on the way, en route, in transit, on the road
Every morning a lot of people are "onderweg" to work. The Dutch "wegen" are packed with "files" (traffic jams).
"Onderweg" literally translates to "underway": in progress.
– "Okee baas, ik ben onderweg."
("Okay boss, I’m on my way.")
– "Deze regering is een aanfluiting, we zijn in dit land onderweg naar totale chaos…"
("This government is a farce, we’re on our way to total chaos in this country…")
– "Er is altijd wel iemand onderweg naar iemand anders."
("There’s always somebody on his way to somebody else.")
– "We zijn te laat, het veer is al onderweg naar Texel."
("We’re too late, the ferry is already on its way to Texel.")
– Weg: way, road [noun] [de weg, de wegen].
Check out this clip: a song by the Dutch artist Abel. The song is called Onderweg. You may notice that Abel’s pronunciation is characterized by a ‘soft’ g, as most people have in the province of Noord-Brabant and Limburg 🙂
For the soapies: there are Dutch (competitive) soap operas on Dutch television: "Onderweg Naar Morgen – ONM" (broadcast on the public channel), and "Goede Tijden Slechte Tijden – GTST" (broadcast on a commercial channel). Literal translations are respectively "On the way to tomorrow" and "Good times bad times"…
I just wanted to point out that both “under way” (adverbial phrase) and “underway” (adjective) are perfectly good English, too. You seemed unsure. 🙂
“The plans were under way” (i.e., “have begun” or “are in progress”).
Interestingly, my dictionary suggests that the phrase actually comes from Dutch: “Etymology: probably from Dutch onderweg, from Middle Dutch onderwegen, literally, under or among the ways.”
Thanks for another great word!
I’ve also heard onderweg used in the phrase BVO, or “Biertje Voor Onderweg”. The English equivalent would be “one for the road”, meaning one last drink at the café/bar/pub before you leave.