Laan van Nieuw Oost-Indië 275, The Hague, The Netherlands +31(0)70 365 46 77

Word of the Day: loeder (bitch)

Now for the nasty Dutch word LOEDER which means something like ‘bitch’. Equally repugnant words are the synonyms SLET, SLOERIE, DEL. Warning! Use these words with extreme care when speaking Dutch. 


The last couple of weeks we were watching the amazing Danish television series Borgen 3. You could compare this series to The West Wing, but because it is set in Copenhagen and the main characters are women, it is completely different.

In one episode Birgitte Nyborg and Katrine Fønsmark are involved in struggles concerning new legislation for prostitutes and traffic in women. Every now and then you hear them say the word LOEDER and it is clear from the context that they mean ‘prostitute’. So that made me wonder: what is the connection between Dutch LOEDER and Danish ‘ludder’? If any?

In Middle Dutch the word LOEDER was spelled ‘luoder’. In falconry a ‘luoder’ was a fake prey (consisting of feathers on a cord) used to lure falcons or hawks. The English word ‘lure’ is obviously related. So a LOEDER originally was a lure or bait in Dutch and German. It may be related to Old English ‘laþian’ or Middle Dutch LADEN meaning to ‘entice’ or ‘invite’. In German ‘einladen’ still means to invite.

LOEDER, this seductive bait, when applied to persons, developed into ‘nasty’ or ‘vile’. So a LOEDER became a ‘vicious person’ (male or female) in the sixteenth century. And it still has this meaning in Dutch and German.

The Germans exported this word to the Scandinavian countries where the word ‘ludder’ began its career as a promiscuous woman. In Swedish and Danish it eventually grew into the abusive ‘whore’ or ‘hooker’.

Ha, I hear you think… ‘hooker’! ‘Hooker’ must have come from ‘hook’ and so ‘hooker’ has a similar meaning as ‘loeder’ in the sense of ‘bait’. Isn’t a prostitute a woman who tries to catch hold of a horny male and draw him in with the aim to extract money? A hooker is indeed someone who is ‘fishing’. The lure, LOEDER, then is the illusion of a heavenly experience. In French, too, a ‘raccrocheuse’ is literally a ‘hooker’ of men.

Which brings us to the word HOER, prostitute and its relation to OUWEHOEREN, a word put forward by our teacher Robyn some time ago. Tomorrow more!