Written by Ruud Hisgen of Direct Dutch Institute for I am Expat
Sometimes enough is enough and you just have to tell an obnoxious person that you don’t want his or her company anymore. At least for a while.
Maybe all you can think of are English expressions that end in “off” such as “p*** off”, “f*** off” or “b***** off”.
You know that the Dutchie will get the English message, but maybe you really want to bring it home by expressing it in plain, or even vulgar, Dutch.
In this article we discuss 23 graphic ways to tell someone to make him- or herself scarce.
1. moven (pronounced in the English way)
You’ve just finished teaching and a student is hanging around. You would like some privacy to make some notes or to just blow your nose. The student, however, is dilly dallying.
In a warm-hearted tone you casually remark: moven! while making a gesture in the direction of the door. In this case you could also say opzouten or wieberen.
Opzouten (note: you cannot say zout op!) is a verb which literally means “to salt” or “to pickle” suggesting that the other person should be kept in store for a while, out of sight.
Wieberen originates from maak je wieberig (scram!) which is derived from Yiddish wejiwrech (get out of here).
2. ga alsjeblieft weg, laat me alleen! (please go away, leave me alone)
This expression is a dramatic way of saying that you prefer to be alone. You could also say: verdwijn! (disappear).
Or if you’d like to dramatise it a bit further, you could say: verdwijn uit mijn ogen (get out of my sight!)
3. vlieg op! (literally: fly away, go to blazes)
You’re angry. Someone has just said something about your foreign accent. And you tried so hard to keep the conversation going in Dutch.
You’re so annoyed. You know it’s time to tell this awkward person to get lost, or as the Dutch say, loop naar de maan (literally: “walk to the moon”, the English equivalent of “go to hell”) or loop naar de bliksem (literally: “go to the lightening”, “go to blazes”).
4. more verbs with op (all meaning “be off”)
Careful! Don’t try these vulgar phrases carelessly. Use them at your own risk!
›hoepel op (hulahoop)
›donder op (thunder)
›donderstraal op (blighter, rascal)
›duvel op (devil)
›lazer op (lazarus, leper)
›flikker op (son of a bitch)
›sodemieter op (bugger, sod)
›mieter op (nag, whine)
›tief op (typhoid, Amsterdam slang)
›kanker op (cancer)
›kloot op (balls)
5. inpakken en wegwezen (pack up and go, get packing)
Use this more sophisticated phrase if you want to show off your Dutch fluency. You can also say: pak je biezen (“pack your bags and make yourself scarce”).
If these phrases are not your cup of tea, pay attention to the following two vulgar phrases that will be included in tomorrow’s history books and taught at secondary schools.
6. rot op (f*** off)
This vulgar phrase was employed by Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb when he voiced his anger about the Dutch who sympathised with the attackers of the office of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris, January 2015.
He called the assault een onbeschrijflijke vorm van barbarij, van achterlijkheid (“an indescribable form of barbarism, of backwardness”). He continued by saying to those who turn against freedom:
Verdwijn als je in Nederland je plek niet kunt vinden… ja, mag ik het zo zeggen: rot toch op! (“Go away if you can’t find your place in the Netherlands – if I may dare say so – just f*** off!”)
US President Obama was so impressed by the mayor’s stand, that he invited him to participate in a four-day conference on tackling radicalisation and violent extremism at the White House.
7. pleur op (p*** off)
The Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte went one step further. On the evening of September 4, 2016, Rutte reacted strongly to a news item which showed protesting Turkish Dutchmen trying to silence a television journalist in the performance of his work.
These protesters told the journalist to rot op, and Rutte said angrily: Lazer zelf op… pleur op.
As we have seen, oplazeren is a reference to the terrible fate of the biblical Lazarus who died of leprosy.
Pleur op is a different register. The verb pleuren means to smash, chuck or fling, and is used frequently in Hague slang. Hagenezen (Hague residents) make it sound even worse by adding a “t” to make it: pleurt op.
As you can imagine, the prime minister received a lot of criticism over the next couple of days, but he did not budge. He looked at his attackers as if to say:
“Sometimes you have to use strong language when being provoked. And if you don’t like it… then **** op!” (Insert graphic Dutch phrase here.)