to give someone a break, to do someone a favour [verb] [matste, gematst]
“Matsen” is Bargoens, the former Dutch thieves’ cant. Whether “matsen” is also from Yiddish origin – like “gozer” – was unknown at the time of publication of this DWOTD…readers are kindly requested to post ethymological information 🙂
“Matsen” is used informally, and originally meant to cheat or to mess with. It is now used in a more positive sense: to settle/arrange something for someone outside the ‘normal’ path via which things should be arranged, see the Examples.
– “Gozer, ik krijg nog 57 euro van je, maar ik zal je matsen: 50 is prima.”
(“Dude, you still owe me 57 euros, but I’ll give you a break: 50 is fine.”)
– “Hoe kan die loser de finale van Dancing With The Stars bereikt hebben?? De jury heeft hem ongelofelijk gematst!”
(“How could this loser reach the final of Dancing With The Stars?? The jury has given him a huge break!”)
– “<agent:> Ik moet u helaas een bekeuring geven. U reed te hard.” – “<overtreder:> Ach, kunt u me niet voor één keer matsen?”
(“<officer:> I’m afraid I’m gonna have to give you a ticket. You were speeding.” – “<perpetrator:> Ah, can’t you just give me a break just once?”)
– “Door de vingers zien.” See also Extra.
(“To give someone a break”.)
– “Een oogje dichtknijpen.”
(“To turn a blind eye to someone/something”.)
– “Geluk”: luck.
– “Mazzel”: luck.
– “Voortrekken”: to favour.
I looked up the word of the day “matsen” in the Bargoens Woordenboek (Bargoens Dictionary) that I have lying around here.
This dictinary says about the ethymology that the post WWII emergenge of the word “matsen” suggests an English origin, “probably: (to) match”. There is no mention of a possible Yiddish origin.
Bargoens Woordenboek, De Erven Thomas Rap, Baarn, p.84, 2nd printing, 1974, ISBN 90 6005 095-9.
Dear Roel, thanks for the information and the book tip!