Most used words in Dutch
To survive with your Dutch you only need to learn a few words and phrases that Dutch people use all the time.
Lekker = nice, good, delicious, hot
With the word ‘lekker’ you have an answer on everything. Girls (very informal!), food, a drink, the weather, a party, your mood… Everything can be lekker. It’s originally used for taste, but nowadays it’s a popular word to say that you’re doing well or that you enjoyed a party for example.
Hoor = no translation
This word is added to sentences a lot, but can’t be literally translated. In many situations it means something like ‘sure’ or ‘surely’. For example: ‘Wil je nog een biertje?’ ‘Ja hoor’ (‘Would you like another beer?’ ‘Yes, sure’). But in some sentences it’s mainly used to emphasise something, for example when you say ‘Dat is wel gaaf hoor!’ (‘That’s really cool!’).
Gezellig = cozy, fun
There’s no real translation for this word, but Dutch people use it a lot to describe a nice atmosphere at for example parties and meetings. It’s basically related to the atmosphere of the group of people you were with, but it can be used as well to describe a cozy environment or place.
Leuk = fun, nice
‘leuk’ is also used for many different purposes. Mainly to say that something was fun, but it can be used to describe the nice character of a person.
Goed = good, well
Is used to describe your good mood or to ask how someone is doing. When you are doing well, you say ‘het gaat goed’. Often it’s used together with ‘alles’ (everything), so ‘alles goed’. This could be a very common conversation between Dutch people:
“Ja zeker. Met jou ook?”
“Ja met mij gaat ook alles goed.”
It’s basically a polite way to say hello. Only close friends or family would give a honest answer if you are asking ‘Alles goed?’. Furthermore you can use ‘goed’ as well to say that something or someone is good in a particular aspect (horse riding, playing football etc.).
Mooi = beautiful, nice, good
To describe something that looks good. This can be a person, but also all kind of other things like clothing, buildings, cars etc. You can also say it to describe beautiful weather.
Enzo… = Etcetera, and so on…
This word can be added to the end of a sentence, but is not really necessary. It doesn’t have a clear meaning but people mostly use it to say there’s more. You can use enzo to give an example, like ‘Zij is echt grappig enzo’ (‘She is really funny and so on’).
Dus… = So…
This word is used a lot when a conversation is stuck and gets inconvenient. To say something instead, people say dus…
Echt = really, really?
Echt is both used to emphasise something ‘deze appel is echt lekker’ (‘this apple is really delicious’). But it can be used as well to express surprise or to check if someone is joking. It basically has the same meaning as ‘Really?’. For example: ‘Vandaag ga ik niet naar school.’ ‘Echt?’ (‘Today I’m not going to school.’ ‘Really?’)
Hoi / Doei = Hey / Bye bye
If you want to say hello or goodbye in an informal way, hoi and doei are the best choice. And they sound cute as well! Doei should be pronounced as ‘doo-ee’.