Dutch Language Blog

Dutch Swear Words Posted by on May 30, 2012 in Culture, Dutch Language, Dutch Vocabulary

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:

  • swear words = scheldwoorden
  • swearing = schelden

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).

  • kanker/kankerlijer (cancer/lijer means someone that has, so kankerlijer is someone that has cancer)
  • tyfuslijer (someone that has typhoid)
  • tering (tuberculosis) –> e.g. if your foot gets stuck under the rug as you pass and you almost fall, you might shout out “tering, kutkleed!” –> “tuberculosis, c*nt rug!” (doesn’t really have the same ring to it in English)


  • hoer (wh*re)
  • kuthoer (c*nt wh*re)
  • tyfushoer (typhus wh*re)


  • kut (c*nt)
  • lul (penis)
  • klote (scrotum)

Animal Species

  • vuilehond (dirty dog)


  • dikke (fat)
  • schele (cross eyed)

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.

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  1. Patrick:

    This article is wrong, and is wrong where you stated:

    Let’s start at the beginning:
    •swear words = scheldwoorden
    •swearing = schelden

    It should be:
    •swear words = vloekwoorden
    •swearing = vloeken

    There is a big difference between the two:
    Vloeken is shouting something out loud when things don’t go your way, such as godverdomme, kut!, and these days shit and fuck are widely used amongst the Dutchies as well.

    Where as schelden it purposefully insulting someone with the intend to hurt their feelings.
    Your examples of mof, jew and kut marokaan are even worse and can be classed as discrimination, in the last instance it’s definately discrimination. Pretty much every reference to a people’s looks, ethnicity, or profession is a personal attack and therefore an insult, not swearing or cursing.

  2. ellen:

    So true, we Dutch do swear a lot and in public!! You have not mention one “swearword” though. That word I should not say here in the States. Every time I say that word to my cat, my American husband looks very distressed, lol. The word is dikzak (fatbag). But in English it sounds different ( dick sack)and is absolutely too much for the decent Americans, ha ha ha….

  3. Maja:

    Dutch also combine swear words with other words – for example “kutfiets”, klerezooi and they also use “krijg de klere” and so on. They also use English “fuck”, “fucking” though. 🙂

  4. Jitka:

    oh damm. Used the word klootzak ik my last Dutch lesson thinking it had another meaning than scrotum 😀

  5. Natasja:

    klootzak (loosely translated means asshole or literally translated means scrotum bag), one of my fav 😉

  6. Peter Simon:

    Ellen says the Dutch swear a lot – well, in 3 year that I’ve been living here and sometimes working too, I have hardly heard them swear a lot. Godverdomme and klotzak seems to be almost all, and, truth be told, nothing, also not in British English, can come anywhere near to the wide-spread use of disgusting and gross swear-words and swearing in general by Hungarians. Anything I’ve heard I can multiply ten times in Hungarian, where use of the f-word is not the ultimate swearing, but a normal linking-word used several times a minute. Swearing starts with more obnoxious phrases, words in themselves seem to be mild, even though sometimes untranslatable – creating swearing phrases seem to be a national sport indeed. If anyone can send me a private mail with comparable vocab and phrases in Dutch just in case and to train my ear, I wouldn’t be aghast.

  7. Marijke:

    Nice blog you have here 🙂 Can I add one Dutch swearword? It is “mierenneuker”. Literally it means: someone who f*cks ants (mieren). Meant is: somewhone who acts up on details.

  8. John:

    I always thought that swearing in Holland was the worst kind. Godverdomme translates (as you say) verdomme or godverdomme. and you correctly break it down to; god = god, verdom = damn and me = me. I am of the opinion that “true” swearing involves using the name of God and blasphemously connecting Him to a vile action or deed, as is the case with Godverdomme. The English mode of swearing is just a bunch of what used to be regarded as impolite or dirty words.

  9. Therese:

    When I lived in Holland as a teenager, I sat next to the girl widely believed to be the “best” at swearing in our class. Thus I learned to swear more in Dutch than I ever did in English or French (my other language.) One of the great things about swearing in Dutch was that my parents had no idea what I was saying and Dutch has such wonderfully aspirated/gutteral sounds that it sounds so impressive! One other thing: my classmate also specialized in saying something I think was Jetje minnar (no idea how it was spelled as it wasn’t something I ever saw in wriitng, only heard when she was upset about a test, but I think it meant For the love of God, or Jesus…Can anyone clarify? Also, to the point made by John: I read somewhere that in the 17th century, English language was generally very colorful according to our standards, but any use of God’s name in vain was just abhorrent.

  10. Karen:

    Jeetje Mina…. but I don’t know exactly what it means. (even though I am Dutch…) It is not as bad as other Dutch curse words.

  11. orang belanda:

    Kut lul kunt
    neuken ist gezund
    neuken ist fantatiche
    karpotches zyn elastiche

  12. Ju-ju:

    what could q.u.d. mean?

  13. SomeRandomGuy:

    I’m Dutch, and I can tell you shit and fuck are actually used a lot. ‘Klootzak’ has basically the same meaning as asshole, but literally translated it’s scrotum. ‘kut’ is used the same way as ‘shit’ or ‘fuck’. It means vagina.

    Flikker = Faggot
    Godverdomme = Goddamnit
    Slet = Slut
    Eikel = Asshole (not literally)
    Lul = Asshole (not literally)
    Krijg de klere = Fuck you (not literally)

    • Pam:

      @SomeRandomGuy Thanks for the eikel part! Ma always uses godvordamme et? Eikel…sounds like tzeikel when she says it! We ran like scared rabbits when she produced this “treasure”!

  14. Robert Katz:

    Godverdomme does not mean God damn me, but is derived from Godverdoemhet. Why invoke God to damn yourself? In parallel with the English Goddammit (the “n” is not pronounced), the “e” ending is an abbreviated “het”, just as the “it” ending in English.

  15. Shell C:

    My Opa used to say something that sounded like “Soda Flikker” I know what flikker means but wanted to know what it was together. I haven’t been able to find a translation as I wasn’t sure of spelling. If anyone could help me I would really appreciate it. He was also known to use “ouwe hoer” under his breath at my Oma lol. He also used “godverdomme” and “klootzak” what something didn’t work out or he hurt himself. Thanks in advance.

  16. Janeau:

    It is sodemieter, not soda flikker. Sodemieter comes from sodomy. “Sodemieter op” is something like bugger of. Jeetje Mina is very mild. I think jeetje comes from Jezus. Mina might be my. It could come from oh my Jesus.

  17. dima:

    Hii ..I live in Deutschland ..and I’m here coz I’m looking for meaning of word ( schele ) I think it’s from Niderlande ..
    Please if anyone can translated for me !! I will be glad

    • Sten:

      @dima schele = Schielender. So someone that schielt.

  18. Daniel:

    Actually, a minor point, but “God verdomme” does not exactly mean “God damn me” – it would be rather weird to invoke God’s damnation upon yourself. The verb “verdommen” here is actually in the subjunctive mood, as it is indeed in the English curse also. We say “[God] damn [it]” (the -s on damn is missing), not “God damns it” (indicative mood), expressing a hope or a wish, similar to “Long live the king” or “Bless you” (after sneezing). The present subjunctive in Dutch is formed by adding the stem “-e” to the verb root. The full expression would be “God verdomme het” (God damn it). But the “het” is always left off. Other subjunctive expressions are “Lang leve de koning/in”, “Moge hij/ze in vrede rusten”. The opposite of “Godverdomme” is “God zegene en behoede je”.

  19. franny: