From the Low Countries to the Highlands and beyond.


The Dutch have left their mark on the English language through many centuries of cultural interaction and language contact across the North Sea.
Among other things, this traffic has brought many words from the Low Countries to the British Isles and it is ongoing; as testified by more recent additions such as apartheid and gabber.
Here are ten words that have their origins in the Dutch language. You may find some surprising:

Aardvark – from South African Dutch aard + vark, literally translated to ‘earth + pig’.
Boss – comes from baas, which has the same meaning in both Dutch and English.
Booze –from the word busen meaning ‘to drink in excess’.
Brandy – was originally called brandy wine, which comes from the Dutch brandewijn, literally ‘burnt wine’.
Coleslaw – from koolsla, which literally means ‘cabbage salad’.
Cruise – from kruisen, meaning to ‘cross, sail to and fro’.
Frolic – was taken from the word vrolijk, which means ‘happy’ or ‘cheerful’.
Grab – from grijpen ‘to seize, to grasp, to snatch’.
Landscape –from the Dutch word landschap, literally meaning ‘land + ship’.
Waffle – it is spelled slightly differently in Dutch, wafel, but both words mean the same thing.

These are but a sample of the many words taken from Dutch that have found their way into general English usage.
There are numerous resources available if you want to find more, including a collection on Wikipedia.


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