Een kort lontje hebben

to have a short fuse, to be short-tempered [Dutch phrase of the week] Iconspeaker_3

This expression is the literal translation of "to have a short fuse". It is a quality of a person (or group), who is quickly aroused to anger. Of course, the expression refers to the fact that explosives with a short fuse go off (too) quickly.Lontje

– "De mensen hebben tegenwoordig zo’n kort lontje…ongelofelijk." 
("People are so short-tempered nowadays…incredible.")

– "Waarom is Frank zo chagrijnig? Hij heeft een erg kort lontje vandaag…" 
("Why is Frank so cranky? He’s very short-tempered today…")

– "Met het verkeerde been uit bed stappen": to get up on the wrong side of the bed. Lit.: "to get out of bed with the wrong leg".
– "Snel op z’n pik getrapt zijn": to be short-tempered. Lit.: to be quickly stepped upon one’s dick.

– "Als je iets zegt over Marcs bierbuik, is hij redelijk snel op z’n pik getrapt…"
("When you mention something about Marc’s beerbelly, he’s gets angry quite quickly.")

Related words:
Boos: angry [adjective].
Mopperen: to grumble [verb] [mopperde, gemopperd].
– Opvliegend: hot-tempered [adjective].
– Heetgebakerd: hotheaded [adjective].

– "De politie heeft de heetgebakerde bullebak onmiddellijk gearresteerd."
("The police have arrested the hotheaded bully immediately.")

A few years ago, there was a tv-campaign by the SIRE foundation, which tried to make people aware of having a too short "lontje". SIRE tries to create public awareness on social topics which deserve more attention.

In the mid-nineties, there was a tv-campaign that warned against unsafe use of fireworks. The slogan was "Door dat te korte lontje, heb ik nu een hondje": (lit.) "due to that short fuse, I have little dog now" (i.e. a guide-dog). Of course, in English there’s no rhyme…:-)

2 thoughts on “Een kort lontje hebben

  1. Iemand heeft me verteld dat “zo’n” in Belgie gebruikelijk is, en dat in Nederland “zulke” is gebruiken. Is dit waar?
    Ik vraag maar omdat ik “zo’n” in het voorbeeld heb gezien.
    “Due to my irascibility, I now have a guide dog to see.”

  2. @ Ben
    I think both “zo’n” and “zulk(e)/zulke (een)” are commonly used in the Netherlands, but I would rather say that “zulk een” is slightly more used in Belgium and “zo’n” more in the Netherlands, but that’s just a (Dutch) guess…

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