Dutch expressions

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? 


2. Luipaard

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


3. Koevoet

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


4. Papegaaiduiker

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


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.


7. Gordeldier

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


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.


13. Pindakaas

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


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!!


16. Stembanden

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


17. Schoonmoeder

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


18. Feestneus

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


19. Buitenbeentje

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


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

30 Amusing Dutch Words

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…

1. Apetrots 

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 😀

2. Boterham

Boterham, courtesy of Laura Frame Illustration

Boterham, courtesy of Laura Frame Illustration

Literally translated as “butter ham” – it actually means sandwich or a slice of bread.

3. Eekhoorntjesbrood

While we’re on the food theme… let’s go with the word for Porcini mushrooms, which literally translates as “little squirrels’ bread”.

4. Eekhoorn

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!!)

5. Spiegelei

Literally translated as “mirror egg” – this is what you need to order if you want a fried egg – sunny side up!

6. Klokhuis

Klokhuis, courtesty of Laura Frame Illustration

Klokhuis, courtesy of Laura Frame Illustration

“Clock house” meaning apple core.

7.  Pindakaas

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!!

9. Oorlog

We just learnt that oorlog means war, but oor means ear and log is cumbersome… So cumbersome ear!

10. Oorbellen

“Ear bells” or earrings as we like to call them. Super cute, huh?!

11. Kapsalon

This can mean hairdresser OR tasty Dutch kebab with chips, cheese and salad! Try not to get them confused 😉

12. Oliebollen

Or “oil balls” – a festive dough-based treat, traditionally eaten at New Year. (They’re basically doughnuts… but the Dutchies won’t have it.)

13. Tandpasta 

Tandpasta, courtesy of Laura Frame Illustration

Tandpasta, courtesy of Laura Frame Illustration

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!)

14. Handschoenen

Yup, the Dutch word for gloves is “hand shoes” tee hee hee!

15. Monster

Think your Dutch friend has mental issues when they say they’ve got a monster at home? Don’t fret,  it means “sample”.

16. Schoonmoeder

Meaning mother-in-law. (With thanks to Cinder for this prompt!) To top it off, my “clean mother” is called Willy!! True story, bro.

17. Bakfiets

“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!

18. Gelukzak

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”.]

19. Ziekenauto

That’s a “sick car” man. The cool kids don’t say that here – it’s an ambulance.

20. Muilpeer

Muilpeer, courtesy of Laura Frame Illustration

Muilpeer, courtesy of Laura Frame Illustration

Meaning “slap in the face” – the direct translation is “mouth pear”.

21. Toiletbril

The word for toilet seat can be literally interpreted as “toilet glasses”… 😛

22. Kangoeroewoning

Another cute one… granny flat’s literal translation is “kangaroo house”.

23. Mierenneuker

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.

24. Kikker

Sounds like kicker. Means frog. Awesomeness!

25. Windhond

Windhond, courtesy of Laura Frame Illustration

Windhond, courtesy of Laura Frame Illustration

Greyhound is literally translated in Dutch as “wind dog”.

26. Zeewolf

“Sea wolf” – meaning catfish! [Edit… Ok, about a million Dutch people told me that catfish is meerval. Mijn excuses!] Damn you, Google translate!!

27. IJsbeer

Known for their logic, the direct Dutch translation for polar bear is “ice bear”. (IJs can also mean ice cream! Even better!)

28. Vleermuis

“Wing mouse” – uh huh, you got it… bat!

29. Wasbeer

Wasbeer, courtesy of Laura Frame Illustration

Wasbeer, courtesy of Laura Frame Illustration

My favourite pic of the series! The literal translation for “raccoon” is “wash bear”.

Massive thanks to Laura Frame for the amazing illustrations! For more Amusing Dutch words, expertly illustrated – head over to Laura’s Facebook page!

30. You tell me! 

So Dutchies / wannabe Dutchies – what else you got for me? 😀 Please feel free to comment below!

Hayley x

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