1. scum [noun] [het tuig, no plural] Iconspeaker_3

"Tuig" has several meanings. It is most commonly used to describe a group of scumbags. It can also be used as an adjective (see Examples). In the seventies, the expression "langharig werkschuw tuig" ("long-haired workshy riff-raff") was used frequently to describe everyone who wasn't willing to work or had a different interpretation of working (musicians, etc.). Nowadays, every Dutch person will still understand what you mean.

-" Mijn buurvrouw hoopt dat het kraakverbod wordt aangenomen. Ze vindt alle krakers werkschuw tuig." 
(" My neighbour hopes that the law prohibiting squatting will pass. She thinks all squatters are workshy scum.")

-"Dat tuig heeft in alle auto's in mijn straat ingebroken." 
("Those scumbags broke in in all cars in my street.")

– "Hij heeft dat arme omaatje zomaar in haar gezicht geslagen. Hij is tuig." 
("He beat that poor little grandma in her face just like that. He is scum." Please note that "omaatje" is the dimunitive of "oma".)

– "Tuig van de richel": scum of the earth. Lit.: scum of the (l)edge.Tuig_2_3

– "Hooligans zijn echt tuig van de richel".
("Hooligans are really the scum of the earth".)

The picture belongs to a Hyves-group with the name "Tuig van de richel".

Related verbs are "optuigen" and "aftuigen". Both verbs were originally (and still are) used in the sense of "to harness" and "to unharness" a horse. Although the verb "aftuigen" is still used in this sense, nowadays, its most common use is "to beat up someone". "Optuigen" can also be used in the meaning "to decorate".

– "Ik ga de kerstboom optuigen, haal jij de ballen?"
("I am going to decorate the Christmas tree, will you fetch the baubles?")
– "Dat tuig heeft gisteren mijn buurman afgetuigd."
("That scum beat up my neighbour yesterday.")

2. harness, gear [noun] [het tuig, no plural] Iconspeaker_3

The second meaning of "tuig" is "harness" that you put on your horse (see picture).Tuig_paard

-" Ik heb een nieuw tuig voor mijn paard gekocht."
("I bought a new harness for my horse.")

-" Een blindengeleidehonde heeft vaak ook een tuigje om zodat zijn baas zijn bewegingen kan volgen."
("A guide dog (for the blind) also often has a harness so that his boss can follow his movements." Please note that "blindengeleidehond" literally means "blind-guidance-dog".)

Related words:
– Optuigen: to harness, to decorate [verb] [tuigde op, opgetuigd].
– Aftuigen: to unharness, to beat up [verb] [tuigde af, afgetuigd].
– Werktuig: equipment [noun] [het werktuig, de werktuigen].

8 thoughts on “Tuig

  1. Thanks for this. “Scum” is a word that I have to use all too frequently in English…:-)

  2. Thanks for your comments!
    I changed the omaatje – my mistake. The rules are a bit odd in this respect: all vowels double in diminutives except for the y (baby becomes baby’tje) and the i (taxi becomes taxietje).

  3. In the first example you translate werkschuw (literally, I guess) as “workshy”. In my New Oxford American Dictionary workshy is hyphenated: “work-shy.” So, we understand from your example that the woman doesn’t like squatters because they don’t work. It’s all perspective, I guess, but there are other appropriate synonyms: “lazy” or “idle.” What are Dutch synonyms for “werkschuw”?

  4. TUIG is also a description for parts of a sailing boat.
    Specifically , TUIGAGE all parts that make up the sailing system or rigging
    Mast, sails, stays, boom, sheet, etc.
    Further typing is done with TorenTUIG, GaffelTUIG and many more description of different forms of rigging.

  5. I’m interested to know what the connection might be to “vliegtuig”; flying…harness? scumbag? rigging? None of these sounds very likely.
    Also, thanks so much for this brilliant site. I really look forward to getting my word every day.

  6. @Jay – Hi Jay, I think that in this example Laura deliberately refers to the expression from the 70s that she mentioned in the introduction.
    I can’t think of any direct synonyms for “werkschuw”. The more general “lazy” however translates as “lui” (which is a very common word). A good expression is “luie donder”, used for deliberately lazy persons.
    Groeten – Sander

  7. @John – Hey John, “tuig” can also mean “equipment” or “material” and I think it is used in that meaning in words such as “vliegtuig” (“aircraft”), “oorlogstuig” (“armaments”) and “werktuig” (“machine/tool”).

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