How the Dutch use diseases as curse words

Thursday, April 2, 2020 - 4:16pm


In the Dutch language, many profanities and expletives are derived from disease. In The Netherlands, you might tell someone you really dislike to optyfen or “typhus off.” It’s a contrast to English where many swear words and phrases are linked to sex. Marten van der Meulen explains the lingering theme of disease in Dutch swear words. He’s a Dutch linguist and the co-author of a book translated roughly as “The Big Dutch Book of Swearing.”