Variations on the Dutch word baas can be found in 57 other world languages, making it the most widely adopted Dutch word, according to Leiden researcher Nicoline van der Sijs.
‘We have to conclude that the Dutch and Flemish were happy to be the boss, on ships and plantations and the like,’ Van der Sijs says in Wednesday’s NRC.
The word is not only a noun meaning boss, but a form of address, which has also boosted its use, she said.
Van der Sijs and a team of volunteers and interns found a total of 17,560 Dutch words which had become absorbed into 138 languages.
Gas and kraan (tap) are in joint second place, both of which can be found in 49 other languages.
The results of the project will be published in a book Nederlandse woorden wereldwijd in November.