Rude-sounding Dutch words

Bitterballenbruid: 10 rude-sounding Dutch words

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'Kies mijn kant'! These words may elicit giggles and guffaws from English speakers but they have completely different — and very innocent — meanings in Dutch.

You can try saying these words back in your home country – and have a secret giggle at their real meanings – but it probably won't get the same non-response as in the Netherlands. Ja, hoor!

1. Kok

Kok simply means ‘cook’ or ‘chef’. This is also a popular surname in the Netherlands, much like the English surname ‘Cook’.

On a recent thread, Dubble Dutch commented: “And what do you think about the name of our former minister-president Wim Kok. I think he had to explain his last name every time he introduced himself abroad.”

2. Dik 

Dik means ‘fat’ (or thick/heavy/dense etc.). Some people are even (un)lucky enough to be called Dik Kok – or the spelling variation 'Dick Kok'.

3. Fok/Fokken

So many Dutch people have told me this story, it’s almost a Dutch urban legend. If you live in Holland and haven’t heard it yet, where have you been hiding? It goes a little something like this:

When John F. Kennedy met Joseph Luns, the former Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs. Kennedy asked for his hobbies and Luns answered, “I fok horses.” Kennedy, struck with surprise, responded with, “Pardon?” To which Luns replied: “Yes, paarden!”

Fokken means ‘to breed’, and paarden means ‘horses’ in Dutch.

4. Shag

If a Dutch person offers you a shag, don’t get your hopes up – they’re just offering you a 'rollie' or the English slang for a cigarette you roll yourself. Shag means ‘tobacco’. 

5. Kunt/Kant

Sounds like something very rude in English, right? But here's what the Dutch really mean:

  • Je kunt – you can
  • Kunt u? – can you?
  • Ledikant – crib
  • Kies mijn kant – choose my side (and my personal favourite).

6. Slagroom

A room full of slags? Wonderful! Except in Dutch it simply means ‘whipped cream’.

7. Hoegaarden

This word is amusing in a slightly different way. The Dutch have a very Dutch pronunciation of saying the beer hoegaarden. If an English person tries to pronounce it, they’ll most likely say ‘ho-garden’ (ho being slang for prostitute).

8. Willy

My schoonmoeder’s (mother-in-law) name appeals to the juvenile side of my humour. Willy is often used as a short name for Wilhelmina in the Netherlands.

9. Prik

Prikbord rather innocently means ‘pin board’ in Dutch. And if you ask for a drink zonder prik you mean ‘without bubbles’.

10. Hoor

If you spend any amount of time in Holland, you can expect people to call you a whore (to your face): “Ja, hoor!” “Nee, hoor!” “Momentje, hoor!”

But it’s not rude as it literally means ‘hear’ but when paired with ja (yes) it means something like, “Yeah, sure!” to emphasise agreement.

With nee (no) it can mean a number of things depending on the context. Some examples are: “No way,” “No, that’s not right,” or “No, thanks.”

It can also be used to make things sound friendlier. So “Momentje, hoor!” is expressing politeness like, “Wait a moment, please.”

What other rude sounding Dutch words make you giggle like a school child?


Reprinted with permission from Bitterballenbruid.

 Hayley (aka Bitterballenbruid) is 32 and lives in Hilversum, the Netherlands, with her Dutch husband and their cat called Paris (no, she didn’t name her – long story). Her blog Bitterballenbruid is about living in het Gooi, eating too many bitterballen, getting married in Holland, learning how to be Dutch and dealing with the language. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.


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2 Comments To This Article

  • Colette posted:

    on 14th February 2017, 17:51:11 - Reply

    I have to say, that the 'I shoplift' thing made me laugh out loud! I'm totally Dutch, so I never heard it that way obviously, but now that you mention it, yeh I can see how that sounds like it :P It's fabulous!
  • Laszlo posted:

    on 16th March 2016, 01:34:36 - Reply

    Just recently moved to the Netherlands, and I couldn't get my head around what they say at the cashier back and forth. I still sometimes hear they say to each other "I shoplift!" - (alsjeblieft) :-)