Sat. Jul 20th, 2024


If you want to have some fun with the Dutch language here are 10 funny Dutch phrases you must know. Impress Dutchies by learning this list of speak words which are literally funny Dutch phrases translated to English. Improve your language abilities and have a laugh at the same time!

1. Make That the Cat Wise (Maak dat de kat wijs)

This roughly translates to “don’t bullshit me”. Or you’re trying to sell me a load of crap that even a cat would not believe. It’s not used regularly in conversation. But a good example would be if you complained to your friends about being broke but purchased a $1000 purse recently. In this case, it’s appropriate for them to respond with Maak dat de kat wijs. The first time I heard these funny Dutch words I really couldn’t understand what they meant.

2. Hitting two flies with one strike (Twee vliegen in 1 klap slaan)

This would be the Dutch equivalent of “hitting two birds with one stone”, basically nailing two things at once. The Dutch chose flies for their reference, which would actually be easier to hit at once than two birds, right?


3. I will see it through the fingers (Ik zal het door de vingers zien)

Basically, “This time I will allow it… or I will not pay (close) attention to it.” Let’s say someone you hold dear is doing something you don’t approve of, but you appreciate them enough to not make a big deal about it. Therefore, you are ignoring it or you pretend not to see it at all. It’s similar to saying: I will let this one slide.

4. Unfortunately, Peanut Butter (Helaas pindakaas)

This funny-sounding saying is actually one of disappointment. It’s the equivalent of saying bummer or too bad in English. For instance, if you make a sandwich for lunch but accidentally drop it then saying Helaas pindakaas suits the situation perfectly. Or if you get ready for a night out then it starts raining cats and dogs then, unfortunately, peanut butter.

Wondering what’s so special about the usage of peanut butter? It’s not that this spread is a national favorite for the Dutch, but it rhymes. It’s also a common household item that the Dutch claim to describe these unfortunate situations perfectly. Unfortunately, this is how it is so what can you do?

5. Now comes the monkey out of the sleeve (Nu komt de aap uit de mouw)

Some Dutch people love to use the English translation but it really doesn’t make sense when translated literally. When referring to a monkey coming out of a sleeve you are surprised by the truth coming out, or someone’s true nature finally revealing itself.


6. A monkey sandwich story (Een broodje aap verhaal)

This translates to: If you’re telling a monkey sandwich story then you are selling bullsh*t or making a story up. The other party would call you out immediately because the story is so obviously fake or deceiving.

7. Now breaks my wooden shoe (Nu breekt mijn klomp)

When a Dutch person refers to breaking his wooden shoe, this is a situation when something sudden happens that is surprising or shocking. I’m not sure, but this might originate from the fact that it’s quite hard to break an actual wooden shoe because of the nature of the material. So that would certainly be surprising.

8. Making your chest wet (Je borst nat maken)

In Dutch, if you need to make your chest wet then you need to get ready for something serious. You better butter up buttercup, things are about to get serious. For instance, if you have a huge exam coming up that you have not prepared for.

9. Putting salt on all snails (Op alle slakken zout leggen)

This Dutch expression is quite barbaric since snails don’t go well with salt. However, when the Dutch use this phrase they are not planning to punish an actual snail, but refer to someone that likes to nitpick about everything.

10. A hero on socks (Een held op sokken)

One of the best funny Dutch phrases translates to a hero wearing socks. It refers to someone that acts tough but isn’t, sort of like not “talking the talk”.

What are your thoughts?

What are your first thoughts after hearing these funny Dutch phrases? Is there one in particular that stands out the most for you? I have to admit thatHelaas Pindakaas has become a regular part of my vocabulary. AndMaak dat de kat wijs still makes me scratch my head no matter how many times my Dutchie explains it to me! If you’ve come across any funny Dutch words or sayings please feel free to share them in the comments below.



By Lala