Proverbs and expressions(4)

  • Lood om oud ijzer.
    • Literal Translation: "Lead for old iron"
    • Meaning: It's all the same to me.
    • English equivalent: "Six of one or half a dozen of the other."


  • Maak je borst maar nat.
    • Literal Translation: "Make your chest wet."
    • Meaning: "You better prepare yourself."
  • Makkelijker gezegd dan gedaan.
    • Literal Translation: "Easier said than done."
    • Meaning: "It is easier to speak of something than actually do it."
  • Met andermans veren pronken.
    • Literal Translation: "Showing off with another's feathers."
    • Meaning: "Presenting someone else's accomplishments as one's own."
    • English: Borrowed plumage
  • Met de deur in huis vallen.
    • Literal Translation: "Falling with the door into the house."
    • Meaning: "Getting directly to the point."
  • Met de Franse slag.
    • Literal Translation: "With a French sweep."
    • Meaning: "Working fast but delivering a product of low quality."
  • Met de handen in het haar zitten.
    • Literal Translation: "Sitting with the hands in the hair."
    • Meaning: "Not knowing a way out of a problem."
  • Met de hoed in de hand komt men door het ganse land.
    • Literal Translation: "With the hat in the hand one gets through all the land."
    • Meaning: "A little politeness gets you very far."
    • English equivalent: "Honey attracts more flies than vinegar."
  • Met de mond vol tanden staan.
    • Literal Translation: "Standing with the mouth full of teeth."
    • Meaning: "Dumbfounded."
  • Met de pet rondgaan.
    • Literal Translation: "Going around with the hat."
    • Meaning: "Collecting money."
  • Met een kanon op een mug schieten.
    • Literal Translation: "To shoot a mosquito with a cannon."
    • Meaning: "Using a tool that is too large for the purpose, overkill."
    • English equivalent: "Taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut"
  • Mosterd na de maaltijd.
    • Literal Translation: "Mustard after the meal."
    • Meaning: "Coming up with a solution too late."
  • Mierenneuken.
    • Literal Translation: "Fucking ants."
    • Meaning: "Being obsessed with details."
    • English equivalent: "Splitting hairs."
    • Aditional note: This proverb may be considered rude (but is not inherently so).


  • Na regen komt zonneschijn
    • Literal Translation: "After rain comes sunshine"
    • Meaning: "Good things follow bad things"
    • English equivalent: "Every cloud has a silver lining"
  • Natte vingerwerk/Met de natte vinger
    • Literal Translation: "Wet fingerwork/With the wet finger" (cfr. Germ. "Fingerspitzengefühl")
    • Meaning: "Guesswork/performed on intuition"
  • Nieuwe bezems vegen schoon
    • Literal Translation: "New brooms sweep clean"
    • Meaning: "Someone new at a job will change the way things are done (even if only to be noticed)."
  • Niet alle wegen leiden naar Rome
    • Literal Translation: Not all roads lead to Rome
    • Meaning: Although there are many ways of doing something, not all of them are good.
    • Note: This proverb is based on Vele wegen leiden naar Rome (Many roads lead to Rome)
  • Niet geschoten is altijd mis
    • Literal Translation: "Not [having] shot is always missed"
    • Meaning: "If you don't try, you will miss opportunities"
    • English equivalent: "Nothing ventured, nothing gained."
  • Niet over één nacht ijs gaan
    • Literal Translation: "Not crossing the ice after one night of frost."
    • Meaning: "Making a decision after careful deliberation."
    • Source: http://en.wikiquote.org/

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