Breaking up the word vrijbuiter (pirate) gives us two roots to work with – vrij and buiter. Buiter- is a dead-end so let’s explore vrij-
💡 vrij- is the Dutch root for “free”
🔶 vrij (adj.) = not busy, without (eg: alcoholvrij)
🔶 vrij (adv.) = rather, quite, enough
✏️ De jongen is vrij lang voor zijn leeftijd. / The boy is rather tall for his age.
🔶 nogal / tamelijk means the same as vrij in this context
✏️De jongen is nogal / tamelijk lang voor zijn leeftijd. / The boy is rather tall for his age.
💡 leeftijd = live / living + time
🔶 het vrijaf = day off, holiday (free-off)
🔶 vrijheid = freedom, liberty (free-hood) [See more on -heid]
As in English, ‘free’ is used in some similies in Dutch as well:
🔶 zo vrij als een vogeltje in de lucht= as free as a bird in the sky, i.e., free to do whatever one wants [See more on lucht-]
🔶 In Dutch, there is a difference between ‘free’ as in ‘freedom’ and ‘free’ as in ‘cost-free’ (unlike in English). Gratis is the word you would use for ‘cost-free’
The original meaning of the word ‘vrij’ is ‘love’, as is still recognizable in the old derivation → friend. In the continental West Germanic languages, the meaning has shifted to “courting (a woman), lusting (a woman) and / or loving”. In High German this ultimately led to the current meaning of ‘marrying, getting married’, while in Dutch the meaning shifted to ‘having a love affair, loving each other’ and ultimately ‘making love, having sexual intercourse’.M. Philippa, F. Debrabandere, A. Quak, T. Schoonheim and N. van der Sijs (2003-2009) Etymological Dictionary of Dutch , 4 volumes, Amsterdam
🔶 vrijen (verb) = to make love, cuddle [word is becoming uncommon now and is seen as old-fashioned]
🔶 vriend = friend
🔶 Vrijdag = Friday (originally, from Freya / Frigga the Goddess of Love, among other things, in Norse Mythology)
🔶 To be busy is to be bezig or druk, but the busy / crowded street is de drukke straat and never bezig. But if something is really crowded, it is druk bezet or druk bezocht.
🔶 De druk also means ‘the pressure’ (eg: luchtdruk = air pressure, see lucht-). So drukken means ‘to press’ or ‘to print’. De afdruk is the print or impression.
✏️ Het terras met uitzicht over de rivier is altijd druk bezet. / The terrace overlooking the river is always crowded
Days of the Week
Having explored Vrijdag, let’s also quickly take a look into the other days of the week.
🔶 Zondag = Sunday (from zon, sun)
🔶 Maandag = Monday (from maan, moon)
🔶 Dinsdag = Tuesday (from Odins‘ day, which is different from English, where Wednesday is more Odin’s day)
🔶 Woensdag = Wednesday
🔶 Donderdag = Thursday (originally donnerdag, i.e, Donar’s / Thor’s day)
🔶 Zaterdag = Saturday (Built off of Saturn)