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‘Jew’ Is Now Slang for ‘Cool’ in Dutch

No, seriously.

Adam Chandler
January 14, 2013

According to a linguist in Leiden, Netherlands–which is the beginning of a sentence I never thought I’d write–all the hip Dutch-speaking kids have christened a slang word from the Dutch word for Jew. Ordinarily, this would be the beginning of a terrible story, but as it turns out, it’s not so bad this time.

Professor Marc van Oostendorp wrote Monday on his blog that he heard the new usage of the word “jood” (pronounced yode) at a high school in Leiden shortly after learning about the phenomenon from an online forum about the Dutch language.

And what does “jood” mean? “Cool” or “awesome.” But the story doesn’t end here. Apparently, this isn’t the only instance where the Dutch language uses a Jew-ish in a positive manner:

Van Oostendorp notes that Dutch already has one positive exclamation connected to Judaism in “tof,” which was borrowed from Yiddish and means “good,” but he writes that “it’s not clear if those two are connected. I don’t believe too many people are aware of the etymology.”

But let’s not get bogged down in the details on this last one. After all, a Double Dutch is better than Single Dutch, nu?

Now, wouldn’t it be jood if we could just get the Dutch to stop threatening to ban ritual slaughter?

‘Jew’ Is the New ‘Cool’ in Dutch, Linguist Says [JTA]

Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.