Learning a new language can be hard, frustrating even, but it can also be fun – especially when you start to translate some funny Dutch words. You just have to know where to look and how to make it amusing.
Luckily for me, in Dutch you don’t have to look too far to find funny Dutch words and weird-sounding phrases, particularly when literally translated into English. Here are some funny Dutch words and phrases I’ve learned so far.
My first Dutch ‘whatttt?’ moment was watching a film with subtitles when the screen flashed up ‘Ik ben apetrots op je’ literally meaning ‘I am monkey proud of 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’ but it actually means squirrel. And what’s acorn I hear you ask? Why that’s ‘eikel’ – which can also mean jerk, and worse.
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 but it literally translates as ‘peanut cheese’.
8. Patatje oorlog
While it literally translates into ‘war fries’ (chips in the UK), it 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.
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’.
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. To top it off, my ‘clean mother’ is named 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, including children.
If you’re a ‘lucky guy’ you may well get called a ‘happy bag’! 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 the word for 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 learned this word today. 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. [Ok, about a million Dutch people told me that catfish is meerval. Mijn excuses!]
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.
The literal translation for ‘raccoon’ is ‘wash bear’.
30. You tell me!
So what else have you got for me? Please feel free to comment below. For bonus points, ask a Dutch person to say ‘crunchy nut’ (in English). Kills me every time.