Here are 7 words that could enrich your Dutch vocabulary although chances are you will not learn them at school, Dutch people use them quite often. Just have a look and see which ones you know already. We will start with some decent ones and if you think you have had enough information, you can always stop reading.
Have you ever heard the Dutch sentence: ik ga nu naar Appie? Maybe you already figured out that it is not about a new app on your phone. Appie refers to a Dutch supermarket Albert Heijn. Ab is a shorter version of Albert and, at the end, Ab sounds more like P. Appie is an informal word for little Albert and people use Appie often when they talk about the supermarket Albert Heijn.
Although there are many different supermarkets, it seems that in some places the presence of Albert Heijn is quite dominant. That is why certainly in Amsterdam you may often hear: even naar Appie (let’s go to Albert Heijn really quick).
2. Tijd voor een bakkie
Have you ever heard of the Dutch word glasbak? It means glass container and een bak is something that you could translate with many different words. Sometimes it is a container, sometimes a bowl or recipient. Een bakfiets is a special bicycle that has a kind of box in front where you can store many things, including your partner, your dog, and children.
Een bak koffie is an informal word for a cup of coffee. For many people, drinking coffee is a special moment. It allows you to have some time for yourself or to have a chat with other people. Many people believe that it is gezellig when you drink coffee, it seems to create a special social and cozy atmosphere.
If you say: tijd voor een bakkie, it simply means time for coffee and it also often suggests that now it is time for a break.
3. Let’s Febo!
If you live in a bigger city, then you probably already know Febo. It is a Dutch snack bar with an impressive ‘wall’ where you can take snacks like kroketten, hamburgers and bamiballen.
Therefore, if you say: ik Febo it simply means that you go to een Febo and that you start to eat their stuff. Feboën is also a verb, it is something that you can do! Imagine that you go to a Dutch friend and he/she cooks something for you, but it is not enough. Then you know what to do: leave the house as soon as you can and then feboën!
Feboën is also an activity that you can suggest later at night when you go out and you feel that a hangover might be coming your way. Then if you eat something unhealthy it often helps to feel better. Even Feboën (let’s have a quick Febo) is something that makes perfect sense in Dutch.
Nest is an easy word because you write and say it the same way as in English. It is a place that birds build, where they can lay eggs and they often turn it into their home.
Nest in Dutch also means bed. It can be a great place and some people can spend hours and hours there. If you say: ik lig lekker in mijn nest (I lay nicely in my nest) it means that you like to be in your bed. Although nest is another word for bed, nest has an extra connotation. It often suggests that the person that is in there is quite lazy and has no intention of getting up soon.
By the way, we have covered 4 unofficial words already and the next 3 will be ‘less decent’. If you do not like filthy stuff, then stop reading here (but you may not enrich your Dutch vocabulary if you do)!
5. Let’s play on the plee!
Plee sounds like play in English, but in Dutch has a meaning that is less ‘fresh’ let’s say. It is a more vulgar word for toilet. Normally it is not a word that Dutch people would use if they don’t know you and it is certainly not a word that you would use at the office. But, if you have Dutch friends or family, then there is a big chance that you have heard it. It is a word that is highly informal and is also considered ‘rude’.
Just like in English, there are many words for that certain place. Plee is the most vulgar one and then follows W.C. (you pronounce it like Way Say) and the most gentle word is toilet. This last word is a French word, so now it sounds extra chique and that is why Dutch people pronounce it more the French way. It almost sounds like real French, but the T at the end sounds far stronger than in French.
Zeiken is something that you can do on the toilet, it means that you release some liquid. But, you may have guessed it already, in Holland people do it all the time, also in offices, unfortunately.
Zeiken has more meanings and they are all negative of course. It means that you nag or complain about irrelevant and petty things and it seems to be the hobby of many people. Zeiken has a draining energy and if you have to listen to it for a longer time, it will make you feel completely exhausted!
Een zeikerd is a person that always has some lame and negative things to say and that is never satisfied. If you work with colleagues or clients that you don’t like, then in your mind at least, you will often see that as zeikerds.
Sometimes you also hear: het zeikt and then it refers to the weather. You can already guess what it means, right? It does not mean that the sun is shining. When you say: het zeikt, then you have that nasty annoying rain that can ruin your whole day!
7. Ik kak in!
If you know Spanish, then you can see that kak has to do with caca, and in Dutch it means shitty shit. It is easy to predict that it must be negative when you say: ik kak in, but it is not something that you might expect. It often happens directly after the lunch break when you sit behind your desk again. You can feel your energy dropping and pure apathy and lethargy are taking over.
It could also happen somewhere in the afternoon when all of a sudden you notice a significant drop in motivation and energy. All of a sudden it feels that there is nothing that you can do, and you feel completely depleted and unmotivated.
Sometimes it can also mean that somehow you start to lose alertness and focus. It could happen when you do the same job over and over again and you start to become sloppy and complacent about it. If you say: ik kak in, it is never a good thing!
So these are some 7 great words that can enrich your Dutch vocabulary. Although you might not use them immediately, it is always good to recognize them at least. Certainly, the last words are not words that people will officially teach you, but once you start to observe your Dutch surroundings, you may observe them far more often than that you would expect. But now there is one big difference. Finally, you realize what people really say in Dutch!
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