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Hebrew Words in Dutch (mostly via Yiddish)

An Example

Enno Endt and Lieneke Frerich's Bargoens Woordenboek (Bert Bakker, Amsterdam 1991) gives this quip about the 1936 Italian invasion of Ethiopia (the 'Negus' is Ethiopia's emperor): Nieges Negus, nages nog'es click to hear (A bad thing, Negus; better luck another time.)

The Jews of Holland

In the Middle Ages, Jewish communities in what's now Southern Germany and the Rhineland started using the local language, which over the years developed into Yiddish; likewise, Jewish communities in Spain adopted the local language which became the Ladino or Judaeo-Spanish of today. The languages still have many Hebrew words.
When armies formed to go on the 'German Crusade' of 1096 they first massacred Jewish people in the German towns, and many Jews fled to Eastern Europe; followed by another migration when the Jews were blamed for the Black Death epidemic of the 1350s. It is possible that small groups of Jewish people came to present-day Holland at the time.
After the 1492/98 expulsions from Spain and Portugal, some 25.000 Jews found refuge in Holland, where they soon were to make an important contribution to the Golden Age of Dutch commercial enterprise (1600-1750); but most Jews were poor, like the philosopher Baruch Spinoza (1632-77.)
When conditions deteriorated in Eastern Europe in the 17th and 18th Century, Jewish people returned to Western Europe that had become somewhat more liberal.
In 1940, some 140.000 Jews were living in Holland, 110.000 Dutch citizens and 30.000 refugees; about 105.000 perished in the Second World War. At present, some 30.000 Jewish people live in Holland.
The majority of the Dutch Jews used to live in Amsterdam, 80.000 in 1940; I would consider most of the words from the second list Amsterdam slang.

Most of the words from the following lists are slang terms, not meant for
polite conversation: I do not recommend their use by non-native speakers
and cannot be held responsible for accidents resulting from their use.

The Yiddish and the first list of Hebrew words on this page are transcribed to the Dutch pronunciation system. Dutch Pronunciation

Dutch-Israeli Uriah Yaniv made a list of the words in Hebrew characters - when you know Hebrew, I strongly recommend you open his page with the root words in Hebrew next to my page: The list in Hebrew - (on CD-ROM)
The list on this page is in two parts, common and less common words; Uriah has all the words in one list.

Uriah is a licensed tour guide in Israel, and conducts tours in English, German, Dutch, Arabic and Hebrew. His special interests are Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Plants and Animals, Archaeology, Modern History and Humor. Contact him on his page for details.
Uriah is een gediplomeerde reisgids voor tochten in Israel, en hij spreekt goed Nederlands omdat hij tot z'n achttiende in Nederland gewoond heeft. Verder spreekt hij Engels, Duits, Hebreeuws en Arabisch. Hij kan veel vertellen over het Christendom in Israël, het Joodse geloof en de Joodse cultuur, de Islam, flora en fauna, archeologie, geschiedenis en humor. Neem contact met hem op via zijn website.

Hebrew and Yiddish Words in Common Dutch

Meaning of
Dutch Word
Dutch Word Yiddish Root Hebrew Root
Modern Hebrew
Meaning of Hebrew Root Comments, Similar Dutch Words etc.

The list in Hebrew
dead-tired afgepeigerd click to hear - pèger peger corpse, dead body
prison bajes click to hear bajes
bajiet bayit house bajesklant click to hear 2 ['prison customer'] a former inmate
drunk blauw click to hear 2 blau be-lo belo without, zero etymology questionable
Dutch blauw click to hear 2 ('blue,') like the cheap fuel alcohol
intelligent person
bolleboos click to hear 2 baal habojes,
ba'al ha-bajiet ba'al habayit master of the house,
head of the family
Cheers! daar ga je! click to hear 2 lechajjem lechajjiem lechayim to life!
poverty dalles click to hear dalles dalloet dalut poverty
friend, comrade gabber click to hear chawwer chaweer chaver friend, comrade
bad people gajes click to hear gajes
not-Jewish people
gajies chayot soldiers
thief gannef click to hear 2 gannew gannaw ganav thief
something funny
funny person, comedian
gein click to hear
geinig click to hear 2
geintje click to hear
geinponum click to hear 2 3
chein cheen chen favor, charm
impoverished gesjochten click to hear schechten
to butcher
sjocheet lishchot a butcher
punks, bad people geteisem click to hear chatteisem
singular: chattes
chatat chet tachat sin, atonement offering
clever, shrewd gis click to hear ches
prudent, intelligent
ches chet (first letter of choochem)
clever, sensible goochem click to hear choochem chacham chacham wise, prudent
insolent act gotspe click to hear chotspe choetspa chutzpah insolence it does not imply courage like 'chutzpah' in English, just insolence
a man (unfavorable) gozer click to hear - chatan chatan bridegroom, son-in-law
trouble, commotion heibel click to hear heibel hèwel hevel vain, useless etymology somewhat questionable
a quarter, 25¢ heitje click to hear heitje hei he 5 (5 nickels) een heitje voor 'n karweitje click to hear 2 ('a quarter for a small job') - boy scouts fundraiser slogan
confused hoteldebotel click to hear overwotel awar oe-woteel avar vebatel gone and disappeared
(Awot V,24)
Jenever ('Dutch gin') jajem click to hear jajen jajien yayin wine
hands // to steal
jat click to hear
jatten click to hear 2
jad jad yad hand
10 guilders (bill) joetje click to hear joed jod yod 10
good, nice jofel click to hear jofe jafee yafe useful, pleasant
broken, not functioning kapoerem click to hear 2
kapoeres click to hear 2
kapoerewitz click to hear 2
kappore kappôreth / kapores kapara sacrifice for atonement 'kapoerewitz' is children's talk
Dutch kapot click to hear ('broken, not functioning')
'airs,' cockiness kapsones click to hear gawsones ga-awtanoet ga'avtanut hubris
died, gone kassiewijle click to hear (h)asjeweine hasjieweinoe hashivenu 'bring us back' Dutch wijlen click to hear ('the late')
yarmulke keppeltje click to hear 2 kippah yarmulke etymology questionable
envy, jealousy kinnesinne click to hear kinnesinne kien-a / siena kina sina jealousy / hate
policeman klabak click to hear 2 kèlew dog etymlogy very questionable
cheap brandy koetsiertje click to hear chootse chatsie chatsi half Dutch koetsier click to hear ('coachman') (Hebrew etymology very questionable)
koosjer click to hear kasjeer kasher kosher
child koter click to hear koten katan small
1½ guilder,
30 nickels
lammetje click to hear lammetje lammed lamed 30 Dutch lammetje click to hear ('little lamb')
- there used to be a 1½ guilder coin,
'daalder' click to hear
courage lef click to hear lef lew lev heart
no result lou loene click to hear 2 lou lone lo lanoe lo lanu not us (Ps. 115)
luck mazzel click to hear mazzal mazal luck; constellation Dutch De mazzel! click to hear ('See you!')
100 guilders bill meier click to hear meie méa me'a 100
crazy mesjogge click to hear mesjogge mesjoega' meshuga crazy
ugly; troublesome mies click to hear mies mioes mi'us aversion; inferiority
unpleasant person miesgasser click to hear mieschazzer mioes chazier mi'us chatan troublesome - pig
a spoiler miesmacher click to hear mies
Germanic machen
mioes - mi'us - ugly (-maker)
unpleasant person miesponum click to hear miesponem mioes poniem mi'us panim troublesome face
Amsterdam Mokum click to hear mokem olef makom olef makom alef city A
money (turf)molm click to hear teref? money etymology questionable
Dutch turfmolm click to hear ('peat pulp')
a nuisance ongein click to hear chein cheen chen favor, charm
to have sex pennen click to hear 2 penai time of rest etymology questionable
the criminal world penose click to hear parnose parnasa parnasa breadwinning
a small person piegem click to hear piechem pegimoh pegima,
minor disability etymology questionable
gone, disppeared pleite click to hear pleite peléta plita escape
money poen click to hear melech punem pan, panim the king's face
(on a coin)
etymology questionable
face ponum click to hear
porum click to hear 2
ponem poniem panim face
pity rachmones click to hear rachmones rachamanoet rachmanut pity
overstock sale ramsj click to hear ramsch
ramme, rammo-es
ramma-oet rama'ut deceit probably from French ramas - Hebrew etymology questionable
bad people schorem click to hear 2 sjeiker sjèker, sjekariem shor wachamor lie, lies (tellers of lies?) - Hebrew etymology questionable
non-Jewish girl sjikse click to hear sjikse sjiektsa shekets
non-Jewish girl
knowledge, presumption sjoege click to hear sjoewe tesjoewa shagach answer; remorse Dutch: geen sjoege geven click to hear ('giving no response, showing no emotion')
looking poor sjofel click to hear - sjafal, sjafaal shefel modest, common
policeman smeris click to hear sj(e)miere sjemiera shmira surveillance
to talk with a hidden purpose
smoes click to hear
smoesje click to hear
smoezen click to hear
sjmoes sjemoe'ot shmu'a talk, rumors Most commonly used is the diminutive plural: smoesjes click to hear
trouble, worries sores click to hear tsores tsarot (tsara) tsarot suffering
ado stennis click to hear sjtannes
'esjtonot eshtonot thoughts, intentions Dutch stennis maken click to hear 2
('to get rowdy, raise a stink')
hidden, secretly stiekem click to hear sjtieke sjetieka shtika silence, no speaking
'cool,' likeable tof click to hear tof
tow tov good
ass, behind togus click to hear
tokus click to hear
tooches tachat tachat below, lowest

The list in Hebrew

Less Common Dutch Words of Hebrew and Yiddish Origin

Meaning of
Dutch Word
Dutch Word Yiddish Root Hebrew Root
Modern Hebrew
Meaning of Hebrew Root Comments, Similar Dutch Words etc.
God! attenoie click to hear addenoj Adonaj Adonay God, Lord
to 'sing,' betray baldoveren click to hear 2 - ba'al dawar ba'al dibur master of the word? etymology questionable
two bas click to hear
beis click to hear
beis bet bet 2
unpleasant person basserool click to hear 2 barjisro-el bar Jisra-el bar Yisra'el son of Israel
to speak bedibberen click to hear medibberen,
diebboer diver, diber speech
afraid begiete click to hear 2 bechiete be-chietta with fear
neighborhood beis click to hear - bajieth bayit house etymology questionable
a reprimand,
a fine
bekattering click to hear (mekatreg) mekatreeg mekatreg prosecutor
(from Greek) katègorein
to swindle beseibelen click to hear bezeibelen zèwel zevel dung
well-to-do betoeg click to hear betoech betoeach betu'ach certain, reliable
excuses biskopee click to hear pischen pee pietchon pee pitchon pe opening mouth
(freedom to speak)
headman, chief,
police chief
bollebof click to hear 2 balboos ba'al ha-bajiet ba'al bayit master of the house,
head of the family
a further corruption of
man, guy broger click to hear boocher bachoer bachur young, single man
blessing, prayer brooche click to hear brooche beracha beracha a prayer for
certain occasions
protestantism chadesjemone click to hear 2 chaddesj emoenne chaddiesj emoena chadash emuna very new - belief see also tofelemone
to beg dalven click to hear dalfen
a poor man
one of Haman's sons
etymology questionable
adulterous woman eisjediesj click to hear 2
eisjediesje click to hear 2
eisjediesj(e) ésjet iesj eshet ish married woman
nice, pleasant emmes click to hear emmes
true, truth
emet emet truth
broke, bankrupt gallemieze click to hear challasj mies chalash weak, bad etymology questionable
cap gassie click to hear mechasseh michse covered etymology questionable
(bad) company gebroeze click to hear chawroese Aramaic: chawroeta chavruta company, friendship Dutch gebroeders click to hear 2
(old-fashioned 'brothers')
a share geiling click to hear 2 cheilek chelek chalak share, part etymology questionable
prostitute gondel click to hear chonte? Dutch 'gondel' click to hear (Venetian 'gondola') (etymology questionable)
broken, destroyed goref click to hear choref chareew charev ruined, dry
to eat hachelen click to hear achelen achiele achal food
badly dressed;
setback, failure
hillig click to hear hillech hielloech hiluch behavior
bad smell, stink ippes click to hear ippesj 'ieppoesj bad smell; fungus
first sale of the day jatmoos click to hear jadmoos jad ma'ot yad ma'ot hand money
stolen goods jatschore click to hear jad sechora yad sechorat hand merchandise
noise, fuss jeiles click to hear ja'alee first word of a
Kol Nidre prayer
small child jelletje click to hear jéled jèled yeled child
year in prison jen click to hear jamim year etymology questionable
cheater at cards jenner click to hear jowen
etymology very questionable
expensive jouker click to hear jakar yakar expensive, exquisite
prostitute kalletje click to hear kalle
kalla kala bride
broke kaps click to hear kabtsen
kabtsan kabtsan beggar etymology questionable
paper money kassavie click to
 hear kesaaf
writing, mail
ketaw ketav writing
good, safe kedin click to hear kedin kadien kedin lawful
a glass of Dutch gin keiltje click to hear keli keli barrel etymology very questionable
curse kelole click to hear 2 kelole kelala klala curse
to divide money kiepen click to hear probably from Slavic kupa ('group of people, business partners') etymology questionable
OK kim click to hear ken keen ken right, correct etymology questionable
free, no charge koefnoen click to hear Koscht Niks k (koef) + n (noen) kuf nun Hebrew letters
honor, respect kovet click to hear kowed kawod kavod honor, respect
adversity krieje click to hear krie-e kerie'ah kriyah tear in mourning clothes
trouble, danger lampe click to hear 2 lamden lamdon lamdan scholar etymology questionable
no knowledge of lou sjoege click to hear louw sjoewe lo tesjoewa lo shagach no knowledge
inferior quality lou tof click to hear louw tof lo tow lo tov not good
to rain
majem click to hear
majemen click to hear
majiem mayim water
blow, plague makke click to hear makka maka blow, plague
stolen goods mazematte click to hear massematten
to trade
massa oe-mattan
(maso umaton)
masa umatan commerce, negotiation
dead meimus click to hear meimes meemiet memit dead
beating, battle mekajem click to hear 2 mekajjem makka / mekajjeem maka blow / confirmed
job, tool melogem click to hear melooche
malachiem melacha angels
money mesomme click to hear mezomme (kèsef) mezoemman mezuman cash
a sneaky person mien click to hear 2 mien ma-amien ma'amin believer
'Mien' is also a Dutch girls' name (short for 'Wilhelmina')
ugly woman;
an unpleasant case
mieskat click to hear mioes +
Germanic -keit
mi'us 'bad (-ness)' Dutch kat click to hear ('cat')
family misjpoge click to hear misjpooche miesjpacha mishpacha family
to gossip, to betray mozeren click to hear moser moseer moser snitch
beating muimes click to hear mum mum disability etymology questionable
pleasure, enjoyment nages click to hear 2 naaches nachat nachat rest, happiness
woman nekeiwe click to hear nekeiwe nekéwe nekeva woman
bad, inferior nieges click to hear niechesj
superstitious fear
niechoesj nachut magic, fortune-telling
woman, girl niese click to hear iesje iesja isha woman
to kill nifteren click to hear nifteren
to die
nieftar niftar deceased
oud; gek olms click to hear 2 olam
olam etymology questionable
afraid pages click to hear
paged click to hear 2
paached paachad pachad fear
term of abuse parg click to hear 2 probably from Polish
parch (scratch, rash)
term of abuse patetter click to hear partsef partsoef partsuf face
under arrest? pekaan click to hear
bekaan click to hear 2
kaan kan here
easy, quiet penages click to hear benaaches nachat benachat rest, enjoyment
to work very hard piezakken click to hear 2 pisseach piseyach bent, lame etymology questionable
bribed plat click to hear 2 polat
to escape
peléta palat escape (etymology questionable)
Dutch plat click to hear 2 ('flat; submitted')
small coin poser click to hear poosjet
simple, basic
pasjoet pashut simple, basic
lost, gone pote click to hear
poter click to hear
poter poteer patur released Dutch poten click to hear (animal 'legs')
mild curse rambam click to hear Rabbi Moosje ben Maimon Rambam Maimonides
ruin, ruined ratsmodee click to hear asjmedai Asmodée Ashmaday devil, the king
of evil spirits
strong person; crowbar ribbemoos click to hear rebbe Mousje Rav Moshe
to look, spy on rojemen click to hear
rojenen click to hear
ro'oh ra'a to see
to be in prison scheffen click to hear sjeffen sjev! yashav sit!
face, name,
schim click to hear 2 sjem sjem sham name Dutch schim click to hear 2
('vague appearance, shadow')
merchandise schore click to hear s-choure sechora sechora merchandise
in trouble sereibel click to hear sereife seréfe srefa fire
questionable sjalet click to hear sjalet (long-stewing Sabbath dish) probably from French chaud or Latin calidus ('warm, hot') American Yiddish:
to booze sjaskenen click to hear
sjasjkenen click to hear
sjasjkenen sjasjon shatyan boozer
devil, enemy, police sjed click to hear sjed
ghost, evil spirit
sjeidiem sjed the host of
evil spirits
drunk sjikker click to hear sjikker sjiekkor shikor drunk
the police sjotrem click to hear sjauteir, sjautrim sjortrim police etymology questionable
guilder soof click to hear zoof zahuw zahav golden coin
house, boarding-house spiese click to hear Aramaic ojspieza ushpizin inn
prostitute temeie click to hear 2 temeie(r) teméa teme'a unclean #2 sung by Tol Hansse
junk, low quality tinnef click to hear tiennoef tinofet dirt, dung
catholicism tofelemone click to hear tofel emmoene tafeel emoena emuna tefela old belief see also chadesjemone
Jesus (de) tole click to hear 2 tole taloej taluy the hanged one
not kosher treife click to hear treife teréfa taref not kosher
to sell verkienen click to hear 2 verkinjenen kienjan kinjan property, acquisition
to betray versmiegelen click to hear 2 sliechot salach, slicha penance Dutch slang smiecht click to hear 2 ('a rogue')
gone wieberig click to hear 2 wejiwrech wajiewrach vayivrach Ja'akov he fled (Hosea XII,13)
smug, arrogant wijgoochem click to hear weichochme Germanic weh
- chochme
vechochma (pain-) wisdom
to swindle zeperen click to hear zèwel zevel dung, dirt

The list in Hebrew
To me, the literature is not clear about Hebrew words that came into Dutch from Ladino, the language of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews. A Portuguese word they brought is deixe, 'stop, be quiet' from the verb deixar. In Dutch, it turned into gedeisd click to hear 2 - in the common expression hou je gedeisd click to hear ('don't make a fuss, keep a low profile.')

15 Years ago, the first version of this page was mostly based on Enno Endt and Lieneke Frerich's Bargoens Woordenboek (Bert Bakker, Amsterdam 1991.) Over the years many people have contributed words and corrections to the page, most notably Hans den Besten. The page was completely revised in October 2010 because Dutch-Israeli Uriah Yaniv made a list of the words in Hebrew characters.
For the revision I mostly used the standard reference book Resten van Een Taal ('Remains of A Language') by H. Beem (Van Gorcum & Comp., Assen 1967.) My notes 'etymology questionable' mean the word is not found in Beem. Other books I consulted are Beem's Jerosche (Van Gorcum & Comp., Assen 1970,) Hebreeuwse en Jiddische woorden in het Nederlands by Henk Heikens, Henk D. Meijering, Hilde Pach, Jaap de Rooij, Abraham Rosenberg and Ariane Zwiers (Staatsdrukkerij, Den Haag, 2002) and the aforementioned Bargoens Woordenboek.
Individual contributors: Uriah Yaniv, Hans den Besten, Eddy Dasberg, Naftaly Godesh Tal'or, A.J.A. van Bladel, Rober Bos, Sandra de Bresser, A.J. van Zuiden, Frederik Weindling, Johan Kelderman, Jochai Rubinstein and Henk de Leeuw.

Sound Files from the Old Page

afgepeigerd - bajes - blauw - dalles - gabber - gajes - gannef - hear
bolleboos - hear
Daar ga je! - hear
geinig - geintje - gesjochten - geteisem - gis - goochem - goser - hear
gotspe - heibel - heitje - hoteldebotel - jajem - jat - jatten - hear
joetje - jofel - kapsones - kassiewijle - kinnesinne - klabak - hear
koetsiertje - koter - lammetje - lou loene - mazzel - meier - mesjogge - hear
lef - hear
mies - miesgasser - miesponum - miesmacher - Mokum - turfmolm - ongein - hear
pennen - penose - piegem - pleite - poen - ponum, porum - hear
rachmones - ramsj - schorem - sjikse - sjoege - sjofel - hear
smeris - smoezen - sores - stiekem - tof - togus, tokus - hear

email - Copyright © Marco Schuffelen 2010. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, redistributed, or hotlinked to.
Don't be a dief (thief) / dievegge (female thief) - diefstal (theft) - stelen (to steal) - heler (dealer in stolen goods) - hear Dutch - 2