1. to overtake/pass Iconspeaker_3
[in-ha-len, haal-de in, in-ge-haald]

Inhalen "Inhalen" has a few translations. Most common are "to overtake" and "making up for / catching up"; the latter is covered in 2. below. The verb can also be used figuratively when you are doing better than somebody who was previously superior to you.

Dutch traffic law mandates that overtaking can only be done on the left. Drivers that stay in the left lane while not overtaking are therefore a big nuisance to most people, especially when it is you that gets the fine when overtaking on the right!

– "Waarom haal je die sukkel niet rechts in?" – "Ja, ik ben gekke Henkie niet, straks krijg ik een boete!"
("Why don't you just overtake that idiot?" – "Like I'm stupid, what if I get the fine?!" Lit. ".., later I'll get the fine!")

– "Als ik jou was, zou ik beter je best doen voordat je wordt ingehaald door je collega's." 
("If I were you I would try harder before your colleagues surpass you.")

– "Inhalen verboden." 
("Overtaking prohibited.")

– "Verboden in te halen!" 
("Overtaking prohibited!")

– "Ik heb een hekel aan scholieren die naast elkaar fietsen; hoe moet ik nu inhalen?" 
("I hate pupils / (school) students who cycle next to one another; how am I supposed to pass them?")

– "Bij inhalen op een drukke weg moet je oppassen voor tegenliggers!" 
("When overtaking on a busy road one has to be aware of oncoming cars." Note that "tegenligger" can be used for any kind of oncoming traffic.)

Related words:
– Voorbijgaan:to pass/go by [verb] [ging voorbij, voorbijgegaan].
– Langs: along/past [adverb].

– "Waarom ga je er niet langs?!" – "Ja, je ziet toch dat ik er niet voorbij kan gaan!"
("Why don't you go past it?" – "Yeah right, can't you see I cannot pass by?!")

– Inhalig: greedy/grasping [adverb]. Derived from "inhalen" in its translation of "to draw/haul/take in".
– Inhaalverbod: overtaking prohibition, passing restriction [noun] [het verbod, de verboden].

2. to make up for, to catch up with Iconspeaker_3
[in-ha-len, haal-de in, in-ge-haald]

Klok Here "inhalen" is commonly used when making up for lost time, or catching up with activities.

– "Marc komt vandaag weer terug van vakantie." – "Gelukkig! Hij heeft heel wat achterstand in te halen wat betreft de audiobestanden!" 
("Marc is back from holiday today." – "That's good news! He has quite some catching up to do regarding the audio files!")

– "De leerling is lang ziek geweest en moet nu veel lessen inhalen." 
("The pupil was ill for a long time and now has to make up for the classes he/she missed.")

– "Ik ben blij dat we na al die jaren weer vrienden zijn! Kom op, we hebben heel wat in te halen!" 
("I'm happy we are friends again after all those years! Come on, we have quite some catching up to do!")

Related words:
– Achterstand: arrears, leeway, backlog [noun] [de achterstand, de achterstanden].
– Bij zijn: to have caught up with, to be back up to speed [verb] [was bij, bij geweest].

– "En, ben je weer helemaal bij?"
("So… are you back up to speed?")

3 thoughts on “Inhalen

  1. Interesting (well, to me at least) that in English we have the verb “overhaul” which can mean to travel past, or overtake.

  2. Still churning out quality, you fellows!
    Chris: I’ve never heard ‘to overhaul’ to mean ‘to overtake’. Is this American? To me it only means to completely rework something (like a car or a report).
    Sander: To overtake on the wrong side in English (rechts inhalen) is ‘to undertake’, and not like a funeral director does! Now I come to think of it you could easily say, “Don’t undertake or you’ll soon be needing the undertaker!”
    I’ve sometimes wondered when I tell my colleagues, ‘Ik haal jullie zo in’ when we’re going to lunch whether they think I mean that I’ll catch them up soon, or that I’ll overtake them soon. I guess the context dictates the meaning.

  3. @Simon
    Hi Simon, it could be American I suppose, but I have used and heard it here in the UK, but I’d fully agree that sense of reworking is more usual. I’ve a feeling that it may come from the nautical world.

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