Were you hittefit this summer? Did you celebrate with a vreugdebier? Did you benefit from being a nepobaby or were your ambitions thwarted by bestuursschaamte and wokewashing?
The terms are among the contenders for the annual word of the year, nominated by dictionary compiler Van Dale after studying prominent neologisms in the Dutch media.
Some are directly copied from English, such as nepobaby, a portmanteau of “nepotism” and “baby”, denoting somebody who owes their career success to their parents’ status in the same field, especially media personalities.
Sportfluencer – a person, typically a current or former sports player, who uses their social media channels to promote sports products – and wokewashing – appointing people with diverse backgrounds to deflect attention from corporate misdeeds – have similar origins.
Then there are the hybrid terms, such as TikTokjustitie, or TikTok justice, referring to the practice of shaming people on video sharing sites, and graaiflatie, a direct translation of greedflation, the practice of companies taking advantage of high inflation to boost profits.
X’en emerged as a successor to tweeten, following nepobaby Elon Musk’s takeover of the social media site Twitter.
The high summer temperatures brought hittefit (“heat fit”), in the context of advising people on how to protect themselves from the effects of hot weather, while vreugdebier referred to football fans’ fondness for throwing beakers of beer onto the pitch to celebrate a goal.
Recent administrative scandals led to an outbreak of bestuursschaamte – a sense of shame brought about by being associated with institutions whose failures damaged public confidence – as well as complaints about excessive financial penalties or treitertaksen.
Van Dale organises a parallel competition in Belgium, where the nominees this year include bullebakbaas – an overbearing manager whose behaviour creates an unsafe workplace atmosphere – and donutfusie, a creative term for mergers by suburban municipalities to avoid being absorbed into a larger city.
Last year’s winner, klimaatklever, describing a climate activist who glues themselves to a public place to generate attention for their cause, was the winner in both the Netherlands and Belgium.
You can vote for your Dutch word of the year at the Van Dale website.
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