Expressions

The 10 Most Relatable Dutch Expressions, And How To Use Them

1. Bakje troost (Little Cup of Comfort)

Because we all know we need that first cup of coffee in the morning to get us through the day, we don’t just say a cup of coffee, we call it a “little cup of comfort”.

“Doe mij maar een bakkie troost”

 

2. Kiplekker (Chickenyummy)

Do you ever wake up and just feel great? Us Dutch people don’t feel great, we feel “Lekker” (‘Yummy’ or “Delicious”), but when we feel really really good, we feel “kiplekker”, which translates to “chickendelicious” or “chickenyummy”.

“Ik voel me kiplekker vandaag”

 

If you want to know more about how to use the word “lekker”
click here check out “The Infinity of Lekker”

 

3. Ver-van-mijn-bed-show (Far-from-my-bed-show)

When something happens far from your world (literally of figuratively) we call it a “far-from-my-bed-show” or to put it differently,  a show that happens far away from your bed, outside of your little bubble.

4. Slok op een borrel (A gulp on a shot)

“Slok op een borrel” basically means it makes a lot of difference (often when talking about smaller things). The logic is probably that a gulp is not that much, but when it´s a gulp on a shot it is pretty much all there is, so a little gulp can still make a big difference.

Like when you get a big discount on something (and we all know how Dutch people like to be thrifty).

It is not only used for prices of things though, and can be loosely translated as just making a big difference.

“80% korting? Dat scheelt een slok op een borrel”

5. Maak dat de kat wijs (Make that the cat wise/ Try to make the cat believe it)

This is one of the most classic untranslatable expressions in Dutch. So much so that there is now a Facebook page with this name that posts funny literal Dutch translations.

The expression is used when people tell you something that isn’t very credible. The verb “wijsmaken” is to make someone believe something, so when someone tells you something ludicrous you tell them you aren’t believing any of it, and they can go to the cat and make them believe it.

“Heb jij ‘s morgens geen bakkie troost nodig? Maak dat de kat wijs!” 

 

6. Restanten van een losbandig leven (Remains of a loose life)

This one is not used that often but it is one of my personal favorites. “Resten van een losbandig leven” (remains of a licentious or wild life), like when you wake up the morning after your house party and see all the empty booze bottles laying on the floor.

But of course, as this is still a Dutch expression, it is mostly used ironically, so when you enter someone’s room and see empty cups of coffee because they have been working 24/7, you could comment on the remains of their wild and licentious life.

“Waarom liggen er allemaal lege Ben & Jerry verpakkingen op de vloer?”

“Sorry, dat zijn de resten van een losbandig leven” 

Restanten van een losbandig leven

 

7. Gebed zonder end (An endless prayer)

When something is expected to be a lot of trouble and work, we call it an “endless prayer”. It is often said when something is not even worth trying, or when something just doesn’t seem to have an end.

“President You-Know-Who is ook een gebed zonder end”

 

 

8. Mierenneuker (Ant fucker)

A nitpicker. People who make an elephant out of a mosquito (van een mug een olifant maken, translation: to make a mountain out of a molehill) will be referred to as a “Mierenneukers” or “Ant fuckers”, because they seem to care deeply about small things (which I guess means that is why they would want to have sexual intercourse with insects).

It can also be used as a verb (Mierenneuken).

“Je gaat nu toch niet lopen mierenneuken?”

 

9. Voor hetere vuren hebben gestaan (To have faced hotter fires)

Many Dutch expressions are meant to put your situation into perspective. This one is a classic example of that.

When you tell people you have faced hotter fires that means that you have coped with worse situations. I think this expression goes to the core of our Dutch Calvinistic spirit, which is “things may be bad, but they would always be worse”.

“Moet ik je even helpen?”
“Nee joh, ik heb wel voor hetere vuren gestaan.” 

 

10. Apenstaartje (Little Monkey Tail – @)

And last but not least, because of self-explanatory reasons we call the @ sign a ‘monkey’s tail´.

What has been seen can never be unseen.

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