3 short Dutch words that you probably don't know

3 short Dutch words that you probably don't know

Learning new vocabulary can always be a challenge when you learn a new language. Certainly in Dutch the words can be very loooooong...  Words that have more than 25 letters are no exception.  But... the good news is that also many short words are waiting for you. They are very easy to learn and to use, but... there is only one strange thing. For mysterious reasons, most people don't notice them. 

If you don't notice certain words, then it is hard to learn them of course... That is why in this blog you'll find 3 ultra short Dutch words that probably  you have never heard of and... once you know and use them, they will enrich your Dutch like crazy! 

1 Maf
The first word is maf. It means weird, crazy or daft.  

Maf sounds like muf in muffin... Just imagine that a muffin starts talking to you. That would be maf, right? It would be a very weird experience.! 

An expression that you often hear is mafkees! Kees  - you proncounce it like the English word case - is a typical name for boys and blokes and it people call you een mafkees, then in most cases it is not a compliment :(   

Although mafkees is negative, it is not very strong. In a way it is a softer way to tell that someone is absolutely crazy. One thing is certain.... if you are een mafkees, then no one should take you seriously.... 

Wat maf! is also something that you can say if you are really surprised. You could also say: dat is maf or: ik vind het heel maf...  It would be another way to say: wat bizar or: ik vind het heel maf! 

And... if you like, you can also say: mafketel... Een ketel is kettle in English, something that you use if you like to boil water for a tea. Imagine that someone walks around like a teakettle all the time, then he or she would definitely earn the honorific title of mafketel :) 

2 suf 
Duf is a great word that you can translate in many different way. It is a kind of heavy and foggy feeling in your head that stops you from thinking clearly and it is also something that makes you feel really tired. 

Suf could be a feeling caused by narcosis.  Whenever you feel duf, it is that drowsy feeling. You could start to feel duf after you join a couple of joints or whenever you simply feel really tired and that you fall asleep. 

If you like to sound really Dutch, you could say: ik ben zo suf als een konijn... I am as 'suf' as a rabit....  It is hard to explain why people associate it with a rabbit, but it seems that somehow a rabbit is not that smart and mentally alert.... 

Because of the fact that duf is all about feeling drowsy, sleeply, tired, fatigue and many other energy draining things, it also means boring or lame. Een suf feest is a party where nothing exciting happens. You may have visited a typical Dutch birthday party where people enjoy sitting in what some people love to call the circle of death.. 

Another word that is highly frequent is sufferd... Een sufferd is a stupid person that does not know how to think...  If you like to do selfcriticism in Dutch, then here is something that you could say: wat ben ik een sufferd!, I am so stupid, I am such an idiot! 

3 Naar
You may believe that you already know naar, but.... naar is een maf woord :). Chances are high that you have learned it like a preposition.... Ik ga naar Amsterdam (I go to Amsterdam) or ik ga naar huis (I go home). But... naar has also another meaning and only a very few Dutch language learners are aware of it... 

Dutch people use naar at least 20 times per day, but once again, most people only pick up that it gives a sense of direction. 

Could you guess what naar means? What is naar weer or een naar gevoel (feeling) 

Naar can be extremely negative and it means: unpleasant, nasty or obnoxious. Naar weer is nasty weather and if you feel duf, it can be een naar gevoel... 

Wat naar! is also a great thing to use... It means: how nasty, how awful, how disgusting. Imagine that your schoonmoeder (mother in law)  likes to stay in your place for a couple of months... Chances are high that this is naar....

So... did you already know the meanings maf, suf en naar or did you learn something new? Share your thoughts in the comments. And... if you have discovered some other ultrashort Dutch words, then fee free to share them! 


About the author
Place comment