Jammer maar helaas!

(That’s just) too bad… Iconspeaker_3 Disappointment
[Dutch phrase of the week]

When you combine "jammer" ("pity", "too bad") and "helaas" ("alas", "regrettably") in this phrase, you do not only show disappointment, but you also indicate that you accept that it is just the way it is…

– "Het Nederlands vrouwenelftal heeft gisteren de halve finale verloren van Engeland. Ze zijn ver gekomen, maar het mocht niet zo zijn… Jammer maar helaas!" 
("The Dutch women soccer team lost the semi finals against England yesterday. They got really far (into the tournament), but it was not meant to be… Too bad, but that’s just the way it is!")

– "Uiteindelijk heeft Frank de deal niet kunnen sluiten. Het zag er goed uit, maar ketste op het laatste moment af… Jammer maar helaas!" 
("Eventually Frank was not able to close the deal. It looked good, but at the last moment it fell apart. That’s just too bad!" Literally: "at the last moment it bounced off.")

– "Ik had op Funda een leuk huis gezien maar toen ik de makelaar belde, bleek het al verkocht te zijn. Jammer maar helaas!" 
("I spotted a nice house at Funda, but when I called the real estate agent, (it appeared that) the house was already sold… What a pity (but these things happen)!")

– "Helaas pindakaas!": too bad! (Informal. Literally it says: "alas, peanut butter!". We have no clue who started it 🙂 )

Related words:
– Jammer: too bad, (a) pity, shame [interjection, adjective].
– Helaas: alas, sadly, regrettably [interjecion, adverb].
– Teleurstelling: disappointment [noun] [de teleurstelling, de teleurstellingen].

2 thoughts on “Jammer maar helaas!

  1. I think the “Helaas pindakaas” comes from a commercial from Calvé (long ago). At least, that’s what previous colleagues told me.

  2. Although I get where the thought comes from, it’s not from a TV commercial. It just a catchphrase that started somewhere in the eighties. It’s just because it rhymes that people started using it, mainly in youth cultures.

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