Good language translation depends a lot on context, syntax and phrasing. What would happen if we didn’t take all those things into account just once? Let’s check out some funny Dutch idioms literally translated into English!
“Een waarheid als een koe” = “The truth like a cow”
We all know cows are honest animals. The Dutch say this when something is needless to say and it’s very natural.
“De draak met iets steken” = “To stab the dragon with something”
The Dutch like to stab the dragon with something and no, this doesn’t involve waking up Smaug from the Hobbit movies. If someone is stabbing the dragon with something, then they don’t believe something and make jokes and puns about it.
“Een eitje met iemand te pellen hebben” = “To have an egg to peel with someone”
Even though this idiom may give you a peaceful scenery of two friends happily peeling an egg together, the meaning of it is quite different. When someone says that he has an egg to peel with you, he means he’s mad with you and he wants to confront you about it.
“Zo gek als een deur” = “As mad as a door”
Doors in Dutch speaking countries apparently are very mad and crazy, because if you hear someone saying this idiom to you, he or she means that you’re a crazy person! Always be suspicious of the doors.
“Goed in de slappe was zitten” = “To sit comfortable in the limp laundry”
Everyone once in a while wants to slack off a bit after doing their laundry and sit in it, right? If someone sits comfortable in the limp laundry, it means they have a lot of money.
“Tegen de paal lopen” = “To walk against the pole”
Every once in a while, everyone walks against a pole. Sometimes it has to do with alcohol. The meaning of this Dutch idiom is rather that you get a bad outcome of something. If you haven’t studied as much for your exams as you should have and suddenly you get bad results, then you have walked against the pole.
“Recht voor zijn raap” = “Straight for his turnip”
Even though turnips are extremely exciting vegetables, this idiom makes as much sense in Dutch as it does in English. With the turnip, the Dutch mean the person’s face, so if we say something straight for his turnip; it means something is said straight, without beating around the bush.
To end this article with, I’d like to challenge you to guess the meaning of the following idiom: “Het klopt als een bus” = “It knocks like a bus”. Let me know in the comments down below what you think this means!