (plural: add -ar).
At the start of the reign of king Gustaf Eriksson (Vasa) (abt 1523) a "dagakarl" with a scythe was paid 4 "vitten" and other "dagakarl" 1 "skilling".
cf. dagsverke.
dagslönskarl   = dagkarl. (dagslön = day's wage).
lösdräng O dräng (farm hand/labourer) on short term contracts (< 1/2 year contracts). Used at least from 17th century.
vagabond O = vagrant. cf luffare
luffare O = vagrant. cf vagabond
Government   [definite from ending, plural ending]
landshövding A

From land (here a form of län) and hövding = chief. The top official in the län, president of the länsstyrelse.

befallningshavande, befallningsman, befälhavare O From befallning = (n) order, directive and havande = having. Used for several supervisor / commander positions. Examples:
"Konungens Befallningshavande" = "K.B." or "Kunglig Majestäts Befallningshavande" ="K M.ts B" - the government for a län (county). Term used 1855 - 1918. After that named länsstyrelse.
In legal texts also used for senior officers in the old county organization, like kronofogde.
Befälhavare is mostly used in military titles = commander (all levels)
tolvman   [-nen, tolvmän] Lay member (a Nämndeman) of the district court häradsrätt. There were 12 of those - hence the name (tolv = 12). This was a commission of trust.
nämndeman   [-nen, nämndemän] Member of the district court häradsrätt.
häradshövding   [-en, -ar] President of the district court häradsrätt.
häradsdomare   [-n, =] Honorary title for the oldest member of the district court häradsrätt.
häradsskrivare O [-n,=] Civil servant in the länsstyrelse (county government) responsible for a fögderi (a defined geographical area). Main tasks included census organization, compiling of taxation and real estate registers, calculating and billing of estate taxes etc.
fjärdingsman O Subordinate assistant to the police authority. Title known at least since 1530. Originally one person for 1/4 of a härad (fjärding = 1/4) but later one per parish. Served as debt collector, keeping order in public places, checking roads etc.
Originally selected by the häradsfogde (according to a law from 1593) but from 1850 employed by the kommunalstämma. (SFS 1850, # 29). Title abolished in 1954.
sexman   [-nen, sexmän) a member of the parish selected as a supervisor for the maintenance of the church and parsonage as well as of discipline and good habits of the parishioners. This was a commission of trust. It was abandoned by a change in the church law in 1862. cf tolvman
tullnär O [-en, -er] Old title for a custom's officer. Modern title is tulltjänsteman or coll. "tullare"
gränsridare O [=,=] Until 1923 the lowest rank of border customs officer. Later named gränsuppsyningsman.
    see legal system
Bruk people   People working in the iron industry
    see Bruk dictionary
Miltary   more military ranks
överste O military rank = colonel. See officer
överstelöjtnant O military rank = lieutenant colonel. See officer
överfurir O military rank. See underbefäl.
vicekorpral O lowest military rank. See underbefäl.
soldat, sold. A = soldier
rotesoldat A soldier recruited from a rote - see recruitment system
jägare A a kind of infantry soldier with light arms and high mobility
båtsman O regular navy soldier
reservbåtsman O regular navy soldier (= båtsman) but in the reserves
stadsbåtsman O båtsman from town or city recruited (as opposed to drafted) by special rules >more>
fotjägare O a kind of infantry soldier
hästjägare O a kind of cavalry soldier on foot
väbel A (German: vebel or feldvebel). A lower-rank officer ("underofficer") in charge of order and discipline, dispensing punishments and the military prison. A special case is a väbel in a medical unit who also is in charge of medical equipment and supplies. Why a "prison officer" in a medical unit ? Well - medical units treat different patients, e.g. psychotic patients and enemy soldiers in which case such an officer might come in handy.
lantbruksbefäl O same as jordbruksbefäl. lantbruk = jordbruk.
jordbruksbefäl O Group of supervisor jobs on larger farms.
From jordbruk = farming (jord = soil, bruk from bruka = use, cultivate) and befäl = commander, chief. There are several ranks of jordbruksbefäl - one commanding some of lower ranks.
förvaltare O highest rank of jordbruksbefäl. More independent working conditions.
inspektor O work supervisor, 2nd level of jordbruksbefäl. Note that the title inspektor is used in several other work places as well, e.g. stationsinspektor (rail station supervisor)
rättare O work supervisor, 3rd level of jordbruksbefäl
ladufogde O title for rättare at larger farms
befallningsman O title for rättare at farms in the Skåne - Blekinge area
åbo O Legal farm user. >more>
torpare O special type of farmer >more>
torpardotter O Daughter of a torpare
torparson O Son of a torpare
Craftsmen   (give me tips of more titles)
lärling A = trainee, apprentice. see Craftsmen's Training
gesäll A = journeyman. see Craftsmen's Training
mästare A = master. see Craftsmen's Training
flickare O from (old) flicka = patch up, repair. Used in some job titles like kittelflickare, skoflickare.
garvare A (garvere, gerfware, giärfware, gierfware) = tanner.
instrumentmakare A = maker of instruments, both technical and musical instruments.
kittelflickare O Craftsman repairing metal pots and pans. Kittel = (large) metal pot. cf flickare
konstförvant O also konstförvandt, literally "brother in art", old title for sättare (type-setter) or tryckare (printer /the person/). Sometimes prefixed to separate different businesses: Boktryckeri Konstförvandt (at a book printer's).
logarvare A  = tanner using organic tanning methods. "lo" = tree bark used for tanning.
skoflickare O Shoemaker, or more precise a shoe repairman. cf flickare
snickare A = Carpenter. Möbelsnickare = cabinet-maker. Snickeri = carpenter's workshop.
skräddare A = Tailor. Sockenskräddare = appointed parish tailor.
skärslipare O Title / profession. Knife and scissors grinder. Several hundred years old. One of the professional guilds i.e. the were regulations as to how many persons could be in that profession in a given area at the same time. They often walked around, visiting the homes to do their work on a small cart with a grinding stone powered by a foot pedal.
urmakare A = watch / clock maker.
Professions at sea    
   Railways - General   järnväg = järnbana
bandirektör O Director in railway company, chief of the banavdelning (rail maintenance section)
järnvägstjänsteman O Railway company (white collar) employee. Before 1908 used only about higher rank employees. Lower rank employees were then named järnsvägsbetjänt. After 1908 all white collar employees are järnvägstjänstemän
järnvägsbetjänt O Lower rank railway company (white collar) employee. Title not used after 1908.
järnvägsarbetare O railway worker (blue collar, general term)
(järnvägs)konduktör A conductor (Eng: guard).
järnvägslänsman O Temp assignment as policeman guarding building of a railway.
   Railways - Stations    
stationsinspektor A Superintendent at a large rail station. Abbrev. stins
stationsbefälhavare   Station commander. Used in several lines of work.
stationskarl O porter at a rail station. 
   Railways - On board    
O [pl: konduktörer] (BrEng) guard, (US Eng) conductor.
   Railways - Tracks    
baningenjör O Engineer responsible for inspection and maintenance of rail line(s).
banmästare O supervisor for banvaktsförmän (and the banvakter under those).
rallare O navvy = railway builder. Used in old times when tracks were built "by hand". Today rails are laid by cranes and special rail machines welding rails instead of leaving gaps at joints.
banarbetare O railway worker, working with the tracks.
banvaktsförman O [pl: banvaktsförmän] supervisor / foreman for a few banvakter.
banvakt O [pl: banvakter] (Railway) Lineman. Inspects his assigned stretch of tracks daily looking for damages. Also responsible for gates at rail/road crossings and signals/signposts along the tracks.
banvakterska O [pl: banvakterskor] female (Railway) (BrEng) Lineman, (US Eng) track-walker.
bangårdsförman O supervisor / foreman for the crew at a bangård (rail station yard). 
handelsföreståndare O = store manager.

note i brackets like this [p:staat] is pronunciation for English speakers.
SAOB: Svenska Akademiens OrdBok, the huge standard encyclopaedia of Swedish language.
In the "T' = Time column: O = Old times, M = Moderns language, A = All times
Explanation by F Haeffner unless otherwise stated. Mail me your contribution or request.

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Last updated by F Hae 2005-05-09 21:03 © Fredrik Haeffner, 2004-5