I can’t really make use of it myself, since my Dutch is nonexistent, but I can’t resist passing it along for those who can: the Oud Nederlandsch Scheldwoorden Archief (Old Dutch profanity archive). Thanks, peacay!


  1. I see they’ve got “schmuck”, which I knew as a Yiddish epithet before I knew it was the German word for jewelery.

  2. Too bad VanDale changed the way their dictionary is accessed – each word on the list used to be a link to the word’s entry in VanDale, now you have to enter it manually. My favorite – “koekenbakker” = “knoeier”, which, so my NL-CZ dictionary, means something like “a screw up”, but literally, it’s “cake baker”.

  3. Surely “boevekop” should be “boevenkop”?
    Contrary to the introduction on the page, most of these are pretty mainstream. Teenagers might not be calling each other most of the names on that list anymore, but any native speaker can be expected to understand the vast majority of them. There were only a few I hadn’t heard of, and one (schmuck) which I had but never heard in Dutch.
    They mostly seem to be Dutch Dutch (I’m Flemish), and Amsterdam is supposed to have a livelier Jewish community than any part Flanders, so maybe that explains. There are a lot more Yiddish words in Dutch Dutch than in Flemish.

  4. Cairnarvon,
    most of these are pretty mainstream
    Dunno about ‘most’, but stakker, schurk or booswicht certainly are.
    any native speaker can be expected to understand the vast majority of them
    Does that include schobbejak or pierenwaaier?
    Also, understanding is one thing, seeing as a good number of them are compounds with pretty straightforward bases. But knowing they actually exist and what they mean, that’s something else.
    Incidentally, ‘galgenaas’ = someone who’s looking for trouble (lit. ‘gallows bait’) sounds very much like Slovak ‘galgan’ which is used of unruly kids. Gotta check if there is a connection.

  5. Does that include schobbejak or pierenwaaier?

    Absolutely. Schobbejak in particular is a well-known one.
    The only ones I hadn’t heard before are fiel, gorlegooi, kwee, parg, stroel, and vot. Gorlegooi seems to be substantiated (in De Vries en Te Winkel spelling, no less) here, and een kwee is a quince (though it’s more commonly called kweepeer, peer meaning pear); I’m not necessarily convinced the others are legitimate.

  6. These words are just dated, not Old or Middle Dutch. There’s maybe two or three I’ve never heard, and I didn’t even grow up in the Netherlands (though perhaps that’s why I know them, as I basically speak the Dutch my mother learned in the 50s). Some of them do go back to Middle Dutch: e.g. galgenaas occurs as galgenaes in Verdam’s dictionary of Middle Dutch, but otherwise they’re completely normal, though dated, words.
    @ bulbul: German has Galgenblume (> Hung. akasztófavirág), Galgenvogel, Galgenaas, Galgenbube, etc., but also Galgenhuhn. I know Russian has galgan from Middle Du. kalkoen or Middle Ger. kalkun. Is there something similar in Slovak? I could imagine some kind of mix-up here between Galgenhuhn and a possible borrowing of Kalkun from German. There’s always tons of words for misbehaving little boys.

  7. Bruno van Wayenburg says

    Pretty funny, there is absolutely no scholarly pretence here, just words with that days-of-yore-ring to it. You can tell by the outdated spelling of the title: ‘Nederlandsch’, ending in -sch. Strictly, the title has even been misspelled (it should be scheldwoordenarchief, without a space, a common mistake in modern, English influenced, Dutch spelling).
    I’ve heard most of the expression, except jankebal, kakhiel, snullebol, but sure they do sound like creative abuse. Parg, and ongalijke sound strange, but plausible.
    I’ve never heard schmuck in Dutch, and I suppose it would have been spelled more phonetically like other Yiddish expressions (achennebisj, goochem, mesjogge). http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jiddisch mentions ‘smoes’, ‘excuse’ as derived from ‘Schmuck’

  8. Fred,
    funny, I know akasztófavirág as the equivalent of Galgenstrick (perhaps from Jókai?) and have yet to encounter Galgenhuhn. But yes, the German connection is much more likely.

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