Proverbs and expressions(3)

  • Iemand blij maken met een dode mus
    • Literal Translation: "Make somebody happy with a dead sparrow."
    • Meaning: "Promissing someone something great, that finally seems worthless"
  • Iemands rechterhand zijn
    • Literal Translation: "Being someones right hand."
    • Meaning: "Being indiposable to someone."
    • English equivalent: "Be someone's right hand man"
  • Iets op je lever hebben.
    • Literal Translation: "Having something on your liver."
    • Meaning: "Having done something wrong which could get you into trouble."
  • In het land der blinden is éénoog koning."
    • Literal translation: "In the land of the blind, one-eye is king."
    • Meaning: "Where none can do something, the one who has even a little knowledge has the power"
    • English equivalent: "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king"
    • English alternative: "(being) a big fish in a small pond"
  • Ieder voordeel heb z'n nadeel.
    • Literal translation: "Every advantage has his disadvantage."
    • Meaning: "everything that has an advantage in one way also has a disavantage in an other way."
    • Actually a quote from Johan Cruijff, but it has become proverbial.


  • Je kunt beter over je fiets lullen dan over je lul fietsen.
    • Literal translation: "It is better to talk shit about your bike than to bike on your dick."
    • Meaning: "If you plan to talk nonsence it is still important to be aware which words to use."
  • Je moet verder kijken dan je neus lang is.
    • Literal Translation: "You need to watch further than the length of your nose."
    • Meaning: "You need to take a look at the problem carefully, you need to search the cause of the problem. And not at the effects of it."
  • "Jong geleerd is oud gedaan."
    • Literal Translation: "Learned when young is done when old."
    • Meaning: "Something learned at an early age will be easy when one is old(er)."

  • Krakende wagens lopen het langst.
    • Literal Translation: "Creaking carts last longest".
    • Meaning: Objects which seem to be near collapse, often end up lasting much longer than expected;
    • Old people suffering from little diseases often live the longest.
  • Kleine potjes hebben grote oren.
    • Literal Translation: "Small pots have big ears/handles."
    • Meaning: "Adults must be careful about what they say within the hearing of children.
    • English equivalent: "Little pitchers have big ears"
  • Kleren maken de man."
    • Literal Translation: "Clothes make the man."
    • Meaning: "Good clothing adds to a man's stature."
    • English equivalent: "Clothes maketh the man."
  • Knollen/Appelen voor citroenen verkopen.
    • Literal Translation: "sell beets/apples as lemons."
    • Meaning: "Presenting something as something else which is more valuable."

Source: http://en.wikiquote.org/

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