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Dutchmen will not expect the words and phrases on this page from a foreigner,
so it may cause merriment. But:
Lachen is gezond 2 ('[to laugh is healthy] laughter is good for your health.')
(de) kwinkslag ('funny remark')
For 'lunch,' most people in Holland will use the English word.
In a restaurant, (de) spijskaart
is an old-fashioned word for the bill of fare. The modern word is
Zullen we de zitting opheffen?
'Shall we terminate the session?'
The small 'Do Not Eat' paper packets that you find for instance in shoe boxes contain a drying agent that has almost the same name in Dutch as in English: silicagel - but in Dutch it's often humorously mispronounced as silikachel 2 (Dutch (de) kachel is a stove, a heater.)
A common deli meat ('sandwich filling'?) is the cervelaatworst - a kind of mild salami. The name is often corrupted to the soundalike sterf-op-straat worst 2 3 - literally: 'die-in-the-street' sausage
A polite way to ask if you have met someone before is:
An extremely formal phrase for offering someone a drink is:
For 'excuse me' we usually say the French-derived
but there's also the more formal, elaborate
Neemt U mij niet kwalijk
Referring to yourself, like for instance when naming the members of
your team, you could say
Riding a tandem bicycle in Holland, I would often get the same
Having a hand in your pocket doesn't look good. A jokey comment could be:
Welkom in mijn nederige stulp 2 ('welcome to my humble dwelling')
('a miserable small piece of work to do')
In an office, it may be funny to (occasionally) say Nou, welterusten 2 ('sleep well - happy dreams') when you meet colleagues before you go to your desk, or to ask Heb je lekker geslapen? 2 ('did you sleep well?') later in the day.
A fun expression of amazement:
Very mild curses, no-one should be offended by them:
Je kunt niet alles weten. 2 ('[You can't] It is not possible to know everything.')
Vrijheid blijheid 2 ('Freedom brings along happiness')
Alle gekheid op een stokje 2 ('[All the silliness on a stick] - joking aside,' now let's stop the joking and get down to business.)
('nonsense!' [chat-cake, something thought up by a chatterbox])
usually means something like 'to growl' or 'to grumble' though it can
also mean 'to ride a small motorcycle'
and it's a slang word for
'doing time in prison.'
'Ik ga liever gewoon dood'
hagedis (lizard) /or/ salamander (salamander)
2 ('to fight,' like
a fistfight) - also only used in the infinitive.
matten met de politie ('fighting with the police')
't Most niet magge
('[it shouldn't be allowed] it's an outrage, how does the Lord
allow?' - humorous)
In more proper Dutch it would be something like " 't Zou niet moeten mogen," but nobody says that.
Je hebt z'n rooie kop 2 3 ['you have such a red head'] 'you're red in the face' (usually from exercise or the sun)
('an attractive young woman,' like a trophy wife)
stuk 2 ('an attractive young woman') - plural: stukken
minkukel ('a jerk') - flapdrol ('[flopping turd] - a ridiculous person, male')
oen 2 ('a stupid guy, a person who habitually acts in a stupid way') - hij is een oen ('he is stupid.')
kwibus ('a weird, idiosyncratic person') - 'n rare kwibus 2
mafkees ('a guy deliberately behaving in an odd way, a goofball')
Dat lust ik niet
or, talking rough, drop T's:
da lus' ik nie
('I don't like the taste of that, I don't want to eat it') - but even properly pronounced it's not a polite thing to say.
een bakje troost
('a cup of coffee' - "Joe")
- 'n bakkie troost
Proper Dutch is een kopje koffie - suiker ('sugar') - melk ('cream') - slagroom ('whipped cream') >>
sjiek (chique) 2 ('classy') - een sjieke tent ('a classy, expensive restaurant') - regular Dutch: een duur restaurant 2
Je ouwelui 2 ['your olds folks'] 'your parents'
(Het) zweet 2 'sweat' - zweten 2 ('to sweat') - zweterig 'sweaty.' My mother always said not to use those words but say instead: transpireren ('to sweat') and (de) transpiratie 2 ('sweat.')
De hele santekraam 'the whole shebang'
in 'n zucht en 'n scheet 2 ['in a sigh and a fart'] - without paying much attention, without much effort
See and hear also Hebrew and Yiddish Words in Dutch
The Most Basic Phrases -
- Food and Drink
- Time - Jobs and Lines of Work - The Senses - Speaking Dutch, Speaking about Dutch - Sayings and Idiom
Further Study: Basic Dutch Words - Pictures Dictionary - Easy Dutch - Lessons - Pronunciation - Listening - Reading - Grammar
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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