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Word of the Day: schatje (darling, dearest)

Petra who asked us the other day about SINAASAPPEL (orange) also wanted to know more about the word SCHATJE. To say that someone is a SCHATJE is okay. But as a form of address I absolutely dislike it. If my loved one were to call me SCHATJE, I would immediately leave her and never come back. But that is probably because I am a man and Dutch.


On the other hand I would never call my partner SCHATJE either. I know she hates the word too. To her this diminutive sounds false. The sweetness of the word has lost its value over time. Only babies, other small human creatures and pets can be called SCHATJES in my opinion. Especially when they are as cute as Zsuzsa’s Noah.

Anyway, where does the word come from? Easy. It comes from SCHAT, treasure. The medieval word was spelled ‘skat’ and it meant ‘valuable possession’. Etymologists think that the word goes back to a word that must have meant ‘cattle’. Which makes sense, because cattle used to be the only valuable possession of farmers. In Old English a treasure was ‘sceatt’. Funny, the word has lost all traces in the English language. ‘Sceatt’ completely vanished. In Germany it is ‘der Schatz’. In French ‘le trésor’.

So Petra, if you feel like calling your dearest a treasure, whisper in his or her ears the word SCHAT, but never, no never, SCHATJE!

Thanks Zsuzsa for another lovely picture of Noah, this time with his nappy in place.