326. Dank je de koekoek!

"Koekoek" is the Dutch word for the cuckoo, the bird with the characteristic sound, which you will also hear in the famous cuckoo clock.

But… after checking the dictionary, "koekoek" is also an obsolete word for "devil", "hell" or "deuce"… So we too learn something new about Dutch every once in a while :-)

Instead of "Dank je de koekoek" you may also see the variations "Dat dank(t) / haal(t) je de koekoek!". All literally translate to something like "That thanks/gets you the devil!". The phrase can be used in two contexts, see 1. and 2.

1. I bet! / I daresay …! [Dutch phrase of the week]

- "Ik heb koude handen…" – "Dank je de koekoek! Het vriest buiten en je hebt geen handschoenen aan!"
("My hands are cold…" – "I bet! It’s freezing outside and you’re not wearing gloves!")

- "Ik voel een lichte paniek opkomen." -" Dank je de koekoek! Een speech voor 1000 mensen geven is niet niks!"
("I feel a mild panic breaking through." – "I daresay you do! Giving a speech in front of a 1000 people is really something." Lit.: "…in front of a 1000 people is not nothing!")

2. Not on your life! / you won’t catch me doing that! / no way! [Dutch phrase of the week]

- "Liefie, wil jij even sigaretten halen?" – "Ja dank je de koekoek! Het regent pijpenstelen!"
("Sweetie, will you go get me some cigarettes?" – "No way, it’s raining cats and dogs!")

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