Proverbs and expressions(7)

  • Waar een wil is is een weg.
    • Literal Translation: "Where there's a will, there is a way."
    • Meaning: "There is a way to achieve anything, if one really tries."
  • Water naar zee dragen.
    • Literal Translation: "Carrying water to the sea."
    • Meaning: "Futile activity."
    • English proverb: "Carrying coals to Newcastle."
  • Waar het hart vol van is daar loopt de mond van over.
    • Literal Translation: "What the heart is full of, the mouth overflows with."
    • Meaning: "If someone is enthusiastic about an idea he will be always talking about it."
  • Wat de boer niet kent dat eet hij niet.
    • Literal Translation: "What the farmer doesn't know, he doesn't eat."
    • Meaning: "A stick-in-the-mud will try nothing new."
  • Weet wat je zegt, maar zeg niet alles wat je weet.
    • Literal Translation: "Know what you say, but don't say all that you know."
    • Meaning: "Be sure of your facts before speaking, but some things are best left unsaid."
  • Weten waar Abraham de mosterd haalt.
    • Literal Translation: "Knowing where Abraham gets the mustard."
    • Meaning: "Being well-informed." Also "He has turned 50."
  • Wie de bal kaatst, moet hem verwachten.
    • Literal Translation: "He who throws the ball, must expect it [back]."
    • Meaning: "Expect the repercussions of your actions."
    • English equivalent: "What goes around, comes around."
  • Wie de schoen past, trekke hem aan.
    • Literal Translation: "He whom the shoe fits should put it on."
    • Meaning: An appeal to take responsibility for ones actions.
    • English equivalent: "If the shoe fits, wear it."
  • Wie goed doet, goed ontmoet.
    • Literal Translation: "He who does good, will meet good."
    • Meaning: "Who does good things to others, will receive good things in return."
  • Wie het laatst lacht, lacht het best.
    • Literal Translation: "He who laughs last, laughs best."
    • Meaning: Don't laugh your enemy in the face when you are temporarily winning, because he can be more determined to defeat you.
    • Meaning: The last man standing in a lethal conflict has a real good reason to party.
    • English equivalent: He who laughs last, laughs loudest
  • Wie zijn neus schendt, schendt zijn aangezicht."
    • Literal translation: "He who hurts his nose, hurts his face."
    • Meaning: Accusing a close relative will usually damage your own reputation as well.
    • English equivalent: "To cut off one's nose to spite one's face."
  • Wie wind zaait, zal storm oogsten.
    • Literal translation: "He who seeds wind, shall harvest storm."
    • Meaning: "Who causes trouble, will be a victim of the trouble."
    • English equivalent: A more specific form of "You reap what you sow."
  • Wie zwijgt stemt toe.
    • Literal translation: "He who is quiet, agrees"
    • Meaning: "Taking someone's silence as a sign that they agree."


  • Zachte heelmeesters maken stinkende wonden.
    • Literal translation: "Gentle healers make stinking wounds."
    • Meaning: "It is better to treat a problem thoroughly even if the treatment is painful, otherwise it may get worse."
  • Ze niet allemaal op een rijtje hebben.
    • Literal translation: "Not having all of them in a row."
    • Meaning: "Being a dime short of a dozen."
  • Zich met hand en tand verzetten.
    • Literal translation: "To resist with hand and tooth."
    • Meaning: "To resist with every possible means, not giving in in any way."
    • English equivalent: "Digging one's heels in."
  • Zich ergens met een Jantje van Leiden afmaken
    • Literal translation: "To get off with a Jan van Leiden"
    • Meaning: "To make lame excuses, to deliver sloppy and hasty work.
    • Note:Jan van Leiden was a 16th century cult leader, infamous for his inane ramblings.
  • Zij zijn twee handen op één buik.
    • Literal translation: "They are two hands on one belly.";
    • Meaning: "They don't let you have a say in a decision, because they are always cooperating with each other to exclude you."
    • English equivalent: "(They are) hand in glove."
  • Zijn hand er niet voor omdraaien.
    • Literal translation: "Not turning his hand around for it."
    • Meaning: "It is an easy job for him."
  • Zoals de waard is, vertrouwt hij zijn gasten.
    • Literal translation: "Like the innkeeper is, so he trusts his guests."
    • Meaning: "A person who is untrustworthy is unlikely to trust others."
    • English equivalent: "You measure other people's cloth by your own yard."
  • Zoals het klokje thuis tikt, tikt het nergens.
    • Literal translation: "Like the clock ticks at home, so it ticks nowhere [else].
    • Meaning: "You can travel the world, but the best place is home."
    • English equivalent: "There's no place like home."
  • Zo dom als het achterend van een varken.
    • Literal translation: "As stupid as a pig's bottom."
    • Meaning: "Very stupid."
  • Zo lang er leven is, is er hoop.
    • Literal translation: "As long as there's life, there is hope."
    • Meaning: "Never despair."
    • English equivalent: "Where there's life, there's hope."
    • Source: http://en.wikiquote.org/

Learn dutch for free

ChatClick here to chat!+