Uff da (sometimes also spelled huffda, uff-da, uffda, uff-dah, oofda, ufda, ufdah, oofta, uf daa, or ufta) is an expression of Norwegian origin adopted by Scandinavian-Americans in the 19th century. It is an exclamation that is relatively common in the Upper Midwestern states of the United States.
Uff da is often used in the Pacific Northwest and Upper Midwest as a term for sensory overload. It can be used as an expression of surprise, astonishment, exhaustion, relief and sometimes dismay. For many, Uff da is an all-purpose expression with a variety of nuances, and covering a variety of situations. The expression has lost its original connotation, and it is increasingly difficult to specify what it means now in America. Within Scandinavian-American culture, Uff da frequently translates into: I am overwhelmed. It has become a mark of Scandinavian roots, particularly for people from Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, northern Illinois, Minnesota, and Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Uff da can often be used as an alternative for many common day swear words.
In Norwegian, uff or huff is an interjection used when something is unpleasant, uncomfortable, hurtful, annoying, sad, or irritating.Uff da is most often used as a response when hearing something lamentable (but not too serious), and could often be translated as Oh, I'm sorry to hear that.
The following are some examples of how Uff da has become established in parts of the upper Midwest of the United States, often in a humorous way.
Uffda store in Red Wing, Minnesota selling various Scandinavian and Minnesotan souvenirs, craft, gifts, and folk art.