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

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

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Waar

click to hear
  1. where? - what place? - "Where is the exit?"
  2. where - the place that - "Where Jesus was born"
  3. what - the thing that - "What you should think of"
  4. true - 'real' - "Every word was true"

1. 'Waar' = 'Where?'

'Where?' is 'waar?' click to hear - like in English, asking for a location ('where is?')
waar is ...? click to hear 2 where is ...?
waar is de ...? click to hear 2 where is the ...?
waar zijn ...? click to hear where are ...?
waar zijn de ...? click to hear 2 where are the ...?
Waar is de uitgang? click to hear Where is the exit?
Waar is de sleutel? click to hear 2 3 Where is the key?
Waar is je boek? click to hear 2 Where is your book?
Waar is je fatsoen? click to hear 2 Where are your good manners?
Waar ben je? click to hear 2 Where are you?
Waar was je? click to hear 2 Where were you?
Waar is het station? click to hear 2 Where is the station?
Waar heb je gegeten? click to hear 2 Where have you eaten?
Waar heeft U die tas gekocht? click to hear 2 Where did you buy that bag? (polite 'you')
Waar zijn jullie fietsen? click to hear 2 Where are your bicycles? (plural 'you')
Waar doet 't pijn? click to hear Where does it hurt?
Waar is de dankbaarheid? click to hear 2 3 Where is the gratitude?
Waar ben je geweest? click to hear 2 Where have you been?

When talking about an origin, English says 'from,' Dutch has vandaan click to hear 2

Waar kom je vandaan? click to hear 2 3 Where are you (coming) from? (either country of origin or recent travel)

For 'where' asking about a destination, Dutch always adds naar toe click to hear 2 or heen click to hear

Waar ga je naar toe? click to hear 2 3 Where are you going?
Waar naar toe? click to hear 2 3 Where to?
Waar ga je heen? click to hear 2 3 Where are you going?
Waarheen? click to hear 2 Where to?
Hierheen! click to hear 2 3 This way!
Waar gaan jullie heen op vakantie? click to hear Where are you guys going on vacation?
Waar moet dat heen, hoe zal dat gaan, waar komt die rotzooi toch vandaan? click to hear 2 3 ~ Where [can it possibly go] is it going, how will it go, where in heaven's name does all that garbage come from?
See also: Travel Words and Phrases and Names of Foreign Lands

Synomyms, Alternates and Related Words

'Here' is hier click to hear >> and 'there' is daar click to hear >>
hier en daar click to hear here and there
Hier is 't warm, daar is 't koud click to hear Here it's warm, over there it's cold

2. 'Waar' = 'Where' - the place that, indicate a location

Waar Jezus geboren is click to hear Where Jesus was born ->>
De plaats waar ik vandaan kom click to hear The [place] town where I'm from - My Home Town
Hij vroeg waar het station was click to hear 2 He asked where the station was
Weet jij waar de sleutel is? click to hear 2 Do you know where the key is?
Ik kan niet zien waar het lekt click to hear I cannot see where [it's leaking] the leak is

3. 'Waar' = 'What' - 'placeholder'

In Dutch, English 'what' with a preposition is often translated as 'waar' click to hear and not as the 'wat' you'd expect.
Waar denk je aan? click to hear What are you thinking of? (about?)
Waar hou(d) je van? click to hear What do you like?
Hij weet waar-(d)ie het over heeft click to hear 2 He knows what he's talking about
Waarin een klein land groot kan zijn click to hear [In what a small country can be big] - Big things a small country can do
Waaraan heb ik dit te danken? click to hear 2 What do I have to thank for this? What did I do to deserve this? (angrily lamenting misfortune)
Waaraan heb ik dit verdiend? click to hear 2 What did I do to deserve this? (angrily lamenting misfortune)
Dat is niet waar 't om gaat click to hear 2 That is not what it's about, that is not the important thing
Waar gaat 't om? click to hear 2 3 What is it about? What is the important thing?
Waar gaat 't over? click to hear 2 3 What is it about? What is the subject?
Waar ben je mee bezig? click to hear 2 [What are you busy with?] What are you doing? What are you working on? What are you up to?

waarom click to hear 2 [What for?] Why? - see also: Disambiguation 'Om'
Waarom? Daarom! click to hear Why? Because!
Waarom ben je boos? click to hear Why are you angry?
Waarom zijn de bananen krom? click to hear 2 3 Why are the bananas not straight? (said when someone poses an unanswerable question)
Waarom doe je dat? click to hear 2 3 Why are you doing that?
Vraag niet waarom click to hear Do not ask why, Don't ask me why

Like placeholder 'what' not being translated as 'wat' but as 'waar' when a preposition is involved, 'it' with a preposition is not translated as 'het' but as 'er' click to hear ->> and 'that' with a preposition is not translated as 'dat' but as daar click to hear ->> See also common problems.

4. 'Waar' = 'True' - 'real'

'Waar' click to hear can also mean 'true' or 'real' (waar/ware click to hear 2) like in (de) waarheid click to hear 2 ('truth.')
de waarheid click to hear the truth
twee halve waarheden click to hear two half-truths - irregular plural
Vertel me de waarheid click to hear 2 Tell me the truth, tell me what really happened
Elk woord was waar click to hear Every word was true
Ik weet niet wat er van waar is click to hear 2 ['I don't know what of it is true'] - I'm not sure in how far it's true
Ze hebben jullie onwaarheden verteld click to hear 2 They have told you guys [untruths] lies
(de) waarzegster click to hear 2 ['truth-sayer'] fortune teller (female)
echt waar click to hear 2 'really true'
Is het waar dat ...? click to hear Is it true that ...
't Kan wel waar zijn click to hear 2 It may be true (but ...)
't Schijnt niet waar te zijn click to hear 2 3 It seems not to be true
't Kan best wel waar zijn click to hear 2 3 It may well be true, it's possible that that is the truth
Raar maar waar click to hear 2 3 Strange but true
de ware toedracht click to hear 2 3 The real sequence of events, the real cause, what really happened, the facts of the matter
(de) ware Jacob click to hear 2 [True, real Jacob] Mr Right
... nietwaar? click to hear 2 3 [... isn't it true?] ... isn't it?
"We benne op de wereld om mekaar te hellepe niewaar?" click to hear 2 (slang) We are in this world to help each other out, isn't it?

In the next two examples, the meaning depends on context and intonation, the way it's said:

Het is niet waar click to hear It's not true!
Het is niet waar click to hear (ironic:) It's not true, I don't believe you - like: "You don't say!"

Synomyms, Alternates and Related Words

Dutch also has the noun (de) waarde click to hear ('value,' "worth") found for instance in:
waardevol click to hear 2 valuable
waardeloos click to hear 2 "worthless," - without value, useless, not interesting
(de) waardering click to hear 2 'valuation' - or usually: 'appreciation'
(het) gevoel van eigenwaarde click to hear ['sense of your own worth'] - 'self-esteem'

Similar to English 'wares,' Dutch has '(de) waar' click to hear meaning 'merchandise, commercial goods' or by extension, 'good stuff,' "value"

(het) warenhuis click to hear storehouse, commercial goods storage
(de) koopwaar click to hear merchandise, commercial goods
- (de) handelswaar click to hear merchandise, commercial goods
Waar voor je geld click to hear [Good stuff, value for (your) money] - a good buy

I'm not sure all the following words are really related:

waardig click to hear 2 ['deserving'] 1. worthy, worth 2. dignified
waarschijnlijk click to hear 2 ['true-seeming'] - probably
(de) waarneming click to hear 2 ['truth-taking'] - observation
(de) waarschuwing click to hear 2 3 warning
(de) voorwaarde click to hear condition (precondition)
de enige voorwaarde click to hear the only condition ('just one condition')
(de) voedingswaarde click to hear 2 nutritional value(s) ->>

Dutch also has a not uncommon adjective and adverb 'waard' click to hear meaning 'worth, having (a) value.'
The noun '(de) waard' is a bit old-fashioned. It can mean 'innkeeper' and also 'an area enclosed by rivers' - in that last meaning it's still found in geographical names, for instance 'De Hoekse Waard' click to hear (near Rotterdam.)

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