row, fight, quarrel Iconspeaker_3
[de bon-je, <no plural>]

You can say that there is "bonje" somewhere, that people are having "bonje" or that there is "bonje" between people. It is not necessarily a row or fight, it can also be the state of people being heavily in disagreement, not talking to each other etc. It is in fact quite similar to "ruzie" but its usage is more informal.

– "Hoor je dat lawaai hiernaast? Volgens mij hebben de buren bonje." 
("Do you hear that noise next door? I think the neighbours are fighting.")

– "Het begon als een discussie, maar aan het eind van de middag was het toch echt bonje." 
("It started out as a debate, but at the end of the afternoon it became a real fight after all." Note that quite often a "discussie" in Dutch is more a debate/argument than a conversation.)

– "Kunnen Robert en Erica beter niet uit elkaar gaan; het is altijd bonje tussen die twee." 
("Shouldn’t Robert and Erica break up; they are always fighting / having arguments.")

– "Wat is er? Hebben jullie bonje?" 
("What’s wrong? Are you (guys) fighting?")

Related word:
– Ruzie: quarrel, row, argument, fight [noun] [de ruzie, de ruzies].

6 thoughts on “Bonje

  1. I always thought Dutch words ending with the inflection “-je” used “het” rather than “de” (c.f. “het meisje”). Please explain it’s “de bonje.” Thanks.

  2. Hi Jay, the rule is that diminutives have neuter gender, i.e. have the article “het”. Although diminutives always end with “tje” or “je”, not necessarily all words ending with “tje” or “je” are diminutives 🙂
    Another example would be “de franje” (“frills”).
    – Sander

  3. I wonder if the English phrase “I have a bone to pick with you” might be based on a corruption of bonje. I googled the expression and could not find any support for this, but I still wonder. And even more remotely, “make no bones about it” might be thought of as “make no arguments about it”, again based on a corruption of bonje.

  4. It strikes me as very similar to English (London?) ‘beef’.
    Such as: I think there’s beef between the neighbours: It started as a disagreement but turned into proper beef: Shouldn’t they break up, there’s always beef between them: What’s up? Beef?

  5. Maddie, according to, to have a bone to pick with someone (NL = een appeltje met iemand te schillen hebben) “dates back to the 16th century, simply refers to a dog chewing endlessly on, and “picking clean,” a large bone.” Your possible link sounds fun, but I’d be surprised if een bonje is 500 years old.

Comments are closed.