Home Dutch News Swaffelen is Dutch word of the year

Swaffelen is Dutch word of the year

Published on December 16, 2008

THE NETHERLANDS – In their annual end-of-year craze for lists and nominations, the Dutch have elected the verb – swaffelen - as the word of the year.

It netted 57 percent of the 16,000 votes on the website hosted by Van Dale Publishers, renowned for its authoritative dictionaries.
The word, swaffelen, is imported from English, and is not generally known.

Swaffelen is something only men can do. Apparently, it means to swing one’s penis, making it bump against something, in order to stimulate either oneself or someone else.
Dutch lexicologist Ton den Boon says that etymologically, swaffelen is thought to be linked to the Dutch equivalents of swing, sway and sweep, and to the German equivalent of tail or penis (schwaf and schweif). There is also a Flemish dialect word known as zwaffelen.
The word gained notoriety through a video posted on YouTube, in which a Dutch student got arrested for swaffling against the Taj Mahal in India.
As voters did not have to justify their choice of nomination in the event organised by Van Dale, De Pers daily newspaper and the Netherlands language society Onze Taal, it remains a mystery why the Dutch chose this word.

The numbers two and three Dutch words of the year are wiiën (playing on a Wii game console) and bankendomino (banks falling over like dominoes). 

[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]