Learning a new language can be hard, frustrating even… but it can also be fun. You just have to know where to look.
Luckily for me, you don’t have to look too far to find funny sounding words and phrases in Dutch. Here are some I’ve learnt so far…
My first Dutch WTF moment was watching a film with subtitles when the screen flashed up “Ik ben apetrots op je” literally meaning “I am monkey proud on you.” (The correct translation in English is “I’m really proud of you”.) A brilliant Dutchism… and it’s now one of my favourite Dutch sayings 😀
Literally translated as “butter ham” – it actually means sandwich or a slice of bread.
While we’re on the food theme… let’s go with the word for Porcini mushrooms, which literally translates as “little squirrels’ bread”.
Sounds like “acorn”… it actually means squirrel! (And what’s acorn I hear you ask? Why that’s “eikel” – which can also mean jerk/asshole/dickhead!!)
Literally translated as “mirror egg” – this is what you need to order if you want a fried egg – sunny side up!
“Clock house” meaning apple core.
Meaning peanut butter it literally translates as “peanut cheese”.
8. Patatje oorlog
Literally “war fries” (chips in the UK!) this means french fries served with peanut sauce, mayonnaise and finely diced raw onion… Depending on which region of the Netherlands you live in!!
We just learnt that oorlog means war, but oor means ear and log is cumbersome… So cumbersome ear!
“Ear bells” or earrings as we like to call them. Super cute, huh?!
This can mean hairdresser OR tasty Dutch kebab with chips, cheese and salad! Try not to get them confused 😉
Or “oil balls” – a festive dough-based treat, traditionally eaten at New Year. (They’re basically doughnuts… but the Dutchies won’t have it.)
Tand is tooth and you can guess what pasta means… This is the Dutch word for toothpaste! (Thanks to the party poopers who pointed out that pasta can also mean paste!)
Yup, the Dutch word for gloves is “hand shoes” tee hee hee!
Think your Dutch friend has mental issues when they say they’ve got a monster at home? Don’t fret, it means “sample”.
Meaning mother-in-law. (With thanks to Cinder for this prompt!) To top it off, my “clean mother” is called Willy!! True story, bro.
“Bak” has a whole heap of meanings in Dutch, but I’m gonna go with “bin bike” or “fry bike”. It’s actually a traditional Dutch tricycle with a large box for transporting cargo e.g. – children!
If you’re a “lucky guy” you may well get called a “happy bag”!
[Edit: gelukzak can also mean “lucky sack”. Alternatives include: Geluksvogel meaning “lucky bird”.]
That’s a “sick car” man. The cool kids don’t say that here – it’s an ambulance.
Meaning “slap in the face” – the direct translation is “mouth pear”.
The word for toilet seat can be literally interpreted as “toilet glasses”… 😛
Another cute one… granny flat’s literal translation is “kangaroo house”.
I’m (monkey) proud to have learnt this word today! Meaning “ant fucker” – it describes someone who frets and fusses over completely insignificant and minor details. Like “nit picker” I guess.
Sounds like kicker. Means frog. Awesomeness!
Greyhound is literally translated in Dutch as “wind dog”.
“Sea wolf” – meaning catfish! [Edit… Ok, about a million Dutch people told me that catfish is meerval. Mijn excuses!] Damn you, Google translate!!
Known for their logic, the direct Dutch translation for polar bear is “ice bear”. (IJs can also mean ice cream! Even better!)
“Wing mouse” – uh huh, you got it… bat!
My favourite pic of the series! The literal translation for “raccoon” is “wash bear”.
30. You tell me!
So Dutchies / wannabe Dutchies – what else you got for me? 😀 Please feel free to comment below!
Ps – for bonus points, ask a Dutch person to say “crunchy nut” (in English). Kills me every time.
You might also like: 20 More Amusing Dutch Words