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Disambiguation: Dutch 'Over' - Multiple Meanings and Related Words

Disambiguation: Many common Dutch words have more than one meaning.

Dutch and English 'over' each can mean many things - but the meanings rarely overlap in the two languages. 'Over' may be the most problematic word in the 'Disambiguation' series.

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Over

click to hear 2
  1. 'in' - amount of time until - "in two hours"
  2. 'past' (hours on the clock) - "10 past 11"
  3. 'over, across' ('bridging') - "a bridge across the canal"
  4. 'about' - "talking about freedom"
  5. 'left, remaining' - "there are few whales left"
  6. various in other verbs

1. 'Over' = 'in' (amount of time until)

over twee uur click to hear 2 3 in 2 hours
over een paar jaar click to hear 2 3 in a [couple of] few years
Ik ben over een uur weer thuis click to hear 2 3 4 I'll be back home in an hour
"Eten over een paar minuten" click to hear 2 [Eating] Dinner (or lunch) in a few minutes (preliminary call)

Synomyms, Alternates and Related Words

'Binnen' click to hear 2 usually means 'in, inside, indoors,' but with a time indication it can also mean 'within'
binnen een uur click to hear 2 within an hour

2. 'Over' = 'past' (hours on the clock)

vijf over drie click to hear 5 past 3, 3:05
kwart over zes click to hear a quarter past 6, 6:15 - the clock, telling time
't Is al over elven click to hear 2 It's already past eleven ->>

It must be confusing to see these two meanings of Dutch 'over' in somewhat similar sentences:

De laatste trein gaat om tien over twaalf click to hear 2 3 The last train [goes, leaves] is at 10 past 12
De volgende bus gaat over een halfuur click to hear 2 3 The next bus is in half an hour
't Onweer drijft over click to hear 2 The thunderstorm ['floats past'] blows over

Synomyms, Alternates and Related Words

kwart voor drie click to hear a quarter to three, 2:45

3. 'Over' = 'across, over' ('bridging')

een brug over de gracht click to hear 2 a bridge across the city canal
't Komt over de dijk! click to hear 2 It's coming over the levee (it = water)
Niet over één nacht ijs gaan click to hear 2 3 [Not going across one night's ice] - to proceed with great caution
over de schreef gaan click to hear 2 [to cross (over) a line] - going too far - more sayings
Ben je er overheen? click to hear 2 Are you 'over' it? - no longer affected by something - back to normal
Hij was te klein om over de schutting te kijken click to hear 2 He was too small to look over the fence
Hij laat er geen gras over groeien click to hear 2 3 [He doesn't allow grass to grow over it] - Taking action quickly

'(Het) leven' click to hear 2 is 'life' and the verb 'leven' is 'to live, to be alive' - more. 'Overleven' is 'to survive.'

We hebben 't overleefd click to hear We have survived (it - a challenge)
Er zouden geen overlevenden zijn click to hear 2 It was said there were no survivors

4. 'over' = 'about' (subject)

Er werd veel gesproken over vrijheid click to hear 2 There was a lot of talk about freedom
Praten over koetjes en kalfjes click to hear 2 [Talk about cows and calves] - To chat, engage in small talk
Ik wil er nog even over nadenken click to hear 2 3 I'd like to think about it a little while longer
't hebben over click to hear 2 3 talking about (something, someone)
Hij weet waar-(d)ie het over heeft * click to hear 2 He knows what he's talking about
Ze heeft het vaak over jou click to hear 2 3 4 She often talks about you
Hij heeft 't er vaak over click to hear 2 3 He often talks about it
Ik had 't er laatst nog over met Jan click to hear 2 I was talking with John about it the other day
Ik kan me d'r (er) zo kwaad over maken click to hear 2 [I get very angry about it] It makes me very angry
Over smaak valt niet te twisten click to hear 2 There's no arguing about taste (de gustibus non disputandum)
Hij dacht er niet lang over na click to hear 2 3 He didn't think long about it
Hij heeft er niet lang over nagedacht click to hear 2 He has not been thinking about it for long
Daar heb ik niet over nagedacht click to hear 2 I had not thought about that
Ik heb er niet goed over nagedacht click to hear 2 3 4 I did not think it out well
Automatisch, zonder erover na te denken click to hear 2 Automatically, without thinking (about it)

The Dutch verb 'gaan' click to hear ->> by itself means 'to go' but combined with various prepositions it takes on other meanings, like 'gaan over' means 'to be about,' giving the subject of a book etc., while 'gaan om' is also translated as 'to be about' but then it means 'what is important.' See also: Disambiguation: Om

Waar gaat 't over? click to hear 2 3 What is it about? (What is the subject of a book etc.)
Het boek gaat over dolfijnen click to hear The book is about dolphins

5. 'over' with 'zijn' (to be) and 'blijven' (to stay) means: left, remaining

Dutch 'over' combines with verbs like 'zijn' click to hear ('to be' ->>) or blijven click to hear 2 ('to stay' ->>) to for instance 'over zijn' click to hear 2 - meaning 'to remain, be left' or 'to be left over, not finished')
Er zijn weinig walvissen over click to hear There are few whales left
De worst is over click to hear 2 The sausage was left over, there was leftover sausage
Is er wat brood over? click to hear 2 Is there some bread left?
Er was niks over click to hear Nothing was left
Er was helemaal niks over click to hear Absolutely nothing was left
Er bleef niks van over click to hear 2 Nothing was left of it, nothing remained (also said when critics 'destroy' something)
Actually, in rare cases 'zijn over' and 'over zijn' can be ambiguous, mean both 'be left' and 'be about'
Er zijn weinig boeken over click to hear There are [few] not many books about it
There are [few] not many books left

6. other translations of 'over'

Laat het aan de vakman over click to hear Leave it to the professionals *
overgaan click to hear 2 1. to end, to go away
2. to move up a grade in school
Als 't niet vanzelf overgaat, ga ik ermee naar de dokter click to hear If it doesn't go away by itself, I'll go see a doctor about it
Hard werken en overgaan! click to hear 2 Work hard and pass on to the next grade!
Ben je overgegaan? click to hear 2 3 Did you pass on to the next grade?
blijven zitten click to hear 2 ['remain sitting'] - having to repeat a grade
De druppel die de emmer deed overlopen click to hear 2 3 [The drop that made the bucket spill over] The straw that broke the camel's back - more Sayings
Ik wil er nog een nachtje over slapen click to hear 2 I'd like to sleep [a night] on it
overgeven click to hear 2 to throw up, vomit
Ik moest overgeven click to hear I had to throw up
Ik heb overgegeven click to hear 2 I have thrown up

A reflexive verb can have a rather different meaning than the verb without the reflexive pronoun:

zich overgeven click to hear 2 to surrender
ik moest me overgeven click to hear 2 3 I had to surrender

Various Dutch Compound Words with 'Over'

(de) weg click to hear road, way
(de) overweg click to hear 2 3 railroad crossing
(de) spoorweg click to hear railroad
(de) overgang click to hear crossing; transition; menopause
(de) spoorwegovergang click to hear railroad crossing
(de) stroming click to hear 2 current, flow
(de) overstroming click to hear 2 3 flood, land drowning
al click to hear 2 'all' ->>
overal click to hear 2 everywhere
[(de)] morgen click to hear 2 tomorrow; morning;
(good) morning!
overmorgen click to hear 2 the day after tomorrow
(de) dag click to hear 2 day; hello/goodbye
overdag click to hear 2 3 'in the daytime'
(de) tijd click to hear 2 time ->>
(de) overtijd click to hear 2 overtime
(het) hemd click to hear 2 'undershirt'
(het) overhemd click to hear dress shirt ->>
rijp click to hear 2 ripe ->>
(rijp / rijpe click to hear 2 ripe)
overrrijp click to hear overripe
overbodig click to hear 2 3 superfluous, unnecessary
overtollig click to hear superfluous, surplus
(het) overschot click to hear 2 surplus
overmatig click to hear excessive
overdreven click to hear 2 3 exaggerated
(de) overlast click to hear inconvenience, trouble
de overheid click to hear 2 3 4 the authorities, the government
"overste" click to hear 2 addressing a lieutenant-colonel
winnen click to hear 2 to win
overwinning click to hear victory
geven click to hear 2 to give ->>
overgave click to hear surrender
vallen click to hear to fall ->>
overval click to hear attack, raid, hold-up
overvaller click to hear 2 robber, mugger
wegen click to hear to weigh ->>
(de) overweging click to hear consideration, deliberation
(het) spel click to hear play, game
(het) overspel click to hear 2 adultery
één click to hear 1, one
komen click to hear to come ->>
(de) overeenkomst click to hear 2 agreement; similarity
buren click to hear 2 neighbors
overburen click to hear neighbors across the street ->>
slaan click to hear to hit, to slap ->>
overslaan click to hear 2 to pass over, skip
(het) zicht click to hear view, visibility
(het) overzicht click to hear 2 overview, survey, outline
(de) vloed click to hear flood; high tide
overvloedig click to hear abundant
(de) overdaad click to hear 2 excess
overdadig click to hear excessive
overweldigend click to hear 2 overwhelming
overtuigen click to hear 2 to convince
overtuigend click to hear 2 convincing
(het) overleg click to hear 2 consultation
overleggen click to hear to deliberate; to confer
[(het)] overlijden click to hear 2 3 passing away
(de) overgrootvader click to hear great-grandfather >>
overdaad schaadt click to hear 2 overabundance is damaging (too much of a good thing)

English 'over'

English 'over' can also mean many things, and it's only rarely translated as 'over' in Dutch.

1. English 'over' = 'past,' "history" - Dutch: 'voorbij' click to hear

Het is voorbij click to hear 2 3 4 'It's over'
Dan is 't voorbij met de pret click to hear 'Then the fun is over'
't Ergste is voorbij click to hear 2 3 4 The worst is over
Ik wou dat 't voorbij was click to hear 2 3 I wish it was over
't Is voorgoed voorbij click to hear 2 It's over for good, it's once and for all over and done with
't Duurde maar tien minuten click to hear It only lasted 10 minutes, it was over in 10 minutes
Is 't uit tussen Jan en Klazien? click to hear 2 3
Zijn Jan en Klazien uit elkaar? click to hear 2 3
Is it over between Jan en Klazien? (Is the relationship over?)
See also: Endings

2. English 'over' = 'more than' - Dutch: 'meer dan' click to hear 2 3

meer dan drie uur click to hear 2 3 over 3 hours, more than 3 hours
't Is meer dan duizend dollar click to hear 2 3 It's over a thousand dollars
't Is meer dan een miljoen euro click to hear 2 It's over a million euros ->>

3. English 'over' = 'above' - Dutch: 'boven' click to hear 2

een dak boven je hoofd click to hear 2 a roof over your head
boven 't huis click to hear over the house
boven 't water click to hear over the water
er was niemand boven hem click to hear There was nobody over (above?) him
't Gaat me boven de pet click to hear 2 It's over my [cap] head (I don't understand it)
de laag erboven click to hear 2 the layer over it, the layer on top of it
Vliegende schotels boven Zwitserland click to hear 2 3
Flying saucers (UFO's) over Switzerland

Synomyms, Alternates and Related Words

'Boven' click to hear 2 is also 'upstairs' (a higher floor in a house.) The direction of movement 'up' is 'naar boven' click to hear (naar click to hear 'to') or 'omhoog' click to hear 2 3
Er is boven een atelier click to hear 2 There's an artist's studio upstairs
We klommen omhoog click to hear We climbed up
We gingen met de roltrap naar boven click to hear We took the escalator up
de enige uitweg is omhoog click to hear The only way out is up

The opposites are 'beneden' click to hear ('downstairs') and direction downwards 'omlaag' click to hear 2 and 'naar beneden' click to hear ('down')

Ga je naar beneden? click to hear 2 Are you going down? (usually: downstairs)
Er is beneden ook een slaapkamer click to hear There's [also a] another bedroom downstairs
We gleden omlaag click to hear we (glided) slid down
We gingen naar beneden met de lift click to hear We went down in the elevator
De lift gaat naar beneden click to hear 2 3 4 The elevator is going down

More English 'Over'

In fractions, calculations and formulas English says 'over' for what's on top of the fraction line. Dutch says gedeeld door click to hear 2 ('divided by') - (de) breuk click to hear 2 ('fraction' - also: 'break, fracture' - plural: breuken click to hear) - (de) berekening click to hear 2 ('calculation')
8/4=2 (acht gedeeld door vier is twee) click to hear 8 over 4 equals 2 - simple math
Iets over het hoofd zien click to hear 2 3 4 To overlook something, failing to notice something
omvallen click to hear 2 to fall over
Je fiets is omgevallen click to hear 2 Your bike has fallen over
Is 't uit tussen Jan en Klazien? click to hear 2 3 Is it over between Jan en Klazien? (Is the relationship over?)
Zijn Jan en Klazien uit elkaar? click to hear 2 3 Are Jan en Klazien no longer together? (Is the relationship over?)

Dutch has the somewhat old-fashioned 'waken over' click to hear 2 ('to watch over')

Iemand die op me past click to hear 2 Someone [who watches over] to watch over me (this could also be said by a child about its nanny)
Iemand die een oogje in het zeil houdt click to hear 2 [Someone who keeps an eye on the sail] - Someone to watch over someone or something

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