Dutch profanity

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Dutch profanity can be divided into several categories. Often, the words used in profanity by speakers of Dutch are based around various names for diseases. In many cases, these words have evolved into slang, and many euphemisms for diseases are in common use.[1]

Additionally, a substantial number of curse words in the Dutch language are references to sexual acts, genitalia, or bodily functions. Religious curse words also make up a considerable part of the Dutch profanity vocabulary. Aside from these categories, the Dutch language has many words that are only used for animals; these words are insulting when applied to people. English terms often complement the Dutch vocabulary, and several English curse words are commonly in use.

Because of the prominence of the diminutive in the Dutch language, most nouns used in Dutch profanity can also be said or written in their diminutive forms.

Profanity related to illness and disability[edit]

achterlijk Achterlijk (literally: "retarded") is an offensive term for the mentally handicapped. A humorous variation, "achterlijke gladiool" (literally: "retarded gladiolus"), was first lexicalized in 1984.[2]
debiel Debiel is an offensive term for the mentally handicapped. It is commonly used as an insult.
idioot Idioot means "idiot".
kanker Kanker means "cancer". It can be used as a strong expletive, as an adjective or as an adverb. Krijg de kanker ("get the cancer") is used as an insult. In slang, it can also have a positive meaning. For example, kankerlekker can mean "extremely good tasting" or even "very attractive". Even when used this way in its positive meaning, the word can still be considered offensive. "Kanker" can be paired with nearly any insult to intensify it. The word is sometimes shortened to its historical euphemism K.[3]
kankeren Kankeren (literally: "to cancer") is a verb, and means "to complain excessively".
kankerlijer Kankerlijer means "cancer sufferer". It is a strong insult: an example of its legal status can be found in a 2008 court case, in which using the word kankerlijer to insult a police officer was cited as a serious offense.[4]
kk kk is an acronym which can mean either kanker (literally: "cancer") or kankerkut (literally: "cancer cunt").
klere Klere is a slang word for cholera. It can be used as an expletive, as an adjective or as an adverb. Kolere is a common variation.
klerelijer Klerelijer is a slang word meaning "cholera sufferer". It is used an as insult, and roughly analogous to "asshole".
kolere Kolere is a slang word for cholera. It can be used as an expletive, as an adjective or as an adverb. Klere is a common variation.
krijg de... To wish a disease upon someone, the words krijg de... ("catch the...", "get the...", "contract the...") are typically used. Examples include krijg de tering, krijg de tyfus, krijg de kanker, krijg de pest, krijg de takke, krijg de klere, krijg het lazarus and the more euphemistic (but more old-fashioned) krijg de ziekte. In standard Dutch, the article is superfluous or incorrect in these phrases, and consequently "de" and "het" are only paired with disease names in context of profanity.
lazarus Lazarus is a euphemism for leprosy. Krijg het lazarus ("catch the leprosy") is uncommonly used as an insult.[5] More common is the expression "zich het lazarus zuipen" ("to excessively drink oneself [into] leprosy"). Consequently, the expression "he or she is lazarus" has come to mean "he or she is drunk".
mongool Mongool ("mongoloid") is a common insult, referring to Down syndrome. Its diminutive mongooltje is often used as a somewhat more neutral or affectionate term for people with Down syndrome, although it is not considered politically correct. Kankermongool ("cancer-mongoloid") is a common variation: see kanker.
lijer Lijer (literally: "sufferer") is a noun and suffix. It is correctly spelled "lijder", but the "d" becomes silent in slang. It is used both as a standalone insult and in combination with diseases, such as kankerlijer, pleurislijer, pokke(n)lijer, takkelijer, teringlijer and tyfuslijer.
pest Pest (literally: "plague", compare "pestilence") can be used as an adjective or as an adverb. The verb pesten means "to bully" (whereas the etymologically related "plagen" means "to tease"). "De pest in hebben" ("to have the plague in") means "to be irritated". The word is sometimes shortened to its historical euphemism P.
pestkop Literally meaning "plague head", a pestkop is someone who engages in bullying. See pest and kop.
pleur(it)is Pleuris, or less commonly pleuritis, is a slang word for tuberculosis (compare tering), originally referring to any form of lung infection. It can be used as an expletive, as an adjective or as an adverb. Krijg de pleuris ("catch the tuberculosis") is also commonly used. As with tering, the phrase "alles ging naar de pleuris" ("everything went to the tuberculosis", analogous to "everything went to hell") is commonly used. As a verb, the word oppleuren (literally "to tuberculosis off") can mean "to fuck off" (compare optiefen under tyfus).
pleurislijer Pleurislijer is a slang word meaning "tuberculosis sufferer". It is used an as insult, and roughly analogous to "asshole".
polio Polio is uncommon as a curse word, and is mostly heard in the phrase "heb je soms polio?" ("do you have polio or something?"), which can be used to insult someone's perceived laziness. The Genootschap Onze Taal (Dutch Language Society) has recently noted a rise in the use of polio as an expletive and adjective in the Rotterdam area, and describes it as a possible alternative to the more severe kanker.[6]
pokke(n) Pokke(n) (correctly spelled "pokken") is a slang word for smallpox. It can be used as an adjective or as an adverb.
pokke(n)lijer Pokke(n)lijer is a slang word meaning "smallpox sufferer". It is used an as insult, and roughly analogous to "asshole".
stom Stom (literally: "unintelligent", "dumb", "mute") can be used an intensifier when using curse words. Examples are "stomme hoer" ("dumb whore") and "stomme kut" ("dumb cunt").
takke Takke (from the French "attaque") is a slang word for stroke.[7] It can be used an adjective or as an adverb. Krijg de takke ("have the stroke") is used as an insult. A common variation is takkewijf ("stroke woman"): see also wijf.
tering Tering is a slang word for tuberculosis. It is short voor "vertering" (literally: "digestion"; compare English "consumption"). It can be used as an expletive, as an adjective or as an adverb. Vliegende tering ("flying tuberculosis") is a humorous variation, originally referring to sudden-onset tuberculosis. Krijg de tering ("catch the tuberculosis") is used as an insult. Other words for tuberculosis include TB and TBC, which were historically used as euphemisms, owing to the fact that names of diseases were considered profane.[8][9] As with pleuris, the phrase "alles ging naar de tering" ("everything went to the tuberculosis", analogous to "everything went to hell") is commonly used.
teringlijer Teringlijer is a slang word meaning "tuberculosis sufferer". It is used an as insult, and roughly analogous to "asshole".
tyfus Tyfus is a word for typhoid fever. It can be used as an expletive, as an adjective or as an adverb. Krijg de tyfus ("catch the typhoid fever") is used as an insult. The variation optiefen ("to typhoid off") is analogous to "fuck off" (compare oppleuren under pleuris). Sanders and Tempelaars (1998) note tiefttering ("typhoid tuberculosis") as a variation common in Rotterdam.[10]
tyfuslijer Tyfuslijer is a slang word meaning "typhoid fever sufferer". It is used an as insult, and roughly analogous to "asshole".
vinkentering Vinkentering (literally: "finch tuberculosis") is noted by Sanders and Tempelaars (1998) as an expression that is typical in the Rotterdam vocabulary. A noted humorous variation is krijg de (vliegende) vinkentering ("catch the (flying) finch tuberculosis").[11] See also tering.
ziekte Ziekte (literally: "sickness", "illness" or "disease") is used in the expression krijg de ziekte ("catch the disease"). It is a euphemism that can be used for various afflictions. Older variations include "drinken als de ziekte" ("drinking like the disease") and "lui als de ziekte" ("as lazy as the disease").

Profanity related to religion[edit]

gatverdamme A softened version of godverdomme, gatverdamme is used to express disgust. It is often shortened to gatver.
getverderrie A softened version of godverdomme, getverderrie is used to express disgust. It is often shortened to getver.
Godverdomme Literally meaning "God damn it", godverdomme is a shortened version of the subjunctive phrase "God verdoeme het" ("may God damn it"). Verdomme ("damn") is a common variation. Religious people usually consider it extremely offensive, yet its one of the most commonly used curses.
hel Hel ("hell") is not typically used in Dutch profanity. The word can be seen in some expressions, including "loop naar de hel" (literally: "walk to hell", analogous to "go to hell") and the archaic helleveeg ("evil woman from hell").
Jezus Christus Jezus Christus ("Jesus Christ") is, like godverdomme, although it is slightly less offensive. Often just Jezus, or in the form of minced oaths: tjezus, jeetje, jesses, jasses etc.
verdomme Literally meaning "Damn it", godverdomme is a shortened version of "God verdoeme het" ("may God damn it"). Verdomme ("damn") is a common variation.
verdorie Verdorie is a softer variation of verdomme.

Profanity related to sexuality, the human body, and animals[edit]

bek Bek ("animal mouth") is most commonly used in the phrase "houd je bek" ("shut your mouth"). Compare kop and muil.
bitch Bitch is an English loan word. Its Dutch equivalent is teef.
chips Chips is a softer version of shit, an English loan word.
eikel Eikel (literally: "acorn") is a neutral word for male glans (originally a Latin word also meaning "acorn"). As an insult, it is comparable to the English word "dickhead" when applied to a person.
flikker Flikker is analogous to faggot.
fok Fok (literally: the first person singular of "to breed") is used as a variation of the English loan word fuck. It is also in use in the Afrikaans language. The Dutch news site and virtual community FOK! uses this word as its name.
fuck An English loan word, fuck is a common expletive. Its adjective "fucking" is also commonly in use. The word is productive in Dutch: a standard variation is "fucken met" ("to fuck with").
hoer Hoer is the Dutch word for whore.
huppelkut Huppelkut (literally: "skipping cunt") can be used to insult a woman's perceived shallowness. The word was first used by comedian Youp van 't Hek.[12] The diminutive form huppelkutje is most commonly in use. It can be seen as a comedic variation of the noun kut.
kak Kak means "crap". Although it is no longer commonly used in profanity, it is still used as a social slur (see kakker).
kattenkop Kattenkop (literally: "cat's head") is a mild insult commonly aimed at young girls, and referring to mean or crass character. Compare kop. The related adjective and adverb kattig is equivalent to the English "catty".
klootzak Klootzak (literally: "ball sack") is the scrotum, and is a common insult. It is comparable to the English word "asshole" when applied to a person. See also zak.
klote Klote (correctly spelled "kloten"; however, the "n" after a schwa is silent in standard Dutch, which affects the spelling of slang words) a word for the testicles. It can be used as an expletive, as an adjective, or as an adverb. Several common expressions use the word klote, such as "ik voel me klote" ("I feel balls" – "I don't feel good"), "het examen ging klote" ("the exam went balls" – "the exam went badly") and "het weer is klote" ("the weather is balls" – "the weather is bad"). Compare kut.
kop Kop ("animal head") is most commonly used in the phrase "houd je kop" ("shut your mouth"). Compare bek and muil.
kreng Kreng (literally: "cadaver") is a common insult aimed at women, and denotes mean or crass character.
kut Kut is a word for the vagina. It is commonly used as a curse word. It can be used as an expletive, as an adjective or as an adverb. Several common expressions use the word kut, such as "ik voel me kut" ("I feel cunt" – "I don't feel good"), "het examen ging kut" ("the exam went cunt" – "the exam went badly") and "het weer is kut" ("the weather is cunt" – "the weather is bad"). Compare klote. Its common idiomatic use in the phrase "wat kut voor je" ("how cunt for you") expresses roughly the same sentiment as the English "I'm sorry to hear that", albeit in a somewhat profane way. When used as a noun to refer to a woman, the meaning of kut is analogous to the American English severity of the word cunt. (Huppelkut is a common comedic variation of this use.)
lul Lul a word for the penis. It is used as an insult, and is roughly analogous to the English "dick" when applied to a person.
lullen Lullen (literally: "to dick") is a verb, meaning "to talk pointlessly". It is somewhat analogous to the English phrase "to dick around". Compare ouwehoeren.
matennaaier A matennaaier (literally: "a buddy fucker") is somebody who has screwed over one or more of his friends. In other words, a Judas.
mierenneuken Mierenneuken (literally: "ant fucking") is analogous to "nitpicking". It is considered less offensive than the standalone word neuken.
muil Muil ("large animal mouth") is most commonly used in the phrase "houd je muil" ("shut your mouth"). Compare bek and kop.
muts Muts literally means cap, but is slang for vagina. It is a relatively mild insult to women.
neuken Neuken literally means "to fuck". It can be used neutrally, as an intimate or romantic term, or as a form of profanity.
neukertje Neukertje is a diminutive noun derived from the word neuken ("to fuck"). Can refer to a person that the speaker is sexually involved with. It can be either used as a term of affection, or as an insult, depending on context.
nicht Nicht (literally: "female cousin" or "niece") can be used to mean "queer" (noun) or "fairy", in reference to a homosexual man. It is commonly used within the LGBT community as a term of endearment or self-description. Its adjective and adverb are nichterig.
ouwehoeren Ouwehoeren (literally: "to old whore") is a verb, meaning "to talk pointlessly". See also hoer, compare lullen.
peniskop Peniskop means "penishead". It is somewhat more offensive than the word "eikel".
pissig Pissig (literally: "pissy") can mean "pissed off", "angry".
poep Poep means "poop". Its diminutive poepje (or poepie) is used as a term of endearment comparable to "sweetie", and is not considered profane. In Flemish, a language mutually intelligible with Dutch, the verb poepen instead means "to fuck". In Afrikaans, poep is a common term used for "fart". The noun poep is the Flemish term for "buttocks".
poes Poes (literally: "puss", "cat") is a word for the vagina. Its diminutive poesje ("pussy") is also used.
poot Poot ("animal leg/foot") is a crude word that can be used to refer to someone's legs or feet in a rude way. It can also mean "homosexual man".
pot Pot can mean "homosexual woman". It is somewhat more reappropriated than poot, and consequently analogous to dyke.
teef Teef means "bitch". Like in English, the word can either be a neutral term for a female dog, or a strong insult aimed at women.
trut Trut is a common insult aimed at women. It was originally a slang word for vagina.[13] It is significantly milder than kut.
tut Tut is a common mild insult aimed at women. It is a softer form of trut. Its diminutive tutje is also common, as is the variation tuthola.
reet Reet (literally: "gash", "tear") is a word for the intergluteal cleft. It is used in a number of common expressions, such as "ik vind er geen reet aan" ("it does not interest me at all", literally: "I find no asscrack on it"), "het interessert me geen reet" ("it does not interest me one bit", literally: "it interests me no asscrack"), "steek het maar in je reet" ("stick it up your arse") and "ik snap er geen reet van" ("I don't understand it one bit", literally: "I understand no asscrack of it"). Compare zak.
rot- The particle rot- can be used as an adjective when combined with a noun, and is commonly used in words such as "rothond" ("rotten dog"), "rotjoch" ("rotten kid") and "rotweer" ("rotten weather").
rotzak Literally meaning "rotten sack" or "rotten testicles", rotzak can be used as an insult, roughly analogous to "asshole". Compare zak, klootzak.
schijt Schijt means "shit". It is not used as an exclamation, but can be used as part of some common expressions: for example, schijtluis (literally: "shit louse") means "coward". See also stront.
shit Shit is an English loan word and a common expletive. It is sometimes softened to chips (pronounced ships).
slet Slet (literally: "rag") is the Dutch word for slut. The diminutive sletje is also commonly in use.
slons Slons (literally: "rag") is a Dutch word comparable to slut, and can also apply to a woman whose appearance is untidy. Its adjective "slonzig" additionally corresponds to the English word "sluttish" and the German word "schlampig" in its double meaning of "sexually promiscuous" and "negligent".
stoephoer Stoephoer (literally: "sidewalk whore") can be used as an insult to women.
stront Stront means "shit". It is not used as an exclamation, but can be used an adjective (for example, "strontjoch", which translates to "shit kid"), or as a part of fixed expressions such as "zak in de stront" ("sink into shit"). Unlike "shit", the word can also be used neutrally. See also schijt.
zak Zak (literally: "sack") is a word for the scrotum, and is a common insult. It is comparable to the English word "jerk" when used applied to a person. Additionally, it is used in a number of common expressions, such as "ik vind er geen zak aan" ("it does not interest me at all", literally: "I find no sack on it"), "het interessert me geen zak" ("it does not interest me one bit", literally: "it interests me no sack") and "ik snap er geen zak van" ("I don't understand it one bit", literally: "I understand no sack of it"). Compare reet.

Profanity related to ethnic slurs and social slurs[edit]

aap Aap (literally: "ape" or "monkey") is an ethnic slur, for people of African or Indonesian descent.
bosneger Bosneger (literally: "forest negro") was originally a neutral anthropological term for Maroons from the Surinam hinterland; today it is considered rather derogatory.
geitenneuker Geitenneuker (literally: "goat fucker") is an ethnic slur applying to Muslims or people of Middle Eastern descent. It was coined by filmmaker and author Theo van Gogh. See also neuken.
kaaskop Kaaskop (literally: "cheese head") a word for Caucasian Dutch people.
kakker Kakker (literally: "crapper") is social slur, referring to people of higher social standing than the speaker, comparable to British posh. It was derived from "kouwe kak" (literally: "cold crap"), which can be used to mock someone's wealth or upper-class mannerisms. See also kak.
lijp Lijp originated as a slur for Jewish people, being based on the surname Levi.[14] Later on, it came to mean "slow", "dumb", "sluggish". More recently, the word has also come to mean "cool", "interesting" in youth slang.
Mocro Mocro is an ethnic slur and is used for people of Moroccan descent. It has largely been reappropriated.
mof Mof is an ethnic slur used for people of German descent, comparable to kraut. It was first noted in 1574.[15] During World War II, the word became more common. In the northern parts of the Netherlands, the word poep is used instead. A variation is moffenhoer, referring to a woman who was sexually or romantically involved with a proponent of National Socialism (see also hoer).
nikker Nikker is analogous to nigger. While in the Dutch language, neger is the neutral term for a black person, analogous to negro, nikker is an offensive slur towards black people. Unlike neger, nikker has never been reappropriated.
pauper Pauper is a social slur, referring to people of low social standing. Although it is no longer in common use, the word is popular in Leiden student slang as a noun and as an adverb or adjective, and can be used to mean "trashy, gaudy".
pinda Pinda (meaning "peanut") is an ethnic slur used against people of Indonesian descent.
rapalje / rapaille Rapalje / rapaille (originally French) is a pejorative term for lower classes. It is no longer commonly in use.
roetmop Roetmop (literally: "soot mop") is an ethnic slur for black people.
spaghettivreter Spaghettivreter (literally: "spaghetti eater", using the crude word for "eater") is an insulting term for people of Italian descent. It can be compared to wop.
spleetoog Spleetoog (literally: "slit eye") is an insulting term for people of Asian, mostly Chinese and Indonesian descent.
tatta Tatta was originally a neutral term used by Antilleans and Surinamese people for the Dutch; today it is considered rather derogatory.
zandneger Zandneger (literally: "sand negro") is an ethnic slur for people of Middle Eastern descent.
zeik Zeik (literally: "piss") is a social slur, referring to people of higher social standing than the speaker. See also kakker and kak.

Miscellaneous profanity[edit]

NSB'er NSB'er refers to the National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands (the Dutch WWII era Nazi party). It is generally used for someone who betrays someone's actions to authorities.
oelewapper Oelewapper is a rather mild insult for someone who behaves strangely or unintelligently. It is rarely used today.
smeerlap Smeerlap (literally: "grease rag") can be used to mean "pervert".
sukkel Sukkel is a relatively mild insult, typically aimed at boys and men. The meaning of this word can be compared to "wimp", "dork", or "schlemiel". It was originally Frisian.
sul Sul is a relatively mild insult, typically aimed at boys and men. The meaning of this word can be compared to "wimp", "dork", or "schlemiel". Its etymology is unclear.
vreten Vreten is a rude and animal form of the verb "to eat". It is often used in combination with other words, such as in spaghettivreter.
vuil Vuil means "filth" or "filthy". It can be used to intensify an insult, for example in the common expression "vuile tyfushoer" ("filthy typhoid whore"). "Stuk vuil" ("piece of filth") is also in use, although it is less common.
wijf Wijf is a common insult aimed at women. It originally simply meant "woman" (compare English "wife"). It can easily be combined with other curse words, leading to common forms such as kutwijf, kankerwijf and rotwijf, but also viswijf (wife of the fisherman, fishwife). The first three resembling the use of bitch in the English language, the latter referring to an uncivilized and excessively loud woman. This is because in order to sell the fish it was, and sometimes still is, loudly praised by the person selling it on the fish market.
zooi Zooi and its diminutive zooitje mean "mess". It can be used to intensify an expletive, for example in the common expressions teringzooi and kankerzooi. The variation rotzooi(tje) (literally: "rotten mess"), however, is fairly neutral and not commonly seen as profanity. Sanders and Tempelaars (1998) additionally note the use of krijg de kankerzooi ("get the cancer-mess").[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mieke van Baarsel (2003). "De tragiek van de tering". KennisLink. University of Leiden, Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum (LUMC). Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Laps, Kristiaan (1984). Nationaal Scheldwoordenboek: Schelden van Schelde tot Terschelling. Amsterdam: Ploegsma. 
  3. ^ Sanders, Ewoud; Rob Tempelaars (1998). Krijg de vinkentering! 1001 hedendaagse Vlaamse en Nederlandse verwensingen. Amsterdam: Contact. 
  4. ^ (Rechtbank Zutphen 2008). Text
  5. ^ Sanders, Ewoud; Rob Tempelaars (1998). Krijg de vinkentering! 1001 hedendaagse Vlaamse en Nederlandse verwensingen. Amsterdam: Contact. 
  6. ^ "Schelden en vloeken". Taaladviesdienst Onze Taal (Language Advice Service of the Dutch Language Society). March 20, 2008. Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  7. ^ Sanders, Ewoud; Rob Tempelaars (1998). Krijg de vinkentering! 1001 hedendaagse Vlaamse en Nederlandse verwensingen. Amsterdam: Contact. 
  8. ^ Sanders, Ewoud; Rob Tempelaars (1998). Krijg de vinkentering! 1001 hedendaagse Vlaamse en Nederlandse verwensingen. Amsterdam: Contact. 
  9. ^ Mieke van Baarsel (2003). "De tragiek van de tering". KennisLink. University of Leiden, Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum (LUMC). Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  10. ^ Sanders, Ewoud; Rob Tempelaars (1998). Krijg de vinkentering! 1001 hedendaagse Vlaamse en Nederlandse verwensingen. Amsterdam: Contact. 
  11. ^ Sanders, Ewoud; Rob Tempelaars (1998). Krijg de vinkentering! 1001 hedendaagse Vlaamse en Nederlandse verwensingen. Amsterdam: Contact. 
  12. ^ "Youp van 't Hek Biografie". Muziekencyclopedie. Muziek Centrum Nederland. 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2011. 
  13. ^ Van Dale Groot woordenboek van de Nederlandse taal. Van Dale Uitgevers / VBK Media. 2005. ISBN 978-90-6648-134-3. 
  14. ^ M. Philippa, F. Debrabandere, A. Quak, T. Schoonheim & N. van der Sijs (2003–2009). Etymologisch woordenboek van het Nederlands. Amsterdam: AU. Retrieved 13 July 2011. 
  15. ^ Ewoud Sanders (22 May 2003). "Mof". NRC Handelsblad. Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  16. ^ Sanders, Ewoud; Rob Tempelaars (1998). Krijg de vinkentering! 1001 hedendaagse Vlaamse en Nederlandse verwensingen. Amsterdam: Contact.