Dutch Language Blog

Versterkende bijvoeglijke naamwoorden – pebbles and cats are super! Posted by on Dec 30, 2016 in Dutch Grammar, Dutch Language, Dutch Vocabulary

Last week, we looked at trappen van vergelijking (degrees of comparison). They allow you to show that a thing is nice, very nice or the nicest. But there is another way to differentiate between nice things and very nice things – with versterkende bijvoeglijke naamwoorden (“strengthening adjectives”). They do not have degrees of comparison, and so they only exist in the stellende trap (positive).

There are many such words, also some that directly oppose each other: doodziek – kerngezond (deathly sick – “core healthy”); loodzwaar – vederlicht (heavy as lead – featherlight); springlevend – morsdood (“jumpingly alive” – “completely dead”). Mors in morsdood originates in old Nederduits (Low German), in which it means “completely, suddenly”. If you want to have a better overview and see more such words, there is a a little test – can you complete it?  The website also has the answers to the test here. If you don’t want to do the test, but just have a better overview of the versterkende bijvoeglijke naamwoorden that exist, you can go directly to the answers, of course.

Here are some with pictures!


Keileuk! (“As fun as a pebble!”)

Versterkende bijvoeglijke naamwoorden take a word and add it in front of the adjective to give it a stronger meaning. For example keileuk, which just means very funKei- is a one such versterking (strengthening) of an adjective that is used not just for leuk, but also for goed (good), gaaf (cool) and many others. It is mostly just how people use it!


Superheet! (Super hot!)

Another word used a lot as versterking is supersuperleuk (super fun), superaardig (super nice), superveel (super much) superlief (super sweet), etcetera!


Peperduur! (As expensive as pepper!)

There are also some versterkingen that are used with one specific adjective. For example peperduur (as expensive as pepper, meaning very expensive). This one originates in the old days when pepper was still very expensive, and so if something was as expensive as pepper, it was very expensive.


Poeslief! (as sweet as a cat!)

Another one is poeslief, if somebody does something very lief (sweet) or just is very lief, that is poeslief!


Let me know whether and, if so, how you did in the test! I have a little challenge for you: If you could create a versterkend bijvoeglijk naamwoord, what would it be, and why? Let me know in the comments below!


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About the Author: Sten

Hi! I am Sten, both Dutch and German. For many years, I've written for the German and the Dutch blogs with a passion for everything related to language and culture. It's fascinating to reflect on my own culture, and in the process allow our readers to learn more about it! Besides blogging, I am a German-Dutch-English translator, animator and filmmaker.


  1. rochejagu:

    Loodzwaar = heavy as lead
    Led = light emitting diode

    • Sten:

      @rochejagu Haha! Whoops, thanks for catching that error!

  2. Eef:

    I hoped you would use “cat” to strengthen “gestoord”: “katsgestoord” is one of my favorite words! But “poeslief” also is a nice one 😉