What’s your pick for ugliest Dutch word?


Marc van Oostendorp, a well-known Dutch linguist, decided to ask foreign students recently what they thought was the ugliest Dutch word.

In the video below (in Dutch), a Polish student said ‘geheugen’ (memory) because it does sounds like a Dutch cat trying to cough up a hairball. A Hungarian student, who sounds more Belgian than Dutch, said ‘überhaupt’ (‘as a whole’) because it’s straight up German, much to the amusement of everyone in the video. Another student from the United States, came up with ‘vruchtbaarheid’ (‘fertility’), but didn’t offer up an explanation as to why. A Spanish student came up with ‘ziekenhuis’ (‘hospital’) “because nobody likes to be lying in the hospital”, which means the meaning was more interesting to her than the sound of the word. An Argentinean student who learnt Dutch in Belgium chose ‘tureluurs’ (‘loopy’), a word that is probably used in written form more often than common speech.

Funny enough, all the students interviewed were women: what’s up with that?

Feel free to tell us if you can and want to: what Dutch word is the ugliest for you? I think mine would have to be any word that starts with ‘sj’ like ‘sjalot’. It sounds like your teeth are in the way of pronouncing ‘shalot’ properly, but to each their own.


  1. TimJ says:

    Don’t know why by I can’t stand the word/name “Boudewijn”.

  2. Orangemaster says:

    I don’t like it either. King Baudouin (Belgium) was already weird sounding to me because in Québec were I’m from, Baudoin (no u) is a last name.

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