The unknown guest next to you (vieras)

Vieri is a rarely used word by itself, but there are lot’s of other words derived from it. The basic meaning is “side”, for example, “tien vieri” = “roadside”.

You are more likely to hear “vieressä”, which means literarily ”in the side”, or more broadly “beside, by, near, near to, at, next to, near by” etc. For example, “Hän seisoo ihan vieressä”, “He’s standing right next to me”.

Vieras is an adjective with many meanings. The basic meaning is “unknown”, so somebody who’s not you, but the next person, a stranger. “Vieras kieli on vaikea ymmärtää” “A foreign language is difficult to understand”. “Vieras mies tuli taloon”, “A stranger came to the house”.

Quite contradictory, “vieras” can also mean “a guest”, because a guest is always also a bit stranger.

“Vieraanvaraisuus” is a nice word meaning “hospitality”, literarily “guest’s care”.

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