List of English words of Dutch origin

This is a list of words of Dutch language origin. However, note that this list does also include some words of which the etymology is uncertain, and that some may have been derived from Middle Low German equivalents instead or as well. Some of these words, such as cookie and boss and aardvark, are without a doubt of Dutch origin. But, many of these words are similar not because they are Dutch loan words, but because English, like Dutch, is a Germanic language. Some of these words lack a counterpart in modern Dutch, having been lost since the time it was borrowed.

  • literally: the literal meaning of the Dutch word (the actual meaning is similar to the English one)
  • originally: the word originally had the meaning specified, but is in Dutch also used with the same meaning as in English


Aardvark : from aardvarken (via Afrikaans) (=literally "earth pig") Afrikaans : from Afrikaans (via Afrikaans) (="African" adj.) ahoy : from hoi (="hello") aloof : from loef Apartheid : from apartheid (via Afrikaans) (="separateness") (meaning: racial segregation) avast : from houvast (="holdfast, support")


Bantam : from Bantam, Java Beaker : from beker (="mug, cup") beleaguer : from belegeren (="besiege, attack with an army") blare, to blare : possibly from slang term blèren (="to scream, to shout, to cry loudly") to bluff : from bluffen (="to bluff") Boom : from boom (="tree"); cognate to English "beam", German "baum" Boomslang : via Afrikaans from boomslang (="tree snake") Booze : from Middle Dutch busen (="to drink in excess"). According to JW de Vries busen is equivalent to buizen. Boss : from baas Bow : front of a ship from boeg Brandy (wine) : from brandewijn (literally "burnt wine") Brawl : from brallen Brooklyn : called after the town of Breukelen near Utrecht Bulwark : from bolwerk Bundle : from bundel bumpkin: from bommekijn (="little barrel") Buoy : from boei (="shackle" or "buoy")


Caboose : from kambuis or kombuis (="ship's kitchen", "galley") Clove (disambiguation) : from kloof (="steep valley", "gorge") Cockatoo : from kaketoe Coleslaw : from koolsla (literally "cabbage salad") Cookie : from koekje, or in informal Dutch koekie (="biscuit", "cookie") Coney Island : from Conyne Eylandt (literally "Rabbits' Island") Crimp : from krimpen (= "to shrink") Cruise : from (door)kruisen (="to cross") Cruller : from Dutch krullen "to curl"


Dam : from Middle Dutch dam (compare Amsterdam or Rotterdam) dapper : from dapper (="brave") Deck : from dek (originally "covering") Decoy : from de kooi (="the cage") Delftware : porcelaine from the city Delft Dike : from dijk (="embankment") Dock (maritime) : possibly from Middle Dutch dok Dope : old meaning: sauce, now drugs, comes from the Dutch verb (in)dopen (usually ="to baptize", but here ="to dip in") Drill (verb) : from Middle Dutch dril, drille and in modern Dutch drillen Dune : from Middle Dutch dune, before from Celtic dun (hill), in modern Dutch duin


Easel : from ezel (=originally "donkey") Etch : from ets or etsen


Filibuster : from Spanish filibustero from French flibustier ultimately from Dutch vrijbuiter (="pirate" or "freebooter") Forlorn hope : from verloren hoop (literally "lost troop", figuratively "suicide squad") freebooter : from vrijbuiter Freight : from vracht frolic : from vrolijk (="cheerful") furlough : from verlof (="permission (to leave)")


Gas : from gas, a neologism from Jan Baptista van Helmont, derived from the Greek Chaos Geek : from geck (gek) (="fool") Gin : from jenever Gnu : from gnoe (from Bushman !nu) Guilder : from gulden Golf : from kolf (="bat, club", but also a game played with these) grab : from grijpen (="to seize, to grasp, to snatch")


hankering : from Middle Dutch hankeren or Dutch hunkeren Harlem : called after the city of Haarlem near Amsterdam Hartebeest : from Afrikaans, from Du. hertebeest "antelope," from hert "deer" (cognate to "hart") + beest "beast" Hoboken : called after the Flemish town Hoboken near Antwerp. hoist : possibly from Middle Dutch hijsen holster : from holster hooky : from hoekje (=corner) in the sense of to go around the corner


Iceberg : probably from Dutch ijsberg (literally ice mountain). Isinglass : probably from Dutch huizenblas (this is no current Dutch word)



Keelhauling : from kielhalen (=literally "to haul keel") Keeshond : prob. from special use of Kees (shortening of proper name Cornelius) + hond "dog" Kill (body of water) : from kil from Middle Dutch kille (=literally "riverbed") Kink : from kink referring to a twist in a rope Knapsack : possibly from knapzak (=literally "bag of snacks") Knickerbocker : The pen-name was borrowed from Washington Irving's friend Herman Knickerbocker, and lit. means "toy marble-baker." also descendants of Dutch settler of New York are referred to as Knickerbockers and later became used in reference to a style of pants


Landscape : from landschap leak : possibly from lekken (="to drip, to leak" ) Loafer : from loper (="walker") (


Maelstrom : from maalstroom (=literally "grinding current" or "stirring current") (possibly Norse in origin) manikin : from Brabantian manneken (=literally "little man") Mannequin : via French from Dutch manneken (=literally "little man") Mart : from Middle Dutch marct (=literally "market") (modern Dutch: markt) Measles : possibly from Middle Dutch masel "blemish" (modern Dutch: mazelen) Meerkat : from Dutch meerkat morass : from moeras (="swamp")



Offal : possibly from Middle Dutch afval (="leftovers, rubbish")


Patroon: from patroon (="patron") Pickle : c.1440, probably from M.Du. pekel Pinkie : Pinkje/Pinkie pit : the stone of a drupaceous fruit : from pit Plug : from plugge, originally a maritime term. Polder : from polder Poppycock : from pappekak (=dialect for "soft dung") Pump : from pomp


Quack : shortened from quacksalver, from kwakzalver (= literally "someone who daubs ointments")


roster : from rooster (= "schedule, or grating/grill") rover#Etymology 2: from rover (= "robber")


Santa Claus : from Middle Dutch Sinterklaas (="Saint Nicholas"), bishop of Asia Minor who became a patron saint for children. (Dutch and Flemish feast celebrated on the 5th and 6th of December respectively) (Origins of Santa Claus in US culture) Scone : from schoon (="clean") Scow : from schouw (a type of boat) Shoal : from Middle Dutch schole (="large number (of fish)) (etymology not sure) Skate, to skate : from schaats. The noun was originally adopted as in Dutch, with 'skates' being the singular form of the noun; due to the similarity to regular English plurals this form was ultimately used as the plural while 'skate' was derived for use as singular." Sketch : from schets to scour : from Middle Dutch scuren (now "schuren") Skipper : from Middle Dutch scipper (now schipper =literally "shipper") Sled, sleigh : from Middle Dutch slede, slee Slim : "thin, slight, slender," from Dutch slim "bad, sly, clever," from M.Du. slim "bad, crooked," Sloop : from sloep slurp : from slurpen Smack (boat) : possibly from smak "sailboat", perhaps so-called from the sound made by its sails Smelt : from smelten (="to melt") Snack : perhaps from Middle Dutch snakken (="to long" (snakken naar lucht="to gasp for air") originally "to eat"/"chatter") Snoop : from snoepen (to eat (possibly in secret) something sweet) Snuff : from snuiftabak (=literally "sniff tobacco") splinter : from splinter split : from Middle Dutch splitten spook : from spook (="ghost(ly image)") Stoker : from stoken (="stoke a fire") Stern : hind part of a ship related to Steven in Dutch and Stiarn in Frisian Still life : from Dutch stilleven stoop (steps) : from stoep (="pavement/sidewalk") Stockfish : from dutch stokvis (= "stick fish") Stove : from Middle Dutch stove (="heated room"). The Dutch word stoof, pronounced similarly, is a small (often wooden) box with holes in it. One would place glowing coals inside so it would emanate heat, and then put one's feet on top of it while sitting (in a chair) to keep one's feet warm. Sutler: from zoetelaar (="one who sweetens", sweetener, old-fashioned for "camp cook")


Tattoo (military term) : from taptoe (=literally "close the tap"). So called because police used to visit taverns in the evening to shut off the taps of casks. Tickle : from kietelen Trek : from trekken (via Afrikaans) (=literally "to march" or "to travel") Trigger : from trekker (Trekken ="to pull") Tulip : from tulp



Veldt : South African grassland, 1785, from Afrikaans, from older Du. veld (="field")


Waffle : from wafel Walrus : from walrus Wagon : from Middle Dutch wagen, waghen (="cart, carriage, wagon") Wiggle : from wiggelen (="to wobble, to wiggle") or wiegen (="to rock") Wildebeest : from wildebeest (lit. wild beast, via Afrikaans) Witloof : from witlof (lit. wit "white" + lof "foliage")



Yacht : from jacht (=originally "hunt") Yankee : from Jan Kees, a personal name, originally used mockingly to describe pro-French revolutionary citizens, with allusion to the small keeshond dog, then for "colonials" in New Amsterdam (Note: this is not the only possible etymology for the word yankee. For one thing, the Oxford English Dictionary has quotes with the term from as early as 1765, quite some time before the French Revolution.)



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