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What is one of the things many people learn first when they learn a new language? Go on, you can say it – we won’t blush. As much as language programs seem to always start with numbers, greetings or even colours, for many people the first word is a swear word.
You might have noticed that some of the other Transparent Language blogs have started to cover swear words and now we’ll go ahead and learn how to swear in Dutch. This is of course by no means an exhaustive list but it should give you a better understanding about swearing in Dutch.
If this isn’t your type of thing, you may wish to stop reading now.
Let’s start at the beginning:
Swearing in Dutch isn’t pretty. Although to be fair, in what language is it nice? In Dutch, swear words often fall into categories, however, it is very common to combine one or more of the categories to come up with an extra strong swear word. Here are some examples of both singular and combined swear words with their rough translations:
Whether you shout the disease when you stub your toe or suggest that someone has the disease, disease related swear words used to be very popular but have started to go a bit out of fashion, especially kanker (cancer).
Last but not least, we come to a very popular, if not slightly odd, Dutch swear word. This swear word is often used when something is not going right, similar to how in English we might say f**k .
In Dutch the word is verdomme or godverdomme. If you break it down god = god, verdom = damn and me = me.
This was in fact the first swear word I learned when arriving in the Netherlands.