rosy, bright, rose-coloured

rose-776966_640The literal translation of ‘rooskleurig’ is ‘rose-coloured’. Perhaps because there is no unique colour for roses, one encounters ‘rooskleurig’ more often in the figurative meaning of ‘reflecting optimism’, e.g. ‘een rooskleurige toekomst’: a bright future.

‘Rooskleurig’ is composed of the noun ‘roos’ and the adjective ‘kleurig’. The latter is not used often; in case of ‘many colours’ one rather uses ‘kleurrijk’, see the Related words below.

“Hoe gaat het met je?” – “Goed, heel erg goed kan ik wel zeggen; de toekomst ziet er rooskleurig uit!” 
(“How are you doing/feeling?” – “Fine/good, very good I may (even) say; the future is looking bright!”)

“De vooruitzichten voor economisch herstel zijn allesbehalve rooskleurig te noemen.” 
(“The prospects for economic recovery can be described as all but bright/rosy.”)

“We hebben veel tegenslagen moeten verwerken, maar we zien de doorstart van ons bedrijf rooskleurig tegemoet.” 
(“We have had to deal with many setbacks, but we await the new startup of our company in good spirits.” Note the use of the word ‘doorstart’; when a company goes bankrupt, however somehow manages to start over again shortly after bankruptcy (often in a different form), in Dutch this is called a ‘doorstart’. It’s derived from a plane aborting the landing just before it has reached the runway.)

Related words:
Roos: rose [noun] [de roos, de rozen].
– Kleur: colour [noun] [de kleur, de kleuren].
– Kleurig: colourful, full-coloured [adjective].
– Kleurrijk: colourful [adjective]. Contrary to ‘kleurig’, the adjective ‘kleurrijk’ can also be used figuratively, e.g. to describe a person’s character.
– Florissant: blooming, thriving [adjective]. One often encounters the negation: ‘Het ziet er niet florissant uit.’
– Fleurig: blooming, colourful [adjective]. Also figuratively in the meaning of ‘cheerful’.

Things to remember from this DWOTD
– The usage of ‘kleurig’ vs. ‘kleurrijk’;
– The meaning of ‘allesbehalve’;
– In which circumstances do the Dutch use the word ‘doorstart’.


barely, scarcely

The adverb ‘ternauwernood’ originated in the form ‘ter nauwer nood’. The adjective ‘nauw’ here has the meaning of ‘leaving very little space’, so that ‘ter nauwer nood’ is a situation of distress (‘nood’) you can hardly get out of (or avoid). (The adjective ‘nauw’ commonly translates as ‘narrow’. ‘Ter’ means ‘in the’ in this case). Later the three words were combined into one, and the meaning is now a more general ‘barely/scarcely’ or ‘just’ (as in ‘just made it’). However, one mostly uses ‘ternauwernood’ when there are somewhat serious consequences involved.

Note that ‘ter nauwer nood’ is an example of the use of the dative case in Dutch; the use of cases nowadays is rare and one mostly encounters its usage in fixed expressions/compounds.

“De impala wist ternauwernood aan de leeuw te ontkomen.” 
(“The impala barely escaped the lion.” Lit. “managed to barely escape the lion”. Note the verb ‘ontkomen aan’: to escape, to evade. In general one can translate ‘ternauwernood ontkomen’ as ‘it is/was a narrow escape’.)

“Ik heb ternauwernood de trein gehaald; als ik hem gemist had, dan was ik te laat gekomen op mijn sollicitatiegesprek.” – “Ja jongen, je had ook gewoon wat eerder van huis kunnen gaan hè; hoe vaak heeft mamma het nu al tegen je gezegd…” 
(“I barely caught the train; had I missed it I would have been late for my job interview.” – “Well my boy / son, or you could have (just as easily) left home a little bit earlier, well (am I right)? How many times has your mother told you this…”)

“Het echtpaar heeft de frontale botsing ternauwernood overleefd. Volgens de politie is het een wonder dat er niet meer slachtoffers zijn gevallen.” 
(“The married couple barely survived the head-on collision. The policy say it is a miracle that there are no further casualties.” Note that although somewhat redundant, it is common to use the verb ‘vallen’ when talking about victims or casualties as a result of some action.)

– “In het nauw zitten(/komen)”: to be(/end up) in a tight spot.

Related words:
– Nauw: narrow [adjective].
– Nauw: distress, tight spot/corner [noun] [het nauw, <no plural>].
– Nauwelijks: barely, hardly [adverb].

– “Hoe durf je zo te klagen; er zijn kinderen op deze wereld die nauwelijks genoeg te eten hebben!”
(“How dare you complain like this; there are children in this world who hardly have enough to eat!”)

– Nood: distress [noun] [de nood, de noden].
– Net: just, barely [adverb].

Things to remember from this DWOTD
– The meaning of ‘a frontale botsing’;
– The use of the verb ‘vallen’  in ‘er zijn slachtoffers gevallen’;
– The meaning of the adjective ‘nauw’ versus the noun ‘nauw’.

Vel over been

scrawny, all skin and bone
[vel o-ver been] 

dog-218110_640Literally ‘vel over been’ translates as ‘skin over bone’. It applies to situations where people or animals are dying of hunger and literally only have skin left. However, it can also be used to say that somebody is very very skinny, or scrawny, basically emphasizing how skinny the person is.

“Dat kind moet echt meer eten; ze is vel over been!” 
(“That girl should really eat more; she’s just too scrawny!” Although ‘kind’ translates as child it is often used to denote a girl. In case of a boy, one would more often use the word ‘jongen’.)

“Vorige week is er een man gearresteerd wegens dierenmishandeling. Ze lieten foto’s zien van zijn honden, stuk voor stuk (waren ze) vel over been!” 
(“Last week a man was arrested on charges of animal abuse. They showed pictures of his dogs, each and every one of them was all skin and bone!” Lit.: ‘… because of animal abuse.’)

“De meeste gevangenen die werden bevrijd waren vel over been, en voor sommigen kwam de hulp te laat.” 
(“Most prisoners who were liberated were all skin and bone, and for some help came too late.”)

“Sommige modellen zijn gewoon vel over been. Behalve dat dat helemaal een verkeerd signaal uitzendt naar tienermeisjes, is het ook nog eens superlelijk.”)
(“Some (fashion) models are just scrawny. Apart from the fact that this really sends a wrong signal to teenage girls, it is also extremely ugly!”)

Related words:
– Dun: thin [adjective].
Mager: thin, lean, meagre [adjective].
– Broodmager: very skinny [adjective].
– Skinny: skinny [adjective]. Contrary to ‘fat’ the word ‘skinny’ is sometimes used informally in its English meaning, e.g. “Ik vind haar leuk maar ze is mij een beetje te skinny.” (“I like her but she is a bit too skinny to my liking.” Note the construction ‘[personal pronoun] [conjugation of ‘zijn’] mij te [adjective]’: ‘[personal pronoun] [conjugation of ‘to be’] too [adjective] to my liking.’)
Honger: hunger [noun] [de honger, <no plural>].
– Hongerig: hungry [adjective].
– Verhongeren: to die of starvation, to die of hunger [verb] [verhongerde, verhongerd].
– Uithongeren: to starve (out) [verb] [uithongerde, uitgehongerd].


to stand in the cold (suffering), to be extremely cold
[blauw-bek-ken, blauw-bek-te, ge-blauw-bekt] 

girl-15715_640‘Blauwbekken’ is what you do when you’re standing outside in the cold shivering. However sometimes you can also use it in other situations, just to emphasize how cold you are!! The word ‘bek’ is slang for ‘mouth’ and sometimes even ‘face’. And I guess you can figure out ‘blauw’. If not, go outside without a jacket (if in NL) and come back in an hour 😉

‘Blauwbekken’ is used colloquially.

“Dimiter, wat ben je laat man!”- “Ja, en ik heb het ook nog koud, ik heb een half uur staan blauwbekken bij de tramhalte omdat de tram niet kwam opdagen!” 
(“Dimiter, you’re (really) late man!” – “Yeah, and I’m cold too, I stood in the cold for half an hour at the tramstop because the tram didn’t show!” Note that with the verb ‘blauwbekken’ it is not common to use the past participle, and one uses ‘staan’ instead which also indicates it was a prolonged activity.)

“Het is om te blauwbekken zo koud!”- “Ach, stel je toch niet zo aan!” 
(“It’s so cold it makes one ‘blauwbekken’ (‘turn blue’) !” – “Ah, don’t be a whimp!” Note the reflexive verb ‘zich aanstellen’ that you will hear used as in this example sentence but also variants such as ‘je stelt je aan!’. The related noun is ‘aansteller’. The first part of the example sentence shows the use of the common construction ‘het is om te [verb] zo [adjective]’: it’s so [adjective], it makes one [verb].)

“Catharina, mag ik van jou een sjaal lenen, en misschien ook een trui?”- “Hoezo, ben je bang dat je anders gaat blauwbekken vanavond?” 
(“Catharina, can you lend me a scarf, and perhaps also a jumper/sweater?” – “Why, are you afraid you will be standing in the cold tonight?” Lit.: “…can I borrow from you …”)

“Het duurt gewoon heel lang voordat ik het warm krijg! Ik lig zelfs in bed onder twee dekens nog een tijd te blauwbekken!” 
(“It just takes a very long time before I get warm! Even in bed under two blankets I’m still extremely cold for quite some time!”)

Related words:
– Kou(de): cold [noun] [de koude, <no plural>].
– Kou lijden: to suffer from the cold [verb] [leed kou, kou geleden].
– Bibberen: to shiver [verb] [bibberde, gebibberd].
– Rillen: to shiver, shudder [verb] [rilde, gerild].
– Klappertanden: to shiver with cold (with chattering teeth) [verb] [klappertandde, geklappertand].

Het was kielekiele

It was really really close
[het was kie-le-kie-le] 

When something was ‘kielekiele’ in Dutch it means it was a very close call, however with positive result. The present tense form (‘het is kielekiele’) can be used when the result is not yet known and that you can’t just tell yet.

You may also hear: ‘het was op het nippertje‘. The difference is that this expression takes on the meaning of ‘just making it’, ‘being just in time’ or ‘at the very last moment’, whereas ‘het was kielekiele’ is more generally used for a ‘close call’.

“Goede vlucht gehad?” – “Ja, maar ik had ‘m bijna gemist. Het was echt kielekiele. Ben zelfs omgeroepen!” – “Nou ja, dat meen je niet!” 
(“Did you have a good flight?” – “Yes, but I almost missed it. It was a very close call. They even announced my name!” – “No way, seriously?!” Lit.: “Was even announced!” – “…, that you don’t mean!”)

“Zo, dat was kielekiele man, waarom haal je zo dicht in??” 
(“Woah, that was close man, why do you overtake so close (to the other car)?”)

“Is de bal over de doellijn of niet?” – “Ik weet het niet, het is kielekiele. Wacht even op de herhaling…” 
(“Did the ball cross the (goal) line?” – “I don’t know, it’s a close call. Wait for the replay…”)

“Het was kielekiele, maar ik heb als één van de laatsten een iPhone 5 bemachtigd!” 
(“It was a close call, but I was one of the last to obtain an iPhone 5!”)

“Myriam, je hebt een 6, maar het was echt kielekiele. De volgende keer moet je je toets echt beter voorbereiden. Afgesproken?” 
(“Myriam, you got a 6, but it was really really close. Next time you have to prepare your test better. Deal?” Dutch test scores are at a scale from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest), with 6 a pass.)

– “Het was net aan”: it was just enough / we just made it.
– “Het was op het randje”: it was close. Lit.: ‘on the edge’, with ‘randje’ being the diminutive of ‘rand’: edge.
– “Het spant erom / het zal erom spannen”: it’s going to be a close call. Compare Spannend.

Related words:
Spannend: exciting, suspenseful [adjective].
– Opluchting: relief [noun] [de opluchting, de opluchtingen].

– “Wat een opluchting! Ik was bang dat je het niet zou redden!”
(“What a relief! I was afraid you wouldn’t make it!”)