20 More Amusing Dutch Words

About 6 months ago, I wrote a post entitled 30 Amusing Dutch Words. It was shared, A LOT, so I guess you were mildly interested in it.

Laura Frame, my partner in crime for that post, has come up with some more cute illustrations of Dutch words. It would therefore be a shame not to share some more!!

This post shows you why it’s a bad idea to directly translate Dutch words into English…

1. Eekhoorntjesbrood

Eekhoorntjesbrood – literally translated as ‘little squirrel’s bread’ it actually means porcini mushrooms. Leuk, hè? 

Eekhoorntjesbrood

2. Luipaard

Means leopard, but is literally translated as ‘lazy horse’.

Luipaard

3. Koevoet

This is the word for a crow bar, but the literal translation is ‘cow foot’. Tskkkkk.

Koevoet

4. Papegaaiduiker

Yuh huh, you got it – ‘parrot diver’. It actually means puffin.

Papegaaiduiker

5. Tuinslang

Continuing the animal theme… we have ‘garden snake’ – which is actually just a garden hose.

Garden snake

6. Brandslang

And for real emergencies… a ‘fire snake’!! Ok, ok… it’s really just a fire hose.

Brandslang

7. Gordeldier

Gordeldier means armadillo, but the literal translation is ‘belt animal’ 😀

Gordeldier

8. IJsbeer

The direct Dutch translation for polar bear is ‘ice bear’. (IJs can also mean ice cream! Even better!)

IJsbeer (polar bear)

9. Paardenbloem

Crossing animal/flower genres, we have the ‘horse flower’. Which is actually a dandelion.

Paardenbloem (dandelion)

10. Madelief

Literally meaning ‘loveable maggot’ – madelief is the word for a daisy.

Madelief (daisy)

11. Vingerhoedskruid

A foxglove is literally translated as ‘finger hat herb’. (Also an ideal candidate for a funny English word illustration!!)

Vingerhoedskruid (foxglove)

12. Bloemlezing

‘Flower reading’ is the way you say anthology in Dutch.

Bloemlezing

13. Pindakaas

Literally meaning ‘peanut cheese’, pinkakaas is the word for peanut butter.

Pindakaas

14. Toiletbril

Where did I put my toilet glasses??? ‘Toiletbril’ means toilet seat!

Toiletbril (toilet seat)

15. Stofzuiger

‘Dust sucker’! Thankfully it means vacuum cleaner!!

Stofzuiger

16. Stembanden

Stembanden, meaning vocal chords. The literal translation is ‘voice tyres’.

Stembanden

17. Schoonmoeder

Definitely one of my person favourites!! Mother-in-law is literally translated as ‘clean mother’. Schoon can also mean beautiful.

Schoonmoeder

18. Feestneus

Are you a ‘party nose’? You might be better known as a party animal.

Feestneus

19. Buitenbeentje

A misfit or ‘being an outsider’ is literally translated from Dutch to English as a ‘ little outside leg’.

Buitenbeentje

20. Brandweer 

“Quick, call the fire weather!” Brandweer is the word for fire brigade…

Brandweer (fire brigade)

(In this instance, weer comes from weren which means to avert. So ‘Brandweer’ means fire defence or fire aversion. And yes, that’s a map of Belgium – the illustrator has ties with Belgium.)

If you have any more suggestions of amusing Dutch words for Laura to illustrate – please comment below! And if you want to give Laura some love (and congratulate her on her awesome drawings) here’s her Facebook Page.

So, what have been your biggest fails so far whilst learning Dutch? (Or any language?) Ondernemer was a personal highlight of mine – I thought it meant undertaker, but it’s actually entrepreneur!! Plus “Ik heb mijn benen uit.” Totally normal to say that in English, but in Dutch it would insinuate that I have prosthetic limbs. Oops!

Hayley x

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33 comments

  1. Of course, calling a horseflower a dandelion (‘lion’s tooth’) is perfectly normal and okay. 😉

    The etymology of ‘Madeliefje’ has nothing to do with maggots. It might come from ‘maden’ (mowed meadows) or ‘Maagde’, refering to the Virgin Mary. There is also apperently a really old Dutch word ‘mate’, which just means small.

    http://www.etymologiebank.nl/trefwoord/madeliefje

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    1. There are more far-fetched ones. Like ‘brandweer’. Brand obviously means fire, but ‘weer’ comes from ‘weren’ which means ‘to avert’.

      The same for ‘stembanden’. OP uses ‘tires’ as a translation for ‘banden’, but it could also be ‘bands’ which Google defines as: “a flat, thin strip or loop of material put around something.” Which isn’t so weird when you look at them.

      And ‘slang’ is just a translation for ‘hose’. It doesn’t necessarily mean ‘snake’.

      Still: Nice drawings.

      Like

  2. Over 25 years ago, during a vacation in England, I went to get loose tobacco. In Dutch you would ask for “een pakje shag” so that was what I asked for…a package of shag. Back then I didn’t really understood why everybody laughed at me. Now I do 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Our phone was making a very strange noise. When my husband’s friend called, he asked what the noise was. I answered, “Ik weet het niet, maar het komt van mijn kont.” I meant to say KANT, not kont. What I meant to say was, “I don’t know, but it’s coming from my side.” What I ACTUALLY said was, “I don’t know, but it’s coming from my ass.”

    Liked by 3 people

  4. My two favorite words are “meisje” (maybe because it sounds a little like “messy”? not sure) and–always and forever–aardbeien.

    I just love saying it! Aardbeien, aardbeien, aardbeien! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Always funny these lists… One thing I don’t think madelief is actually a combination of ‘made’ and ‘Lief’but rather a single word with no additional meaning (at least in my life I have never, ever heard this explanation for the wprd). Madelief is an acceptable girls name too.

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    1. When peanutbutter was introduced in The Netherlands, “butter” was a protected name to distinguish real butter from margarine. Since they had to call it something, it was called peanutcheese, after liver cheese (also something to put on bread, but doesn’t contain any cheese).

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      1. Interesting! But then why is Nutella and the like called chocoladepasta? Why not call peanut butter pindapasta? Or even pindamoes? It seems like there are plenty of other Dutch words for purees and spreads that fit better than cheese!

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  6. And you yourself don’t think some of the English translations are funny by themselves? I mean ‘crow bar’ translates to ‘kraaien staaf’ and foxgloves translates to ‘vossen handschoenen’

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    1. Of course they do! Every single language has words that are funny when you break them down. Feel free to do on one English. I would love to read it! First entry: pony tail. 😀

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  7. Enjoying your post (and Laura’s drawings) as always!
    Possible addition: kunstof (plastic) — is it derived from kunst (art) and stof (substance)?

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    1. Kunst means; artificial as in not real. It also means art. Stof does mean material. It can also mean stuff, stuff to think about, or dust, stoffer en blik, or dust as in dust sucker(stofzuiger) a vacuum cleaner…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Has it never occurred to any of you expats, that the last 3 letters on British number plates quite often offend the unassuming dutchie’s mother?

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  9. Please please please make an illustration of “knorrig”! God, I had so much fun when I learnt this one (actually I still do)!

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  10. Translating dutch, I once tried to explain that there needs to be a “stut” under the bed. It sounds quite English. Support would have been a better translation.

    Like

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