Idioms are stereotyped phrases. When idioms are translated into their dictionary meaning, the words have different meaning than the old saw (the saying and its wisdom). Even if we use idioms in daily life without even thinking about them, these can have funny meanings and stories in them. Learning idioms in a new country can give you some clues about its culture. Let’s see how these work in the Netherlands! Here some idioms:
- “Op de tenen trappen” means in a direct way “Step on the toes”. When you read this sentence, if you unconsciously imagine a blonde Dutchie who tries to step on her/his toes, that’s not what is happening! This idiom means to make angry or to annoy someone in Dutch.
- “In de schoenen schuiven” is translated as “Put in the shoes” in dictionary meaning. However, when you put these words together, it means accuse someone unjustly.
- “Als de kat van huis, dansen de muizen op tafel” has a laughable meaning which is “When the cat is away from home, the mice dance on table”. Do you like to dance when you are home alone? If yes, this idiom is for you because it is used to express doing whatever you want while not being monitored by someone. Mostly, they prefer to use this one to describe children and their attitudes about fooling around/misbehavior.
- “Maak je borst nat” directly means “Make your chest wet” in dictionary but it is used to recommend in order to hold oneself in readiness for a challenge. So you can say that to your Dutch friends for their exams!