"Enig" is a versatile word… It has about three different
translations. There are too many different subtle ways of using "enig"
to cover entirely in this DWOTD, but we’ll give it a try anyway 🙂

1. only (one/thing), sole, single [adjective] [‘ee-nig’] Iconspeaker_klein_2


– "Het enige dat helpt is rust, veel rust."

("The only thing that helps is rest, a lot of rest.")

– "Prinses Fiona is de enige erfgenaam van de troon van Ver Ver Weg."

("Princess Fiona is the sole heir to the throne of Far Far Away.")

– "Je bent niet de enige met gemengde gevoelens…"
("You’re not the only one with mixed emotions…")


– "De enige echte": the one and only. Lit.: "the only real one".

Related words:
– "Alleen": alone.
– "Alleenstaand": single.

2. wonderful, lovely, marvelous [adjective] [‘ee-nig’] Iconspeaker_klein_2

The use of "enig" as the translation for wonderful is a bit
hoyty-toyty (check out the audio…) To stress the arty-fartiness you may sometimes see
phonetic variations such as "eeenig" 🙂 Of course this is incorrect


– "Lieverd, wat een eeenig jurkje."

("Darling, what a wonderful little dress.")

– "Zeg amice, wat vind je van dit schilderij?" – "Enig, in één woord enig!"
("Say, my dear friend, what do you think of this painting?" – "Marvelous, in one word marvelous!")

– "Schatje, wil je met me in het reuzenrad?" – "Dat lijkt me enig!"
("Sweetie, do you want to go on the Ferris wheel with me?" – "I would love to!")

Related words:
– "Leuk": nice, fun.
– "Mooi": beautiful.
– "Prachtig": magnificent.

3. some, any [indefinite pronoun/cardinal number] [‘ee-nig’] Iconspeaker_klein_2

The use of "enig" in this context is slightly formal.


– "We hebben enige tegenslagen gehad, daarom is het project vertraagd."

("We’ve had some set-backs, therefore the project has been delayed.")

– "Frank is zonder enige twijfel een mierenneuker…"
("Frank is a nitpicker, without any doubt…")

– "Volgens mij kun je wel enige hulp gebruiken…" – "Nee dank je, ik volg gewoon de gebruiksaanwijzing!"
("I think you can use some help…" – "No thank you, I’m just following the manual!’)

3 thoughts on “Enig

  1. I’d like to point out a common mistake that Dutch people make.
    In the first translation of “enig” above, you will often hear:
    “Zij is de enigste die geen computer heeft.”
    (“She is the only one who does not have a computer.”)
    “Deze winkel is de enigste die open is na negenen.”
    (“This store is the only one that is open after nine.”)
    In both cases it should not be “enigste” but “enige”. You can use “enigste” in the second translation. There, it is the superlative degree of “enig”.
    However, in case of “enig” meaning “the only one”, you cannot be “the most only one”, so there you must not use “enigste”.
    Now try to explain this to your Dutch friends 😉

  2. I remember hearing former Queen Juliana use this word frequently in interviews. A bit twee.
    Oh, my daily email from you all arrived safetly today in my “In” box. So, the problems must have been solved! Bedankt, because DWOTD makes my day indeed!

  3. If the third definition is a bit formal, what is a less formal way to say some/any?
    For example:
    “Are there any beers in the fridge?”
    “Would you like some hagelslag?”
    “Do you have any change for the vending machine?”
    I suspect that the answer may be “wat”, one of those short-yet-still-intimidating Dutch words with many different usages. Like “er”, “toch”, “wel”, “maar”, “eens”, etc. Hopefully it can be covered as a future DWOTD!

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