English Words Borrowed from Dutch

atkins bookshelf wordsThe English language is like a ravenous magpie, grabbing a word from a different language, a little bit from here, a little bit from there. “For more than a thousand years, observes Robert White a classics professor, “the English language has borrowed promiscuously from virtually every other language spoken on this planet… English has been a persistent borrower of words from the languages of those whom it has come into contact — whether through trade, cultural [exchange], or even war.” And it this ceaseless acquisition that makes English so colorful and so comprehensive, amassing more than one million words.

Do you speak Dutch? You probably do and just don’t realize it. Here are some English words with Dutch origins:

Booze: from the Middle Dutch, busen or buizen that means “to drink heavily.”

Boss: from the Dutch baas, meaning “master or foreman.”

Caboose: from the Dutch kabuis that means “ship’s gallery or storeroom.”

Cookie: from the Dutch koekie, meaning “little cake.”

Frolic: from the Dutch vrolijk that means “joyful.”

Hustle: from the Dutch husselen, meaning “to shake, to toss.”

Kink: from the Dutch kink that means “a twist or twirl.”

Rant: from the Dutch ranted or randen, meaning “to talk foolishly.”

Read related posts: Words Worth Reviving: 2015

For further reading: An Avalanche of Anoraks by Robert White (1994)

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