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key-533553_640“Kwijt” is a predicate adjective, which means that it modifies the subject like other descriptive adjectives, but it must follow a linking verb in a sentence, mostly (a conjugation of) the verb “zijn” (:to be).

“Kwijt” is also often used in conjunction with the verb “raken”, which comes from “geraken”, which translates to “to end up”. Hence “kwijtraken” literally translates to “to end up lost”: to lose.

– “Ik ben zijn naam kwijt, en dat is geen smoes.” 
(“I’ve forgotten his name, and that’s no cheap excuse.”)

– “De jonge moeder was helemaal in paniek nadat ze haar zoontje was kwijtgeraakt.” 
(“The young mother completely panicked after she had lost her little boy.”)

– “Waarom is Frank zo laat?” – “Geloof het of niet, maar hij is de weg kwijt…” 
(“Why is Frank this late?” – “Believe it or not, but he got lost (on his way)…”)

– “Zo, die sukkel zijn we kwijt! Toedeledoki!” 
(“There, we got rid of that sucker! Bye bye!”)

– “(Volledig) de weg kwijt zijn”: to be (completely) lost.
– “In de war”: confused.

– “Mijn oma is helderziende en heeft voorspellende gaven.” – “Nee gast, jouw oma is gewoon een beetje in de war…”
(“My grandmother is clairvoyant and has a foreseeing gift.” – “No dude, your grandmother is just a little confused…”)

Related words:
– Verdwalen: to get lost [verb] [verdwalen, verdwaalde, i. verdwaald].
– Verliezen: to lose [verb] [verliezen, verloor, i./h. verloren].

– “Ik ben mijn autosleutels verloren…”
(“I’ve lost my car keys…”)
Note that you could also say: “Ik ben mijn autosleutels kwijt”, which would also translate to “I’ve lost my car keys”, or – more subtle – :”I can’t seem to find my car keys”. The subtlety is in the fact that “Ik ben mijn autosleutels kwijt” implies that you haven’t lost you keys yet, but you just can’t find them.

2 thoughts on “Kwijt

  1. I love the subtlety of not having lost your car keys just yet! It reminds me of using the reflexive with lost in Spanish, where the sentence ‘Mis llaves me perdió’ translates literally to something like ‘My keys lost themselves on me’, thus transferring the fault to the keys. 🙂

  2. I usually translate kwijt in my mind as misplaced. So, “I’ve misplaced my car keys”, which indeed suggests that they are somewhere but not yet completely lost.
    I use this word a lot, maybe I’m forgetful! Often I get half way through constructing a lovely Dutch sentence and suddenly have to say, “err, ik ben even een woord kwijt!”

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