Je zal ze de kost moeten geven!

(a lot) more people than you may think
[je zal ze de kost moe-ten ge-ven] 

college-football-183266_640The noun ‘kost’ is the singular form of ‘kosten’: costs, expenses. In this meaning, the plural form is most common. The singular form ‘kost’ however is more commonly used in the meaning of ‘food’ (that you need on a daily basis). One may ask you for example (informally): ‘Wat doe jij voor de kost?’ (‘What do you do for a living?’).

The expression ‘Je zal ze de kost moeten geven’ translates as: ‘Imagine (/what if) you would have to feed them (on a daily basis)!’, and is used to say that one must not underestimate the number of people who (would) do a particular thing. In other words: ‘A lot more people than you may think!’.

You may also encounter this expression in the form ‘Ik zou ze niet graag de kost willen geven.’ Both examples are often followed by a sentence of the form: ‘…die […]’, see the Examples below.

“Je zal ze de kost moeten geven die vergeten uit te checken bij het verlaten van de tram!” 
(“A lot more people than you may think forget to check out when exiting the tram.” This example refers to the use of the ‘OV-chipcard’ in Dutch public transport.)

“Wordt er echt zo veel gestolen op het werk?” – “Wat dacht je! Je zal ze de kost moeten geven die pennen of een pak papier mee naar huis nemen!” 
(“Is stealing at the work floor really common practice?”- “You bet! Don’t underestimate the number of people who take pens or (a pack of) paper home!” Literally: “Is there really that much stealing at work?”)

“Ik zou ze niet graag de kost willen geven die hun goede voornemens voor het nieuwe jaar al na een week op de lange baan schuiven.” 
(“There are really a lot of people who, already after one week (into the new year), postpone (and potentially cancel) their New Year’s resolutions.” Note the expression ‘Iets op de lange baan schuiven’: to postpone (for an implied longer period of time), often leading to cancellation of the plans.)

“Ik vind het ongelofelijk hoeveel mensen links blijven rijden op de snelweg.” – “Nou, je zal ze de kost moeten geven!” 
(“I think it’s incredible how many people keep left on the highway/motorway.” – “Exactly, a lot of people…” In the Netherlands the rule is that one should keep right so that others can overtake; overtaking on the right is not allowed.)

Related words:
– Kost: cost/expense, or ‘daily portion of food’ [noun] [de kost, plural ‘kosten’ only for ‘cost’].
– Eten: common noun for ‘food’ in daily and social context [noun] [het eten, <no plural>].
– Voedsel: synonym for ‘eten’, however used for ‘anything edible in general’ [noun] [het voedsel, <no plural>].
– Mensen: people [noun] [de mensen]. Dutch noun for ‘a people’ is ‘volk’.
– Veel: many/much [adjective].

Things to remember from this DWOTD
– ‘Kost’ in the meaning of ‘cost/expense’ is mostly used in the plural form ‘kosten’. There are many expressions in which ‘kost’ means ‘(daily portion of) food’;
– Difference between ‘eten’ and ‘voedsel’;
– Meaning of the phrase ‘Wat doe jij voor de kost?’.
– Meaning of the expression ‘Iets op de lange baan schuiven’.


rosy, bright, rose-coloured

rose-776966_640The literal translation of ‘rooskleurig’ is ‘rose-coloured’. Perhaps because there is no unique colour for roses, one encounters ‘rooskleurig’ more often in the figurative meaning of ‘reflecting optimism’, e.g. ‘een rooskleurige toekomst’: a bright future.

‘Rooskleurig’ is composed of the noun ‘roos’ and the adjective ‘kleurig’. The latter is not used often; in case of ‘many colours’ one rather uses ‘kleurrijk’, see the Related words below.

“Hoe gaat het met je?” – “Goed, heel erg goed kan ik wel zeggen; de toekomst ziet er rooskleurig uit!” 
(“How are you doing/feeling?” – “Fine/good, very good I may (even) say; the future is looking bright!”)

“De vooruitzichten voor economisch herstel zijn allesbehalve rooskleurig te noemen.” 
(“The prospects for economic recovery can be described as all but bright/rosy.”)

“We hebben veel tegenslagen moeten verwerken, maar we zien de doorstart van ons bedrijf rooskleurig tegemoet.” 
(“We have had to deal with many setbacks, but we await the new startup of our company in good spirits.” Note the use of the word ‘doorstart’; when a company goes bankrupt, however somehow manages to start over again shortly after bankruptcy (often in a different form), in Dutch this is called a ‘doorstart’. It’s derived from a plane aborting the landing just before it has reached the runway.)

Related words:
Roos: rose [noun] [de roos, de rozen].
– Kleur: colour [noun] [de kleur, de kleuren].
– Kleurig: colourful, full-coloured [adjective].
– Kleurrijk: colourful [adjective]. Contrary to ‘kleurig’, the adjective ‘kleurrijk’ can also be used figuratively, e.g. to describe a person’s character.
– Florissant: blooming, thriving [adjective]. One often encounters the negation: ‘Het ziet er niet florissant uit.’
– Fleurig: blooming, colourful [adjective]. Also figuratively in the meaning of ‘cheerful’.

Things to remember from this DWOTD
– The usage of ‘kleurig’ vs. ‘kleurrijk’;
– The meaning of ‘allesbehalve’;
– In which circumstances do the Dutch use the word ‘doorstart’.


barely, scarcely

The adverb ‘ternauwernood’ originated in the form ‘ter nauwer nood’. The adjective ‘nauw’ here has the meaning of ‘leaving very little space’, so that ‘ter nauwer nood’ is a situation of distress (‘nood’) you can hardly get out of (or avoid). (The adjective ‘nauw’ commonly translates as ‘narrow’. ‘Ter’ means ‘in the’ in this case). Later the three words were combined into one, and the meaning is now a more general ‘barely/scarcely’ or ‘just’ (as in ‘just made it’). However, one mostly uses ‘ternauwernood’ when there are somewhat serious consequences involved.

Note that ‘ter nauwer nood’ is an example of the use of the dative case in Dutch; the use of cases nowadays is rare and one mostly encounters its usage in fixed expressions/compounds.

“De impala wist ternauwernood aan de leeuw te ontkomen.” 
(“The impala barely escaped the lion.” Lit. “managed to barely escape the lion”. Note the verb ‘ontkomen aan’: to escape, to evade. In general one can translate ‘ternauwernood ontkomen’ as ‘it is/was a narrow escape’.)

“Ik heb ternauwernood de trein gehaald; als ik hem gemist had, dan was ik te laat gekomen op mijn sollicitatiegesprek.” – “Ja jongen, je had ook gewoon wat eerder van huis kunnen gaan hè; hoe vaak heeft mamma het nu al tegen je gezegd…” 
(“I barely caught the train; had I missed it I would have been late for my job interview.” – “Well my boy / son, or you could have (just as easily) left home a little bit earlier, well (am I right)? How many times has your mother told you this…”)

“Het echtpaar heeft de frontale botsing ternauwernood overleefd. Volgens de politie is het een wonder dat er niet meer slachtoffers zijn gevallen.” 
(“The married couple barely survived the head-on collision. The policy say it is a miracle that there are no further casualties.” Note that although somewhat redundant, it is common to use the verb ‘vallen’ when talking about victims or casualties as a result of some action.)

– “In het nauw zitten(/komen)”: to be(/end up) in a tight spot.

Related words:
– Nauw: narrow [adjective].
– Nauw: distress, tight spot/corner [noun] [het nauw, <no plural>].
– Nauwelijks: barely, hardly [adverb].

– “Hoe durf je zo te klagen; er zijn kinderen op deze wereld die nauwelijks genoeg te eten hebben!”
(“How dare you complain like this; there are children in this world who hardly have enough to eat!”)

– Nood: distress [noun] [de nood, de noden].
– Net: just, barely [adverb].

Things to remember from this DWOTD
– The meaning of ‘a frontale botsing’;
– The use of the verb ‘vallen’  in ‘er zijn slachtoffers gevallen’;
– The meaning of the adjective ‘nauw’ versus the noun ‘nauw’.

Vel over been

scrawny, all skin and bone
[vel o-ver been] 

dog-218110_640Literally ‘vel over been’ translates as ‘skin over bone’. It applies to situations where people or animals are dying of hunger and literally only have skin left. However, it can also be used to say that somebody is very very skinny, or scrawny, basically emphasizing how skinny the person is.

“Dat kind moet echt meer eten; ze is vel over been!” 
(“That girl should really eat more; she’s just too scrawny!” Although ‘kind’ translates as child it is often used to denote a girl. In case of a boy, one would more often use the word ‘jongen’.)

“Vorige week is er een man gearresteerd wegens dierenmishandeling. Ze lieten foto’s zien van zijn honden, stuk voor stuk (waren ze) vel over been!” 
(“Last week a man was arrested on charges of animal abuse. They showed pictures of his dogs, each and every one of them was all skin and bone!” Lit.: ‘… because of animal abuse.’)

“De meeste gevangenen die werden bevrijd waren vel over been, en voor sommigen kwam de hulp te laat.” 
(“Most prisoners who were liberated were all skin and bone, and for some help came too late.”)

“Sommige modellen zijn gewoon vel over been. Behalve dat dat helemaal een verkeerd signaal uitzendt naar tienermeisjes, is het ook nog eens superlelijk.”)
(“Some (fashion) models are just scrawny. Apart from the fact that this really sends a wrong signal to teenage girls, it is also extremely ugly!”)

Related words:
– Dun: thin [adjective].
Mager: thin, lean, meagre [adjective].
– Broodmager: very skinny [adjective].
– Skinny: skinny [adjective]. Contrary to ‘fat’ the word ‘skinny’ is sometimes used informally in its English meaning, e.g. “Ik vind haar leuk maar ze is mij een beetje te skinny.” (“I like her but she is a bit too skinny to my liking.” Note the construction ‘[personal pronoun] [conjugation of ‘zijn’] mij te [adjective]’: ‘[personal pronoun] [conjugation of ‘to be’] too [adjective] to my liking.’)
Honger: hunger [noun] [de honger, <no plural>].
– Hongerig: hungry [adjective].
– Verhongeren: to die of starvation, to die of hunger [verb] [verhongerde, verhongerd].
– Uithongeren: to starve (out) [verb] [uithongerde, uitgehongerd].

Een teken van leven

a sign of life
[een te-ken van le-ven]

sand-181273_640Hallo allemaal!

I thought I would give you a small sign of life before everybody thinks I decided to quit the DWOTD 🙂 My goal is still to produce 3 posts a week, however the last few months have been completely dominated by major changes in my private life. All positive changes by the way, I started my own business and bought my own place. The latter is being renovated as we speak, and boy it takes a lot of time. And I’m not doing any of the renovation myself, ‘kun je nagaan!’ (‘go figure / imagine that!’).

I’m moving house in a couple of weeks 🙂 I’ll keep the blog alive but it will be a while before I’m able to post more often. And while I’m writing this anyway, I’ll throw in a few example sentences.

Tot snel!

“Lieve schat, we hebben al een tijdje niets van je gehoord. Zou je alsjeblieft een teken van leven willen geven? Veel liefs, mamma.”
(“Darling, we haven’t heard from you for a while. Will you please give us a sign of life? (Lots of) love, mom.” Some people write ‘mama’. It is however always pronounced ‘mamma’.)

“Het is nu een week geleden dat de overstroming heeft plaatsgevonden en er zijn in het dorp geen tekenen van leven meer waargenomen.”
(“It’s been a week since the flood took place and no signs of life have been detected/recorded anymore in the village.”)

“Heeft Martijn uiteindelijk nog gereageerd op de e-mail?” – “Nee, geen enkel teken van leven! Dat is niets voor hem, zou er wat aan de hand zijn?”
(“Did Martijn respond to the email after all?” – “No, no sign of life at all! That’s not like him, I wonder if something is wrong.”)

“Eindelijk een teken van leven van Sarah! Wat een opluchting, we begonnen ons ernstig zorgen te maken!”
(“Finally a sign of life from Sarah! What a relieve, we started to get really worried!” Literally ‘(zich) zorgen maken’ is ‘to make worries’.)

Related words:
– Teken: sign [noun] [het teken, de tekenen/tekens]. ‘Tekenen’ is the plural form for ‘teken’ in the meaning of ‘symptom, phenomenon, evidence’. ‘Tekens’ is the plural form in case of symbols.
– Leven: life [noun] [het leven, de levens].

– “Hoeveel levens heb je nog?” – “Dit is mijn laatste dus het is bijna ‘game over’.”
(“How many lives do you have left?” – “This is my last so it’s almost ‘game over’!”)

– Bericht: message, notice [noun] [het bericht, de berichten].
– Stil: quiet [adjective].
Bezorgd: worried [adjective].