He doesn’t look fresh out of his nostrils

Dutch Clogs by Petr Kratochvil

Well, it doesn’t sound as good in English as it does in Dutch (Hij kijkt niet fris uit zijn neusgaten).

My Oma had all these wonderful Dutch sayings, and I distinctly remember her talent for using them at just the right moment.  If one was not looking too fresh out of the nostrils, she was referring to a particularly unsavoury character.

I can remember a handful of the Dutch sayings quite clearly, so here they are.  The direct translations to English are from the online Bing Translator and the meanings are in brackets.

Nu komt de aap uit de mouw.  Now the monkey comes out of the sleeve.  (The truth comes out).

Zo dood als een pier.  As dead as a worm.  (Very dead, like a worm on a hook).

Alsof er een engeltje over je tong piest.  Like an angel pee-ing on your tongue.  (Something very tasty).

Een kind kan de was doen.  A child can do the laundry.  (Something very easy).

Onze lieve heer heeft vreemde kostgangers. Our dear Lord has strange guests.  (The world is full of strange and interesting people).

De lakens uitdelen. Handing out the bedsheets.  (Taking charge).

Een blind paard zou er geen schade doen.  A blind horse would do no damage.  (A shabby interior).

Lange tenen hebben.  To have long toes.  (Easily offended).

Lastly, my absolute favourite…

We zullen ze eens een poepje laten ruiken. We will let them smell a fart.  (We’ll do something that will dazzle them).


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