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What's That Dutch Compound Word?

We give you the literal translation of these compound words in Dutch. You guess what the actual translation is.
Quiz by Anne3kv
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Last updated: October 31, 2023
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First submittedJune 21, 2022
Times taken11,884
Average score80.0%
Rating4.88
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Dutch word
Literal
translation
Actual
translation
Schildpad
Shield toad
Turtle
Handschoenen
Hand shoes
Gloves
Koelkast
Cool closet
Refrigerator
Vliegtuig
Fly thing
Airplane
Stofzuiger
Dust sucker
Vacuum
Zeehond
Sea dog
Seal
Ziekenhuis
Sick house
Hospital
Ziekenauto
Sick car
Ambulance
Tandarts
Tooth doctor
Dentist
Zaklamp
Pocket lamp
Flashlight
Dutch word
Literal
translation
Actual
translation
Nijlpaard
Nile horse
Hippopotamus
Neushoorn
Nose horn
Rhinoceros
Tandvlees
Tooth flesh
Gums
Pindakaas
Peanut cheese
Peanut butter
Woordenboek
Words book
Dictionary
Aardappel
Earth apple
Potato
Piepschuim
Squeak foam
Styrofoam
Hoofdkussen
Head cushion
Pillow
Inktvis
Ink fish
Squid
Rekenmachine
Arithmetic machine
Calculator
+14
Level 79
Oct 31, 2023
Bravo, really creative and entertaining quiz!
+13
Level 71
Oct 31, 2023
Can “plane” be accepted for airplane?
+5
Level ∞
Oct 31, 2023
Okay
+18
Level 95
Oct 31, 2023
Great quiz but can you accept torch for "flashlight"? It's the same thing in British English.
+4
Level ∞
Oct 31, 2023
Yes, that will work now
+13
Level 86
Oct 31, 2023
Can you accept gum for gums?
+1
Level 76
Oct 31, 2023
I missed gums because of this
+4
Level 64
Oct 31, 2023
Yes, gum should work now
+8
Level 88
Oct 31, 2023
Great quiz! Got hung up on "nose horn". I was thinking of horn as an instrument and never came up with the answer. Definite facepalm moment when I saw the answer! ;)
+1
Level 84
Oct 31, 2023
Ha, me too :)
+1
Level 76
Oct 31, 2023
Yeah, with "earth apple" I was thinking of the planet Earth, so I missed that one.
+2
Level 34
Nov 11, 2023
i only knew that from french, pomme de terre literally translates to apple of the earth
+3
Level 76
Nov 1, 2023
i kept thinking "sneeze" and "snore"!
+11
Level 65
Oct 31, 2023
I'm Dutch and I don't think a lot of people say 'ziekenauto' anymore (perhaps some older people). We mostly just use ambulance.
+5
Level 65
Oct 31, 2023
And most people say 'kussen' instead of 'hoofdkussen'
+5
Level 88
Nov 1, 2023
'Ziekenwagen' is pretty common where I live.
+1
Level 67
Mar 28, 2024
Belgian or south of the netherlands? I have heard ziekenauto but mainly used by little kids, adults don't really use it (anymore?). But ziekenwagen sounds more unusual, I immediately hear it with a belgian or brabants/limburgs accent.
+23
Level 72
Oct 31, 2023
Speaking german definitely helps here - almost all of them are built with the same words in german.^^
+1
Level 67
Feb 15, 2024
Didnt get nose horn and I even speak German :D Could't believe it when I saw the solution
+3
Level 82
Oct 31, 2023
"Sea dog" is shark in some other languages
+1
Level 67
Feb 18, 2024
In Chinese, seal is "sea leopard"
+1
Level 74
Feb 24, 2024
In german there is:

literal translation - german - proper name

Sea dog - Seehund - harbour seal

Sea leopard - Seeleopard - leopard seal

Sea elephant - See-Elefant - elephant seal

+1
Level 67
Mar 28, 2024
yea in dutch there is zeehond (seal), zeeleeuw (sea lion), zeeolifant. Not sure it they correspond to the one you gave, too tired to check.

And ofcourse we must not forget zeepaard (seahorse), zee-egel (sea hedgehog -> urchin). Ah And I think zeekoe (manatee)

Edit, we have a sealeopard too, but you don't hear it being used much.

+1
Level 86
Oct 31, 2023
My parents are Dutch, so I grew up hearing most of these words and knew what they represented. I never realized how literal they were.
+7
Level 91
Oct 31, 2023
Gezichtspalm = What you do after you've spent a full minute wondering what the heck a "Nile horse" is and then see the answer. Heavy sigh.
+6
Level 83
Nov 1, 2023
The word 'hippopotamus' comes from the Greek meaning 'river horse' so we're not far off.
+8
Level 76
Oct 31, 2023
Love it! In German, we have many literal translations in common with Dutch, but for Piepschuim that did not help me ..
+1
Level 78
Nov 1, 2023
Such an adorable word!
+2
Level 73
Nov 6, 2023
That's how I got all but this one. It was easy to think of the German word first, but since neither German nor English nor Dutch are my mother tongue thinking of the English word afterwards was a bigger challenge than usual.
+2
Level 75
Nov 9, 2023
Same for me, most of these are exactly the same in German, except for Piepschuim, which is such a wonderful word that I think I'll start using it from now on. Quiekschaum... I love it already.
+2
Level 69
Dec 18, 2023
I speak dutch and didn't get that one .... because I didn't know the word in english.
+2
Level 64
Oct 31, 2023
Love this quiz, funny and clever. Thank you, Anne!
+8
Level 76
Oct 31, 2023
There's no way Dutch is actually a real language
+5
Level 89
Oct 31, 2023
Being Dutch, I am wondering how funny this much be for people who don't speak the language :D
+2
Level 75
Nov 10, 2023
Not really. Hippopotamus and rhinoceros have the same meaning in English, they just dont know it because it's greek to them. Earth apple is the same in french and other languages. Words book, tooth doctor, arithmetic machine I have also seen in other languages too.
+3
Level 77
Oct 31, 2023
12. Not bad :D

1 point

+6
Level 74
Oct 31, 2023
Peanut cheese may be the single most disgusting term I've ever heard. *ick*
+2
Level 67
Nov 9, 2023
This is because in The Netherlands butter is protected, it has to have at least 80% milkfat.

So instead of going for spread or something that would be more logical they went with cheese. Because the Dutch love cheese, eat cheese sanwiches, and there was alread another word with cheese in it but without cheese in the product (leverkaas/livercheese).

+1
Level 75
Nov 9, 2023
You've led a sheltered life.
+10
Level 84
Nov 1, 2023
Interestingly enough, several languages use the "earth/ground apple" compound work for potato.

This is because "apple" used to mean "fruit" in general terms. Thus, potatoes are "fruits of the ground".

+4
Level 71
Nov 1, 2023
Some additions: Lazy Horse (Luipaard), Burn again (brandweer), sand walker (zandloper)
+8
Level 77
Nov 1, 2023
Brandweer is more accurately translated as "fire averting", from the noun brand and the verb weren, which makes a lot more sense considering the meaning. The others are indeed a little wacky though.
+1
Level 67
Mar 28, 2024
Yea but it is not really walking (as in hiking or stroling somewhere) either. It corresponds more to the English run, a machine runs, the engine runs things run smoothly. So basicly "going". So I would go for Sand runner. It works with time running out very well.
+4
Level 59
Nov 9, 2023
Lazy horse doesn't really work here, since it isn't really a dutch compound word, but just happens to translate to these two words. Luipaard has the same origin as the English word Leopard and comes from the latin compound word leopardus, meaning leo (=lion) and pardus (=panther).
+10
Level 75
Nov 1, 2023
All that Duolingo in Dutch paid off!

Ik ben en sinaasappel

+2
Level 75
Nov 9, 2023
Ne, je bent een banaan. Ik eet een boterham.
+1
Level 67
Mar 28, 2024
Hahah that takes me back. I did the dutch duolingo for a while (I am dutch) to help people there and answer the questions in the comments and give corrections if I saw wildly wrong explanations. And just clarify some things.

Atm I am doing Danish. However since I redicovered this site aswell as having installed a new game, I just missed the last three days! haha Trading in one addiction for another..

+1
Level 76
Nov 2, 2023
Fun quiz, thanks!
+1
Level 79
Nov 3, 2023
Great quiz.
+2
Level 71
Nov 4, 2023
I am a Dutch speaker (as my second-best language). I had thought that "Inktvis" could translate to "Octopus". But no, apparently "Achtarm" (liiterally "Eight arm") is correct for that animal.
+5
Level 75
Nov 9, 2023
To be fair, "octopus" is also literally "eight arm(s)".
+1
Level 67
Mar 28, 2024
And to be more fair I think most dutch people use the terms interchangeably, even though scientifically they definitely refer to two different things.

I think most people use inktvis for everything.

However if I am not mistaken

Inkvis=squid

Octopus= octopus

And cuttlefish=zeekat (sea cat) but pretty sure that is getting called inktvis too.

Edit, wait what?? rereading @FadKrashmor's comment. You think we call them achtarm??? I have never heard anyone call them that, I am pretty sure that must be a joke of someone. I can imagine it being called that in afrikaans. They have several words that are quite literal description (flemish has some too) well more than the ones we allready have, though every language does. People just dont realize it in their own language (sometiems partly because they use the latin or greek word)

+1
Level 60
Nov 6, 2023
Love it
+2
Level 71
Nov 7, 2023
Great quiz
+1
Level 70
Nov 9, 2023
Perfect quiz, thanks!
+4
Level 65
Nov 9, 2023
for me, being dutch, it is actually an easy translation quiz but seeing the literal translation of these words to english makes me suddenly realise that some of our every day words are very funny :). I'd love to see similar quizzes in other languages!
+3
Level 79
Nov 9, 2023
I made this quiz some time ago using only animal words in German
+2
Level 46
Nov 9, 2023
We use ambulance in Dutch
+1
Level 79
Nov 9, 2023
Got all but 'squeak foam'! Having learnt German definitely helped!
+4
Level 81
Nov 9, 2023
Almost all of these are the same in Sweden. I believe the dutch went too far with "peanut cheese" though.
+1
Level 49
Nov 10, 2023
Many of these are also same in Finnish (but "mustekala", literally 'ink fish' means octopussy). I believe that the logic of many Finnish compound words is borrowed from Swedish, they use native words but with similar combination (like "vuorenvarma" 'absolutely certain', literally 'mountain's certain', cf. Swedish "berg + säker").
+2
Level 65
Nov 10, 2023
Interesting, I think that's called a calque in linguistics.
+1
Level 49
Nov 11, 2023
You are correct. In Finnish it is "käännöslaina", literally 'translated loan'.
+1
Level 67
Mar 28, 2024
In dutch leenvertaling though I think we simply use claque too. Unless I am mixing things up again ( thinking I have read something in dutch while it was in english). Which literally means borrow(ed) translation. Or yea loan translation like yours
+3
Level 66
Nov 10, 2023
i get kind of frustrated when people make fun of this bc a lot of english words are the same thing, just borrowed from dead languages. Like a hippopotamus is litterally 'horse river' and a dentist is just a 'tooth-er'. It's not just bc you don't remember, that english is any less silly lol.
+1
Level 37
Nov 12, 2023
easy when German is your third language
+2
Level 63
Nov 14, 2023
Easy when German is your first language. Only thing I didn't get was Piepschuim.
+1
Level 59
Nov 14, 2023
Same. If I didn't know it, I just translated from German but that one got me.
+1
Level 67
Mar 28, 2024
I am Dutch I didnt get it either... Ofcourse I knew styrofoam, but absolutely could not think of it, I tried pack(ag)ing foam. And just checked, that is actually not wrong. So it should have been accepted.

Hmm now I am searching deeper, and it seems polystyrene is a better translation for piepschuim. But too much research atm.

OK did some more digging. The answer should be polystyrene. Styrofoam is extruded polystyrene foam, not squeaky (and actually a brand name, but lets disregard that), polystyrene is expanded polystyrene, very squeaky.

We only call the stuff that squeaks and seems to be made up of little balls piepschuim.

To be totally correct piepschuim=expanded polystyrene.

Not totally certain what we called extruded polystyrene but not piepschuim. (I think either styrofoam sometimes (cup) but when it is in sheets we might say polystyrene (I remember using those sheets for mock-ups in my study, think that is what we called it. Not getting confusing is it? :D)

+1
Level 65
Nov 12, 2023
Was a funny quiz to complete as a Dutch guy, but I never heard of the word 'ziekenauto', I always use ambulance.

As far as I know, everyone also just uses 'kussen' for pillow. But after googling I do see that stores sometimes specify 'hoofd kussen' maybe to make it clear that it is the pillow for sleeping.

+1
Level 43
Nov 24, 2023
Dutch guy here! In areas around Rotterdam most (old) people say "ziekenwagen".
+1
Level 71
Nov 14, 2023
i love how literally all of these except for peanut cheese are said in german as well
+1
Level 43
Nov 24, 2023
I am Dutch so this is quite easy!
+1
Level 52
Jan 8, 2024
I think potato is earth apple in several languages
+2
Level 67
Jan 10, 2024
dutch is a very silly sounding language
+1
Level 45
Feb 9, 2024
Was anyone else very disappointed "nose horn" wasn't sneeze?
+2
Level 67
Mar 7, 2024
Dutch guy here, mostly just checked it to see the comments about our language. xD Had 19 out of 20 myself.....for some reason the word ambulance had skipped my mind.
+1
Level 67
Mar 28, 2024
Cool quiz, nicely picked words. I have two remarks though. I word not translate -tuig with thing. I think apparatus, tool, or device is more accurate. (And you could argue tuig is not a word in this case, just a suffix. You do have the word tuig, but it either means scum/rabble/riffraff or like a harness for an animal. I imagine it can be a grey area, but noone says where is that tuig)

The other one was arithmetic machine, I would go for calculating machine. (Not calculus though). You would say let me calculate that, not let me arithmetic that. So calculating is better

Native dutch speaker btw ;)

+1
Level 59
Apr 19, 2024
accept thermocol and other versions of sytrofoam?