When settlers from the Netherlands came to New Amsterdam (New York) 300 years ago, they brought their language with them. While the Dutch colony later became English, some Dutch words settled permanently into the English language. How many of them can you identify?
1. You might think that this lunchbox treat is so named because it is "cooked." Not so. This dry, flat sweet cake comes from the Dutch koekje, or "little cake."
2. Kool sla is a kind of Dutch salad made from finely shredded cabbage. Kool does not mean "cold," in this case. It comes from the Latin caulis, meaning "cabbage." Sla means "salad."
3. This sweet and rich fried dough is usually twisted and then cut into short pieces. The English name for the coiled doughnut comes from the Dutch krullen, meaning "to curl." An American version of this popular Dutch pastry is still found in American bakeries.
4. More than 600 years ago, every flatfish - from flounder to sole - was widely known as butt, the Dutch word for it. The largest flatfish species was the flounder, some of which grow to weigh 400 pounds. It was often eaten on holy days in the Middle Ages. And so it was deemed a haly (holy) fish. What do we call it today?
5. This word for a briny cucumber originally applied to the salty solution used to preserve foods. Its invention has been traced to 14th-century Dutch fisherman William Beuketz, who probably first used the process to preserve fish, probably herring.
Sources: The Second Kid's World Almanac of Records and Facts; 'Adventures of a Verbivore,' by
Richard Lederer; Webster's Dictionary; Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins, by William and Mary Morris, 'Word Mysteries and Histories,' by Robert Claiborne, The Facts on File Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins, by Robert Hendrickson, The Barnhart concise Dictionary of Etymology, by Robert K. Barnhart; 'Loose Cannons & Red Herrings,' by Robert Claiborne; 'Story Behind the Word,' by Morton Freeman; 'Why You Say It,' by Webb Garrison, 'Horsefeathers,' by C.E. Funk.
(1) cookie; (2) cole slaw; (3) cruller; (4) halibut; (5) pickle.
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