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

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

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Zo

click to hear
  1. 'very, a high degree of'
    • 'so' (very) - "that's so old-fashioned!"
    • 'that' (very) - "it's not that expensive"
    • 'such a' / 'a very' - "he's such a good cook"
  2. 'this/that way,' 'like this/that,' 'as' - "say it ain't so!"
  3. in a moment, soon - "we'll have dinner in a moment"

1. 'zo' = very, a high degree of: 'so' / 'that' / 'such a'

Notice that 'zo' is sometimes stressed for emphasis. Exaggerated, the O of 'zo' can be stretched out to make it mean 'so very:' click to hear
't Wordt zo vroeg donker click to hear 2 3 It gets dark so early
Dat is zo ouderwets! click to hear That's so old-fashioned!
't Is zo voorspelbaar wat-ie doet click to hear It is so predictable what he does, his behavior is so predictable
Ik was zò ziek click to hear 2 3 I was so very sick
Ik was zò kwaad click to hear 2 I was so very angry
Ik kan me d'r zò kwaad over maken click to hear 2 It [can make] makes me so very angry
Je lacht zo lief click to hear 2 3 You [laugh] smile so sweetly
Ik vind 't zo zielig click to hear 2 3 [I think it's very pitiable] - I'm very sorry (for them, about it)
Ik ben zo duf click to hear 2 3 [I'm so very dense, dazed] - I don't feel very bright, I'm not fully aware
Ik voel me zo vol click to hear 2 I feel so full (having overeaten)
Dat was niet zo leuk click to hear 2 3 That was not very funny, that was bad
Je geeft 't slechte weer zo mooi weer click to hear You [represent] depict the bad weather so beautifully
Je geeft 't goede weer zo goed weer click to hear 2 You [represent] portray the [good] beautiful weather [so] very well
't Is niet zo overtuigend click to hear 2 It's not very convincing
't Is niet zo duur click to hear 2 3 It's not that expensive
't Is niet zò duur click to hear 2 3 4 5 It's not thàt expensive
Is 't al zò laat? click to hear 2 Is it already that late?
't Komt niet zo nauw click to hear 2 It's not that [narrow] strict - it's flexible, there's a lot of leeway
Doe niet zo stoer! click to hear [Don't act that bravely] - Don't pretend to be (that) brave
Doe niet zo raar! click to hear 2 [Don't act that weirdly] - try to be a regular person
Niet zo goed click to hear Not that good (I'm feeling poorly)
Niet zo vaak click to hear 2 3 Not that often
Zit niet zo te zeuren click to hear 2 Now don't nag that much, Stop that horrible nagging (pointless complaining)
Ik kan zo gauw geen voorbeeld bedenken click to hear 2 3 I can't think of an example [that] quickly, in the rush of things
Toen ik z'n fiets optilde begreep ik hoe hij zo hard kon rijden click to hear 2 3 4 When I lifted up his bike I understood how he could ride that fast ->>
Ik had me nog nooit zo ziek gevoeld click to hear 2 3 I had never felt that sick before (literally: 'never yet' translated as: 'never before' ->>)
Misschien was ik nooit zo slim click to hear 2 3 Maybe I never was that clever

This 'zo' can also be found as zo'n click to hear 2 - a contraction of 'zo een' ("zo 'n") click to hear 2 meaning 'such a' or 'a very' - note that usually zo'n sounds the same as zoon click to hear ('son') - >> but you can exaggerate and insert a Dutch W: zoown/zowun click to hear 2 3 4

zo'n mooie dag click to hear 2 such a beautiful day
zo'n sombere zomer click to hear such a dark, gloomy Summer
Hij is zo'n goede kok click to hear He's such a good cook
Ik heb zo'n zin in iets lekkers click to hear 2 I have (such) a great craving for something tasty, something really nice (usually sweet)
Ik heb zo'n zin in een kopje thee click to hear 2 3 ['I have such a great desire for ...'] - What I'd really like now is a cup of tea
't Zal wel niet zo'n vaart lopen click to hear 2 3 4 (saying) ['It's not going to pick up such a speed']- It won't happen soon (don't worry about it)

Synomyms, Alternates and Related Words

'Such' by itself is zulk click to hear / zulke click to hear (zulk/zulke click to hear)
Zulke dingen als vrijheid, en gelijkheid click to hear Such things as freedom, and equality
Zulke dingen als sterke drank click to hear Such things as [strong drink] liquor
Zulke grote voeten! click to hear 2 Such big feet!
Zulke dingen gebeuren click to hear Such things, things like that happen
't Is buiten zulk prachtig weer click to hear It's such wonderful weather outside
't Is zulk mooi weer buiten click to hear It's such nice weather outside, It's so nice outside
't Is overdag zulk mooi weer click to hear 2 3 [It's such nice weather in the daytime] - In the daytime the weather is so nice

2. 'zo' = '(in) this/that way, like this/that'

We kunnen niet zo doorgaan click to hear 2 3 4 We can't go on like this, We can't go on this way
Er moet iets veranderen click to hear 2 Something gotta change
Ga zo voort! click to hear 2 [Go on, continue like that] Carry on!
Veel mensen denken zo click to hear Many people think that way
Zeg dat het niet zo is! click to hear Say it ain't so!
Dat zeg je niet zo click to hear 2 3 You [don't] can't say it [that way] like that, That's not the (correct) way to say it
Zo te zien click to hear 2 3 As I see it, From what I see, From my observation
Zo is 't echt click to hear 2 3 That's how it is in reality, It's really like that
Ik weet niet of dat zo is click to hear 2 [I don't know] I'm not sure (if) it's like that
Ik weet niet of dat echt zo is click to hear [I don't know] I'm not sure (if) it's really like that
't Lijkt maar zo click to hear It only looks that way, the reality is different
't Mocht niet zo zijn click to hear 2 3 It was not to be (something hoped-for sadly didn't happen)
Zo doe je dat click to hear 2 3 That's the way to do [that] it
Zo is 't nou eenmaal click to hear 2 3 That's how it is (you can't change it)
Ik heb 't maar zo gelaten click to hear 2 I left it like that (I didn't act to change or correct it)
Dat zeg je niet zo click to hear 2 3 You don't say (that) it that way
Als ik het zo hoor ... click to hear 2 Hearing this ... (I gather, understand)

zo-iets click to hear 2 3 such a thing, something like that
zo-iemand click to hear 2 such a person, someone like that
Hoe kan iemand zo-iets doen? click to hear How can someone do something like that? (it's beyond me)
Heb je wel eens zo-iets meegemaakt? click to hear 2 Have you ever experienced such a thing?
Je kunt zo-iemand niet serieus nemen click to hear 2 3 You can't take a person like that seriously

'Zo' meaning 'that way' or 'like that' is also found in a word like zoals click to hear 2 ('like,' 'as,' 'similar to,' 'the way that') - and its split-up form zo ... als click to hear 2 with an adverb in between. And also: net ... als click to hear 2 ('just like.') See also the 'als' 'net' disambiguation pages.

Zoals 't klokje thuis tikt, tikt het nergens click to hear 2 3 4 5 ['There is no place where the clock ticks like at home'] 'Home sweet home'
Zo oud als de weg naar Kralingen click to hear 2 3 As old as the [road to K.] hills - Sayings
Zo dood als een pier click to hear As dead as a [rainworm] doornail
't Is niet zo erg als 't lijkt click to hear 2 3 It's not as bad as it looks
Ik ben niet meer zo slim als ik ooit was click to hear 2 I'm no longer as clever [as I ever was] as I was in the past, as I used to be
Zoals ik al zei ... click to hear [Like] As I already said, As I said before ...
Mijn zoon is net zo mager als ik click to hear My son is just as skinny as I am
Hij is net zo slim als z'n moeder click to hear 2 He's just as clever as his mom
Another common phrase with 'zo' meaning 'as' is zo ... mogelijk click to hear 2 ('as ... as possible') - but by itself, zo mogelijk ... means 'if possible'
zo lang mogelijk click to hear 2 as long as possible
zo spoedig mogelijk click to hear 2 as soon as possible

Old-fashioned words for this 'zo' meaning 'in this way' are aldus click to hear 2 (think of 'thus' / 'thusly') and 'alzo' click to hear 2

... en aldus geschiedde click to hear 2 3 ... and that's what happened
Leer ons alzo onze dagen tellen click to hear So teach us to number our days (Ps 90:12) - Teach us to count our days this way

Synomyms, Alternates and Related Words

English 'also' / 'too' is ook click to hear
Er is beneden ook een slaapkamer click to hear There's also a bedroom downstairs, there's also a downstairs bedroom
Dat staat ons ook te wachten click to hear 2 That's also [waiting for, expected] going to happen to us, here
Dat is ook goed click to hear 2 That's also good, that's OK too
Dat zou je ook kunnen doen click to hear 2 3 You could do that too, it's OK to do that instead
Denk je ook niet dat ... click to hear 2 3 Aren't you also thinking that ...
Ik weet 't ook niet click to hear I also don't know (it) - I don't know either
... maar 't is ook niet bijzonder click to hear 2 ... but it's also not very special (less successful cooking, art)
... maar 't was ook niet geweldig click to hear 2 3 ... but it was also not great, it wasn't great either (less successful cooking, art)
Misschien heeft 't daar ook mee te maken click to hear 2 3 Maybe it has to do with that too
Wat je ook doet ... click to hear 2 3 Whatever you do ... (it doesn't make a difference, it's hopeless)
See also: Disambiguation: 'Dan' and Disambiguation: 'Eens'

English 'so' can also mean drawing a conclusion, something like 'I gather, I get the impression, in conclusion, I understand.' This is said in Dutch as dus click to hear - "So you want to be a rock 'n' roll star?"

Dus je wilt Nederlands leren? click to hear So you want to learn Dutch?
't Was dus allemaal gelogen click to hear 2 So it was all [lied] lies, It turned out to be all lies
Het is dus fout click to hear 2 So it is wrong, I'm telling you it's wrong
Fietspad click to hear - Dus niet brommen click to hear Bike path - So no [small motorcyle riding] motorcycles
(De) bromfiets click to hear 2 is a small (50cc engine) motorcycle - 'brommen' click to hear 2 usually means 'to grumble' but it can also mean 'to buzz' (the sound of a small engine) and in slang: 'to spend time in prison.' The sign is a nice, unexpected little joke by a bureaucrat.
[bike path]
fietspad click to
  hear (no motorcycles)

3. 'zo' = 'soon, in a moment'

Tot zo! click to hear 2 3 ['Till in a moment'] - See you soon!
We gaan zo eten click to hear 2 3 We'll eat (have dinner or lunch) in a moment
Ik ben zo klaar click to hear I'll be ready (done) in a moment
Ik kom zo bij U click to hear 2 I'll [come to you] be with you in a minute
Zullen we zo gaan? click to hear 2 3 Shall we go (leave) in a moment?
See and Hear also: Hurry, Haste and Urgency in the Time Thesaurus


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Don't be a dief (thief) / dievegge (female thief) - diefstal (theft) - stelen (to steal) - heler (dealer in stolen goods) - hear Dutch - 2