250 Dutch Proverbs – lesson 10

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Welcome to my video course “250 Dutch Proverbs”. I made a selection of proverbs and sayings that anyone who learns Dutch should know. The course consists of 25 lessons. In each lesson, I explain the meaning of 10 proverbs or sayings.Subtitles are available for each lesson. You just push the CC button in YouTube. The transcript of the lesson you find on Learndutch.org.

Let’s start with lesson 10, containing proverbs 91-100.

Proverb 91 “iemand gouden bergen beloven”

Literally: to promiss golden mountains to someone. We use this expression in case of a promiss that is too good to be true. It is typically used in a situation when someone convinces the other one of starting a business collaboration, with the perspective of getting rich. Of course, a golden mountain promiss usually never comes true.

Proverb 92 “dat spreekt boekdelen”

Literally: it says bookparts. The meaning is that something is clear in itself, it doesn’t need words to be explained. It is often used in combination with the word face: “zijn gezicht spreekt boekdelen”. Here is meant, that the expression of his face says everything. No words needed to explain his emotion.

Proverb 93 “voor een dubbeltje op de eerste rij willen zitten”

A “dubbeltje” was a 10-cent coin in the time that guilders were used in the Netherlands (before the introduction of the Euro). The literal translation is: the desire to sit in the first row for a 10-cent coin. You use it when you want a maximum benefit for a minimum cost. Usually impossible. As such, this expression often is used to stress certain price-value combinations are unrealistic. You won’t find a 5-star hotel in the center of Amsterdam for 50 euro. And if you find a 2-star hotel for this money, you should not complain if the level is not too high.

Proverb 94 “maak dat de kat wijs”

Literally: fool the cat. An English equivalent: tell it to the Marines. In other words, I don’t believe you.

Proverb 95 “een kind kan de was doen”

Literally: a kid can do the washing. The meaning is: it is extremely easy. Anyone can can do it. No skills needed. And the origin of this expression is a slogan in an advertisement for the first generation washing machines in 1894.

Proverb 96 “wie een kuil graaft voor een ander, valt er zelf in”

Literally: whoever digs a pit, will fall into it. The origin of this expression is the bible. The meaning is that if you try to cheat someone, you often become the victim yourself.

Proverb 97 “wie het laatst lacht, lacht het best”

Literally: he who laughs last, laughs best. This proverb is the same as in English. The meaning is that the one who has the advantage in the end is most successful, even if it originally seemed that other people would take that advantage. This proverb is used mostly in contests, when one is on the winning side, but then being beaten by an other one. Especially if the one who seemed to be winning first, was already celebrating his victory.

Proverb 98 “een gewaarschuwd mens telt voor twee”

Literally: a man forewarned is as good as two. An English equivalent is forewarned is forearmed. The meaning is that advance warning provides an advantage. It will be easier to overcome difficulties, if you know in advance what you can expect.

Proverb 99 “met zijn neus in de boter vallen”

Literally: to fall with his nose into the butter. The expression is used when you enter somewhere exactly on the right moment to have a certain benefit. For example, you enter your friend’s house exactly on the moment they put a pie on the table. They will say to you: je valt met je neus in de boter.

Proverb 100 “een gegeven paard moet men niet in de bek kijken”

The translation: don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. The same meaning as in English. The expression is used, to say that you should not value something that you got for free. The origin of this proverb is the practice in horse trading of determining the age of a horse by its teeth.

That’s it for today. You now know 10 more Dutch proverbs.

Let’s do a small exercise. Please take 1 of the proverbs we dealt with today, and think of a situation in which you could use that proverb. Write down that situation and the proverb, in the comments-section that you see below the video, when you watch it in Youtube. And I will personally comment, wether it is used correctly or not.

You fell with your nose into the butter. A kid can do the washing! Do not forget to share this video on social media, and to put thumbs up in YouTube.

See you back in lesson 11 of 250 Dutch Proverbs. Do not forget to subscribe to our youtube-channel. Just pust the button and you get new videos to learn Dutch every week. And of course visit our website where you can find much more course materials for learning Dutch and you also find there the transcripts of this lesson. See you next time !