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4th Dutch idioms of the week: Compound Adjectives

So, today a slightly different lesson: Compound Adjectives with the meaning very...

Bloedmooi -- het bloed [blood] + mooi -- Very pretty/beautiful

Spuuglelijk -- spugen [to spit] + lelijk -- Very ugly

Beresterk -- de beer [bear] + sterk -- Very strong

Straatarm -- de straat [street] + arm -- Very poor

Spiegelglad -- de spiegel [mirror] + glad -- Very slippery

Steenrijk -- de steen [stone] + rijk -- Very rich

Apetrots -- de aap [monkey] + trots -- Very proud

Stokstijf -- de stok [stick] + stijf -- Absolutely not moving

Muisstil -- de muis [mouse] + stil -- Very silent

Pikzwart -- het pik [pitch] + zwart -- Pitch-black/pitch-dark

Sneeuwwit -- de sneeuw [snow] + wit -- very white


Spuuglelijk = schreeuwlelijk -- schreeuwen = to scream

Steenrijk = schatrijk -- de schat = treasure

I hope you liked it :)

[1] [2] [3] MEMRISE

October 15, 2014



Why does "steenrijk" (or "steinreich" in German) mean "very rich"?

When building a house, rich people used to show off their wealth by using a large amount of small bricks rather than a small amount of large bricks. Using small bricks was more labour-intensive and thus more expensive. Also, combining small bricks and large bricks allowed for somewhat elaborate patterns.

If you go back as far as the Middle Ages, building a stone house in the first place as opposed to a timbered house was a sign of immense wealth.


A meerkat is called "een stokstaartje" (a stick tail) in Dutch. They are able to stand very still like a stick or "stokstil".


bloedheet -- het bloed (blood) + heet -- Very hot ijskoud -- het ijs (ice) + koud -- Very cold


These are all excellent!


Nice ones. I have two more:

Keihard -- de kei [the pebble/the boulder] + hard -- very hard (opposite of soft) / very fast

Hondsbrutaal -- de hond [the dog] + cheeky/bold -- very cheeky/bold

In the province of Noord-Brabant (usually called Brabant), they tend to use kei with all mentioned compound adjectives. In the rest of the country (and in Belgium as well I guess) they use the ones listed here and only use kei together with hard.

BTW I've never heard of the use schreeuwlelijk as a synonym of spuuglelijk only de schreeuwlelijk somebody with a big mouth/shouting a lot.


Beware Dutch learners, 'kei' is a bit out of fashion.
Or maybe that's just the case for my generation?

I wouldn't encourage you to use keileuk, keilelijk, keimooi, etcetera though... :P

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