1. cotton pad, wad of cotton wool [noun] [het watje, de watjes] [‘wa-tju’] Iconspeaker_klein

hand-768558_640A “watje” is the pad that you remove your make-up with or clean your ears with, or what you use when cleaning a wound or stemming the blood flow when one of your wisdomtooth has just been removed. “Watje” is the singular diminutive of the plural “watten”, which can be translated as “cotton wadding” or “batting”.

– “Ik vind het heerlijk om elke avond mijn make-up te verwijderen met een watje!”
(“I love removing my make-up every night with a cotton pad”.)

– “De wattenstaafjes zijn weer op; haal je even nieuwe bij Etos?”
(“We ran out of cotton buds / Q-tips again; will you get new ones at Etos?” Lit.: “The cotton-buds are finished again,.. “)

– “We hebben het matras opgevuld met watten.”
(“We’ve stuffed the mattress with batting.”)

-“De dokter op de spoedeisende hulp stopte het bloeden van haar knie met bloedstelpende watten.”
(“The doctor at the emergency room stopped the bleeding of her knee with styptic cotton.” Note that the emergency ward was previously called “Eerste Hulp” (“First Aid”). The name was changed to “spoedeisende hulp” (lit.: speed demanding help) . Since the Dutch health system includes general practitioners (“huisartsen“), people should only go to the “spoedeisende hulp” when there is an emergency. If not, they should visit their general practitioner. Many hospitals have a general practitioner’s ward (“huisartsenpost”) and a emergency ward (“spoedeisende hulp post”) to prevent people with non-emergency complaints to get in the way of patients that need emergency aid.)

– “Als haar vriend jarig is, legt ze hem in de watten.”
(“She pampers her boyfriend on his birthday.”)

2. sissy, wimp [noun] [het watje, de watjes] [‘wa-tju’] Iconspeaker_klein

Another meaning of “watje” – maybe because of its nice soft fluffiness – is “sissy” or “wimp”. Friends can use it amongst each other without being too offended.

– “Hij steunt zijn eigen collega’s nooit; hij is zo’n watje!”
(“He never backs his own colleagues; he’s such a wimp!”)

Related words:
Now that we’re talking terms of abuse, let me give you some more – I’ll stick to the acceptable ones (starting with the least harmful one):
– “Doetje”:  an outdated word for “softy”, no-one will be really offended when called a “doetje”, but rather laugh at you.
– “Sukkel”: is still used for an idiot or clumsy person (mostly boys). The related verb is “sukkelen” which is often used when referring to someone who’s suffering from diseases (“hij sukkelt met zijn gezondheid” means “he’s in ill-health”).
– “Trut”: is only used for girls and means something like “cow”, “goat”. It is often accompanied by “stom” (“stupid”), as in “stomme trut!” (“stupid cow”).
– “Mietje”: is used to offend boys or men by calling them a “sissy”. The following dubious expression exists in Dutch: “Laten we elkaar geen mietje noemen” which means “Let’s call a spade a spade”.
– “Loser”: no explanation needed.
– “Eikel”: (here’s where the genitals come in) “idiot” or “oaf”.
– “(Kloot)zak”: (another genital) “sucker”.

4 thoughts on “Watje

  1. “Mietje” is derived from “sodomietje”, the diminutive of “sodomiet”: sodomite. It is slang for a homosexual, but nowadays more commonly used in the meaning of “watje” (unless the person you address is actually a homosexual in which case you might prefer to use “watje”).

  2. Hi Garry,
    thanks for your comment. The dictionary gives the translations “tit” and “wally”, but I have to say “sissy” sounds more familiar to me.

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