colleague, co-worker (female) [noun] [het collegaatje, de collegaatjes] [‘ko-lee-gaa-tju’]
"Collegaatje" is the diminutive of "collega", the general word for "colleague" or "co-worker". The strange thing is however, that somehow the diminutive became the informal word for a female colleague. If you talk about a "collegaatje", every Dutch person knows you mean a female colleague. Don’t you just love the subtleties of the Dutch language… 🙂
– "Wie was dat net aan de telefoon?" – "O, een collegaatje."
("Who were you talking to on the phone?" – "Oh, a co-worker." Literally: "Who was that just now on the phone?")
– "Schat, ik ben vanavond wat later thuis, ik ga wat drinken met een collegaatje."
("Honey, I’ll be home a little later tonight, I’m going out for a drink with a co-worker." To avoid marital problems, some men might prefer to use the general "collega" 😉 )
– "Komende maand krijgen we een nieuw collegaatje erbij, ik hoop dat ze een beetje verstand van zaken heeft!"
("Next month a new colleague will arrive, I hope she is knowledgeable!" Literally: "The coming month we’ll get a new colleague in addition, I hope she has a bit of knowledge of things/business!")
– "Collega": colleague, co-worker.
– "Kamergenoot": office mate. This is also used in the translation of roommate (dorms).
– "Stagiair / stagiaire (fem.)": intern, trainee.
People should be very careful with this word. It suggests the colleague is not taken seriously and can come across as derogatory.
I think you can talk about a ‘collegaatje’ without it being derogatory as long as the context is clear, however, as is the case with any diminutive one should not use it to address somebody or refer to somebody who is present, because that indeed would not be polite.
Ik zou dit inderdaad niet te snel gebruiken, ik ken dit woord eerlijk gezegd helemaal niet in de betekenis van ‘vrouwelijke collega’ en ik vind het eigenlijk best kleinerend overkomen. Gewoon ‘collega’ gebruiken dus!
If I were you, I wouldn’t use this phrase. To be honest, I didn’t even know this word in the sense of ‘female colleague’. Simply use the word ‘collega’, if you want to avoid problems!