monkey [noun] [de aap, de apen] Iconspeaker_3

Even though there is not a single "aap" to be found in the Netherlands (other than in zoos obviously), there is a lot of "aap" related vocabulary. I don’t think this DWOTD is complete, so readers are invited to comment 🙂

Note that although there is a distinction between a "monkey" and an "ape", it is common in spoken Dutch to refer to both as "apen". If you want to be specific, say "mensaap" in the case of an "ape".

– "Heb jij wel eens een aap in het wild gezien?" 
("Have you ever seen a monkey in the wild?")

– "Aap, noot, mies…" 
("Monkey, nut, mies." First three words of the traditional reading board ("leesplankje") used in the Netherlands end of the 19th century till mid 20th century (is my guess). See the picture above.)

– "Een aap die geen bananen eet." 
("A monkey that does not eat bananas." This is a memory aid to help you tune your (regular 6 string) guitar. Take the first letter of each word: E-A-D-G-B-E.")Katja_apekoppen

– "Madelon is gek op apekoppen." 
("Madelon really likes ‘apekoppen’." Dutch people in general like liquorice ("drop") and many different kinds are for sale, for example ‘apekoppen’ ("monkey heads"). Note that one should write "apenkoppen" according to the most recent spelling rules.)

– "Apen maken handig gebruik van lianen." 
("Monkeys make clever use of lianes.")

– "Daar komt de aap uit de mouw": the truth is revealed, the real intentions become clear, etc.. Literally "there the monkey comes out of the sleeve".
– "Voor aap staan": to be made a fool of, to look a right monkey. When you do this to somebody, the expression becomes "iemand voor aap zetten".
– "In de aap gelogeerd zijn": to be in a fix, to be up the creek (shit creek without a paddle if you so prefer 🙂 ). Allegedly, there once was an inn called "de aap" in Amsterdam, and it was really really bad. (The verb "logeren" means "to stay (at), to spend the night".)
– "Brutale/lelijke aap!": literally ‘cheeky/ugly monkey’, this is used to address (very) insolent children.

Related words:
– Mensaap: ape [noun] [de mensaap, de mensapen].
Na-apen: to imitate, mimic [verb] [aapte na,nageaapt].

There is a zoo in the Netherlands near the town of Apeldoorn that is dedicated to monkeys and apes. It is called the "Apenheul" and is a popular family-with-kids outing.

One thought on “Aap

  1. Al draagt een aap een gouden ring, het is en blijft een lelijk ding: ‘You cannot make a silk purse from a sow’s ear”

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