In December we posted an article with the top 10 weirdest Dutch synonyms for girls. Since that post has done incredibly well, we decided it would be fair to add our list of top 10 strangest Dutch synonyms for boy (and man). While they may not all seem like synonyms, according to the dictionary, they are.
1. Jongen / Jochie
Let’s start this list off as normally as we possibly can, with the word “jongen”, of which “jongetje” is the formal diminutive, and “jochie” an informal diminutive. This word officially means ‘male child’, and was first used in 1479. It is derived from the word “jong”, which means young. The word “jongen” can also mean ‘young ones’, when referring to a nest of newborn animals.
We bet most of those familiar with this synonym for boy, don’t realize it’s a word borrowed from Jiddish. This word was first used in 1906. Officially this word was introduced to Dutch by those who spoke “Bargoens”, a language that existed until the mid-1900s among the homeless, (market) merchants, fairground customers, and underworld folk. Nowadays, it’s a word known by 99% of the Dutch, and 92% of the Flemish speaking Belgians. This is by far the most interesting synonym for boy (or man).
Although the official and formal definition of this word means “guest”, it is also a synonym for boy or man. The formal definition of the word was first used in 1236, and is known by 99% of the Dutch, and 100% of Flemish speaking Belgians.
First used in 1271, the word “kerel” meant a free man of non-knightly rank, or villager. Another outdated definition of this word is a free man of low status. Nowadays, it’s used to refer to hefty, sturdy, manly men. Women also refer to their husbands as “mijn kerel”. The use of “kerel” is always informal. A stunning 100% of all Dutch and Flemish speaking people know of this word.
The word “knaap” has got to be my personal all-time favorite of Dutch synonyms for boy. It’s also one of the oldest words in this list, first used in the year 901. It doesn’t have a meaning that differs from the word ‘boy’, it’s just a straight up synonym. Many other hilarious words derived from it, such as “tuchtknaap” (the helper of a torturer or executioner), and “schandknaap” (a male, homosexual prostitute). The word “knaap” is known by 99% of the Dutch, and 99% of the Flemish speaking Belgians.
The word “knakker” is always used to refer to weirdos, examples of descriptive synonyms include “rare vent” and “vreemde snuiter”, which both means ‘strange guy’. This is the most modern synonym, first used in 1984. It’s known by 99% of Dutch speakers, and 72% of Flemish speaking Belgians.
According to the Chronological Dictionary, the word “knul” is borrowed from German. It means ‘boy’, was first found to be used in 1769, and is only used in informal settings. A derivative from “knul” is “knullig”, and refers to someone who is sheepish or clumsy. A stunning 100% of the Flemish speaking Belgians and 99% Dutch speaking Dutchies are familiar with this word.
The word “peer” literally means pear, but is also used to refer to guys in informal settings. “Hij is echt een toffe peer” is an example of this, it translates to ‘He’s a really cool guy’.
The Dutch synonyms for boy wouldn’t be complete without mentioning “vent”. This word is a little more tricky. It either derives from the Germanic word for pedestrian or foot soldier, or it’s a short version of the word “vennoot”, which means ‘trading partner’. It’s also funny to know that the Flemish call a neutered donkey; “vent”. This word is always used in informal settings, and refers most often to masculine men. As many as 99% Dutch speakers are familiar with this world, opposed to 97% of Flemish speaking Belgians.
First used in 1872, this word means ‘a weird, strange person’. The word “snuit” is also an informal synonym for ‘nose’, and blowing your nose is “je neus snuiten” in Dutch. English translations of this word include; chap, fellow, guy, and person. It’s known by 97% Dutch speakers and 93% Flemish speaking Belgians.