football is giving English Dutch words

Forget boats. Here’s the new source of Dutch words in English

While reading the quarterly update of new words added to that behemoth of English dictionaries, the OED, I was surprised to find not one but two words taken from the Dutch. Both of them even got a special mention in the OED blog.

English has a few Dutch words, of course, often to do with maritime pursuits, owing to the time when the Dutch were very good at boats. There’s “yacht” (jacht), “freight” (vracht), “deck” (dek), “avast” (houd vast), “skipper” (schipper), and plenty more.

But now it’s football, it would seem. The words that caught my eye were:

Cruyff turn – The OED definition is “a manoeuvre used by one player to evade another, in which the player with the ball feints a pass while facing in one direction before immediately dragging the ball behind and across his or her standing leg with the other foot, turning, and moving away in the opposite direction.”

Though Johan Cruyff first used this manoeuvre in 1974, it has only now been added to the dictionary.

total football – from our “totaalvoetbal”: “an attacking style of football in which every outfield player is able to play in any position as required during the course of a game, to allow fluid movement around the pitch while retaining the team’s overall structure as players exchange positions and fill spaces left by others.”

Again, the entry notes that this style of football has been practised by Ajax since the 70s, but it would seem the term is now being mentioned in English-language media often enough to warrant an entry in the OED.

As a non-lover of football, I can’t say I’m super excited. But then I don’t know much about sailing, either. Here’s hoping the next batch of Dutch words to go to English will have to do with, I don’t know, chocolate. Or linguistics. A girl can hope!

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