Proverbs and expressions(5)

  • Onder de pet houden
    • Literal Translation: "To keep under the hat."
    • Meaning: "To cover up something that cannot see the light of day."
  • Om de haverklap
    • Literal Translation: "Every flail on the oats."
    • Meaning: "Very often."
  • Oost west, thuis best.
    • Literal Translation: "East West, home best."
    • Meaning: No matter where you travel, it's always great to come home.
    • English Equivalent: "Home sweet home."
  • Op alle slakken zout leggen.
    • Literal Translation: "Putting salt on every snail."
    • Meaning: "Looking for all of the smallest errors to comment on."
  • Op de neus kijken.
    • Literal Translation: "Looking down at one's nose."
    • Meaning: "Being disappointed."
  • Op elk potje past een dekseltje.
    • Literal Translation: "Every little pot has a fitting lid."
    • Meaning: "There's a solution for every situation. [or] There's a fitting partner for any person."
  • Op zwart zaad zitten.
    • Literal Translation: "Sitting on black seed."
    • Meaning: "Having no money at all."
  • Oude wijn in nieuwe zakken.
    • Literal Translation: "Old wine in new bags."
    • Meaning: Nothing really new, but put in different terms.
    • English Equivalent: "The same shit with other flies on it; same meat, different gravy."
  • Over lijken gaan.
    • Literal Translation: "Going over corpses."
    • Meaning: "Going for your own target however crude the method."


  • Potje breken, potje betalen.
    • Literal Translation: "Break a pot, pay for a pot."
    • Meaning: You have to pay for the damage you caused.
    • English Equivalents: "Paying the piper for playing the tune." "You break it, you buy it."
  • Parels voor de zwijnen.
    • Literal Translation: "Pearls for the pigs."
    • Meaning: Too much effort for those who won't or are not capable to appreciate it.

  • Roeien met de riemen die je hebt.
    • Literal Translation: "Rowing with the oars you have got."
    • Meaning: "Making do with the means available to you."

  • Spreken is zilver, zwijgen is goud.
    • Literal Translation: "Speaking is silver, being silent is gold."
    • Meaning: It's better to keep your silence, then to speak (for example in diplomacy or politics).
    • English Equivalent: "Silence is golden."
  • Spijkers op laag water zoeken.
    • Literal translation: "Looking for nails at low tide."
    • Meaning: Being pedantic about small details.
    • English Equivalent: "Nitpicking."
  • Stel niet uit tot morgen, wat gij heden kunt bezorgen.
    • Literal Translation: "Don't postpone until tomorrow, what you can take care of now."
    • Meaning: Don't procrastinate.
  • Stevig in het zadel zitten.
    • Literal translation: "Sitting securely in the saddle."
    • Meaning: "Having a solid high position; not easy to overthrow."
  • Storm in een glas water.
    • Literal Translation: "storm in a glass of water."
    • Meaning: "Making a fuss about nothing important."
    • English equivalent: "Tempest in a tea pot"
    • Source: http://en.wikiquote.org/

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