Smaka på käppen


Senior Member
Good evening,

I’m struggling to understand the following sentence, especially “smaka på käppen”, which I wonder is an expression.

För ett par månader sen råkade han ut för en bilolycka. Jag har inte sett honom på flera veckor, men hans fru lär smaka på käppen så snart hon påminner honom on omständigheterna kring olyckan: ett litet snedsprång med granans dotter.

My attempt:

A couple of months ago he was involved in a car accident. I haven’t seen him for several weeks, but it seems like his wife (is having a rough time???) as soon as/when ?? she reminds him of the circumstances of the accident: a fling with the neighbour’s daughter.
  • Twist-ful

    Senior Member
    But figuratively I imagine, like “they say it was like she’d received a beating as soon as she reminded him of the circumstances behind the accident.

    I mean, it’s not that the man actually beats up his wife, but that the wife feels as if she’s been beaten up because of the news of the affair. Is that how you understand it?


    Senior Member
    Swedish, Finnish
    From where is the sentence? As it stand, without any other knowledge, I would understand it as being literal, he hits his wife when she reminds him about the accident. The "smaka på käppen" might be figuratively, unless he needs a crutch or a cane to walk with, and he hits her with that, rather than with his hand.


    Senior Member
    Yeah I think you'd need to look at the context to figure out if it's literal or figurative. Certainly I haven't really heard it used much figuratively.