waste-paper basket, (office) bin Iconspeaker_3 Prullenbak

[de prul-len-bak, de prul-len-bak-ken]

A "prullenbak" is a waste-paper basket. A "prullenbak" is not to be confused with its bigger brother: a "vuilnisbak" (waste container). A "prullenbak" is for "prullen" (small pieces of trash, scraps, paper, etc.). A "vuilnisbak" is meant for "vuilnis": general garbage, usually bigger/dirtier than just "prullen"…

You may often see the synonymous "prullenmand". "Mand" literally translate to basket, where "bak" literally translate to "container/cask".

– "Kun je het snoeppapiertje in de prullenbak gooien, alsjeblieft?" 
("Can you throw the candy wrapper in the waste-paper basket, please?")

– "Onder mijn bureau staat een mooie roestvrijstalen prullenbak." 
("Under my desk, I have a nice stainless steel office bin." Lit.: Under my desk stands a…")

– "Wie heeft er batterijen in de prullenbak gegooid?! Jij, Marc? – "Ben je betoeterd?! Batterijen breng ik altijd naar de blauwe recycle bak in de supermarkt!" 
("Who has thrown batteries in the waste-paper basket?! You, Marc? – "Have you gone out of your mind?! I always take empty batteries to the blue recycle container in the supermarket!")

Related words:
– Prul: scrap, rag, piece of trash [noun] [de prul, de prullen].
– Mand: basket [noun] [de mand, de manden].

– "Liefie, waar staat onze picknickmand? Het is zulk mooi weer…"
("Sweetie, where’s our picnic basket? It’s such beautiful weather…")

– Bak: container, cask [noun] [de bak,de bakken].
– Papierversnipperaar: (paper) shredder [noun] [de papierversnipperaar, de papierversnipperaars].
– Vuilnis: garbage [noun] [het/de vuilnis, <no plural>].
Troep: mess, rubbish, junk [noun] [de troep, <no plural>].

8 thoughts on “Prullenbak

  1. I spotted a subtle error in the English above, but it’s worth pointing out because there is a clear difference between Dutch and English here.
    Brengen (always?) translates as ‘to take’. In English one never ‘brings one’s kids to school’ (unless you are a teacher there too) as the action of bringing in English is always towards oneself.
    Conversely, meenemen can often be translated as ‘to bring’, but not always! Sometimes it can mean ‘to take away’ or ‘to take along’.
    ‘Ik neem mijn kinderen naar school’, would be ‘I bring my children to school’, both which sound equally clumsy in both languages.

  2. @ Simon,
    I assume you are referring to “bring empty batteries” which should be “take empty batteries”?
    I’ve changed it now….thnx!

  3. Good post by Simon, but… 🙂
    I think the point is even more subtle and to do with place/circumstance of conversation. So, if Marc and Sander meet AT the recycling centre the converstaion would be “Do you always bring your batteries to the recycling centre Marc?”, “Yes, I always bring them here!”. You would never say “Yes, I always take them here” in this situation. Same for the children/school example.
    But, if they met at a cafe for example and the subject of battery recycling came up (what a boring conversation!), then the conversation would start “Do you always take your batteries to the recycling centre Marc?”.

  4. I have a question:
    I have trouble understanding when to use “zijn,” “zitten,” and “staan” in Dutch, when in English, we’d just use “to be” (i.e., “zijn”).
    This lesson gives the perfect example:
    “Onder mijn bureau staat een mooie roestvrijstalen prullenbak.”
    Could it be:
    “Onder mijn bureau zit een mooie roestvrijstalen prullenbak.”
    “Onder mijn bureau is er een mooie roestvrijstalen prullenbak.”
    If so, do they have different connotations? If not, can you explain how to use “zitten” and “staan,” and even “zijn” in these situations?

  5. @ Chris,
    Thanks for your comment. However, I think you are further qualifying exactly the point I am trying to make. You bring batteries here as they are then coming towards where you currently are. If you are at home you take them away from where you currently are to somewhere else.
    I still often hesitate in conversation wondering whether I should be using ‘brengen’ or ‘nemen’ or ‘meenemen’.

  6. @ Simon&Chris
    So, in conclusion 🙂 Have I used the right translation now?
    (“Who has thrown batteries in the waste-paper basket?! You, Marc? – “Have you gone out of your mind?! I always TAKE empty batteries to the blue recycle container in the supermarket!”)

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