Kort van stof

brief, concise, to not say much
[Dutch phrase of the week]
[kort van stof] 

Common translations of the noun ‘stof’ are ‘dust’, ‘substance/material’, and ‘cloth/fabric’. The translation ‘material’ can also be used figuratively in which case it means ‘(subject) matter’. When somebody is ‘kort van stof’ (the phrase is used with the verb ‘zijn’), he or she does not use many words to describe the matter (hence ‘brief, concise’) or the person just doesn’t talk a whole lot (in general). The opposite is ‘lang van stof zijn’ (to be long-winded).

“Ik kan niet zo goed opschieten met de vader van mijn vriendin. Hij is altijd zo kort van stof, op het norse af.” 
(“I don’t get along very well with my girlfriend’s father. He never says much, he’s almost grumpy.” Note ‘opschieten met’; it can either mean ‘to make good progress with’ or ‘to get along well with (somebody)’. The construct ‘(het is) op het [adjective] af’ means that ‘it is bordering [adjective]’.)

“Ok, deze professor staat erom bekend dat hij de dingen kort en bondig uitlegt, maar ik vind hem wel heel erg kort van stof. Vorige week duurde het college maar 20 minuten!” 
(“Okay, so this professor is known for explaining things concisely, but I think he is _very_ brief. Last week the lecture lasted only 20 minutes!”)

“Ik krijg vaak de feedback dat ik wat korter van stof moet zijn als ik iets uitleg; men vindt mij dus vaak iets te lang van stof. Begrijp je wel, het schijnt dus zo te zijn dat ik te lang ergens over doorga, maar persoonlijk vind ik…” 
(“I often get the feedback that I have to be more concise when I explain something; so the general opinion is that I’m a bit long-winded. You know what I’m saying, so apparently it’s the case that I go on too long about something, but personally I think…” Note ‘men vindt’: literally ‘one thinks’ or ‘one is of the opinion…’)

“Vind jij ‘kort van stof zijn’ een goede, of een slechte eigenschap? Of heb je geen mening?” 
(“Do you think ‘being brief’ is a strength or a weakness? Or do you have no opinion?”)

– “Een man van weinig woorden”: lit. a man of few words, this is to describe a man who does not need many words to make his point. You can also use ‘vrouw’, but it is less common as a fixed expression.
– “Kort en bondig”: (brief and) to the point. This expression has a positive connotation.

Related words:
– Beknopt: concise, briefly-worded [adjective].
– Kort: short [adjective].
– Stof: material, subject matter [noun] [de stof, de stoffen]. (Plural form absent in case of ‘subject matter’ translation).


1. short [adjective, adverb] (qualification of length / distance)

– "In de winter zijn de dagen kort."
("During the winter, days are short.")

– "Dit is een korte DWOTD."
("This is a short DWOTD.")

– "Hoe was je weekend?" – "Veel te kort!"
("How was your weekend?" – "Way too short!")

– "Mijn broek is te kort!"
("My pants are too short!")

"Aan het kortste eind trekken": to lose, literally: "to pull the shortest end".

2. brief [adjective, adverb] (qualification of time period)

– "Ik hou het kort."
("I’ll keep it brief/short.")

– "Frank hield een korte presentatie voor het management."
("Frank held a brief presentation for the management.")

Related words:
– "Korten": to shorten, to cut (financially).
– "Inkorten": to shorten (of trousers for example), to cut down, to abbreviate.
– "Lang": long.
– "Klein": small.

The word "kort" appeared earlier in "DWOTD 38. Tram".