in Dutch Etymology


From Wikimedia

From the Afrikaans language, we have the word aardvaark in English, that refers to a nocturnal mammal that closely resembles an ant-eater found in Africa.

Building upon two Dutch roots, ‘aard’ (earth) and ‘vark’ (pig), the name literally refers to the animal as an earth-pig.

Read more about: aard, vark


From Spanish filibustero from French flibustier ultimately from Dutch vrijbuiter (=“pirate” or “freebooter”)

Made infamous by the politicians in the US, and largely used in that context, ‘filibuster’ refers to the “the obstructing or delaying of legislative action, especially by prolonged speechmaking”

Read more about: vrij, buiter


Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Luck comes from the early Middle Dutch luc, shortening of gheluc “happiness, good fortune”. In modern Dutch, it can be found in geluk (happiness, luck, success).

Read more about: geluk


Literally means, “region” + “ship” (from Middle Dutch -schap, from Old Dutch -skap).

Land is more often used to refer to country in modern Dutch and -scap can be found as a suffix in multiple Dutch words similar to how “-ship” is used as a suffix in multiple English words.

Read more about: land, -schap


From the Dutch ‘schets’, the word in both languages refers to an outline, design, drawing.

Read more about: schets


No real history on how ‘clever’ came to mean ‘thin’, though but ‘slim’ in English (thin, slight, slender) comes from the Dutch slim (“clever, sly”).

Read more about: slim


Spook meaning “spectre, apparition, ghost,” comes from the Dutch spook, where it means the same but is pronounced differently. Spooky, right?

Read more about: spook


Smack in the sense of “a taste, flavor, savor” (eg: a smack of pesto) derives from Proto-German which is also seen in the Dutch word smaak (taste, flavour) or smaken (to taste), where it retains its original meaning more strongly than it did in English.

The verb smack (to hit), also holds common ancestry with the Dutch smakken, but most likely being influenced by Low German smacken (to strike, to throw).

Read more: smaken


While the main modern meaning “a bite or morsel to eat hastily” is only attested from 1757 with no clear history behind the evolving meaning, in the 1400s, snack meant “a snatch or snap” (especially that of a dog), the word having originated from the Middle Dutch ‘snakken’ (to snatch, snap, chatter).

However, in modern Dutch, snakken, refers to ‘panting, longing, craving’. If you were in a whimsical mood, you could make a connection from ‘craving’ to a ‘snack’.

Interesting tidbit. In the 1680s there was an old expression, “go snacks” as in “share, divide; have a share in”, quite close to our modern expression of “going Dutch”.

Read more: snakken


From the Dutch trekker “trigger,” from trekken (“to pull”). You ‘pull’ on a trigger. It couldn’t be simpler.

Interestingly though, the English word ‘trek’ in its original form (1850) referred to “travel by ox wagon,” originating from the Dutch trekken “to march, journey,” originally “to draw, pull.”

Read more about: trekken


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