The Dutch language is influenced by numerous cultures and languages, both ancient and modern. One example would be the word ‘chick’, an American word adopted by the Dutch. The examples we’re about to list can be used in various contexts, and we’ll do our best to explain the instance in which these words are used. Though some of the examples below may not technically be synonyms, these words are used to refer to girls in some Dutch dialects.
1. Meid, Meisje, Meiske
Let’s start this list off normal, before things get too weird to turn back. The word ‘meisje’ is a diminutive of the word ‘meid’, and are both used in normal context. This word is by default used to refer to girls, and by far the most normal word in the Dutch language to use in this context. A variation of this word is ‘meiske’, and is most often used in Southern provinces and Flanders, Belgium. If you’re learning Dutch, use this word by default.
2. Deerne, Deern, Deerntje
We’ve only ever heard of ‘deerne’, but after some research, we discovered variations of this word include ‘deern’, and the diminutive ‘deerntje’. The context in which we’ve heard of this word was “‘n mooie deerne”, which translates to ‘a pretty girl’. Apparently the exact translation of ‘deerne’ is a young, innocent girl. Study has indicated that 84% of Dutch people are familiar with this word.
3. Mop, Moppie
It might surprise you, but the word ‘mop’ is used in a positive context. This word is used as a pet name, i.e. what husbands call their wives. Or what female friends call each other. Exact translations of this word include: darling, honey, and dear. It has no relation to cleaning floors at all.
4. Griet, Grietje
Although the word ‘griet’, or ‘grietje’ is used in a very innocent way by senior citizens, it can be conceived as an insult. The original meaning of this word simply translates to young woman, or girl. However, the word ‘griet’ is no longer used, in day-to-day conversations, and is generally disliked by many. Of the Dutch population, 98% are familiar with this word. Besides being a synonym for the word ‘girl’, it’s also a female name.
In the sense of “fat child, plump woman”, this word first occurred in 1721. Though, nowadays it’s become an increasingly normalized synonym for ‘girl’ in the area of Rotterdam. Outside of Rotterdam, however, 97% of the Dutch are familiar with the word—but not very many like it.
The word ‘freule’ is often thought to be used for people of nobility. It’s a word the Dutch have borrowed from our neighbors—Germany. It’s used to address for unmarried female nobles. It is neither a title of nobility nor a title of nobility. The male counterpart of Lady is Jonker.
7. Wijf, Wijfie
Although this word sounds exactly like a Dutch person’s pronunciation of the English word “wife”, it’s not at all advisable to refer to your wife in this way—unless you want to sleep on the couch. The word ‘wijf’ originally did mean ‘wife’ in Old Dutch, but now it’s used as an insult; klerewijf, pestwijf, pokkenwijf, and viswijf are examples of this.
It’s generally thought that the word ‘troel’ comes from Frysian, it’s used to refer to girls and women in general. Though some may use it as a pet name for their wife or girlfriend, it’s mostly seen as an insult.
Calling a girl ‘moatjen’ is isolated to a fisherman’s village in Flevoland, called Urk. Urk used to be an island, but after poldering that part of the Zuyderzee (now Ijsselmeer), it became part of the mainland. The Urker inhabitants have their own dialect, called “Urkers”, and not “Urks”—remember that. It is completely normal to call girls and women “moatjen” here.
The word ‘trut’, was first used in 1899, and refers to a nagging woman. It’s inappropriate to refer to women using the word ‘trut’, as most only have negative associations with this word. We advise you to stick with the word ‘vrouw’, ‘meid’, and ‘meisje’ instead.
What’s your favorite weird synonym for girl or woman? Let us know in the comments below!