sci.lang.japan FAQ / 4. Words from other languages

4.4. Which Japanese words come from Dutch?

The Dutch, like the Portuguese (see 4.2. Which Japanese words come from Portuguese?), were one of the first nations to trade with Japan. During Japan's closed period from the 17th to 19th century, only the Dutch were allowed to come to Japan via the southern port of Nagasaki. At this time, western learning was known as rangaku (蘭学), from the (ran) kanji used to represent Holland (see 3.4. Why is America called ? for an explanation). During this time, many words were adopted from Dutch into Japanese. Many of these words, such as kōhii (コーヒー) "coffee", and biiru (ビール), are still used in modern-day Japanese.

Here is a list of some of the more important words. Some of these words have kanji forms, but all of the kanji forms are ateji. See 1.2.6. Why do some words have ?

Japanese (rōmaji, kana) Japanese (kanji) Dutch (origin) Meaning of Japanese word Notes
arakku
アラック
arak arack
arukōru
アルコール
alcohol alcohol The origin is disputed. This may have come from Portuguese.
asubesuto
アスベスト
asbest asbestos
biiru
ビール
麦酒 bier beer
buriki
ブリキ
錻力, 鉄葉, 錻 blik tin, tin plate
dansu
ダンス
dans dance
dokku
ドック
dok (dry) dock
dontaku
ドンタク
Zondag (Sunday) day off, holiday See also handon. This word is no longer common in Japanese.
erikuteru
エリクテル
electriciteit electricity This word is no longer common in Japanese.
garasu
ガラス
硝子 glas window glass
gasu
ガス
gas gas
gomu
ゴム
gom rubber, gum. Also used to mean "condom".
handon
ハンドン
半ドン Zondag (Sunday) half-day holiday Compound of Japanese han (half) and dontaku. This word is no longer commonly used in Japanese.
hisuterii
ヒステリー
hysterie hysteria
hoppu
ホップ
hop hop
inki
インキ
inkt ink
kaban
カバン
kabas bag
kanfuru
カンフル
kamfer camphor
karan
カラン
下欄 kraan tap, faucet The origin is disputed. This may have come from German "Kran".
kiniine
キニーネ
kinine quinine
kokku
コック
kok cook
konpasu
コンパス
kompas compass (drawing instrument)
kōhii
コーヒー
珈琲 koffie coffee
koppu
コップ
kop drinking glass The origin is disputed. This may have come from Portuguese "copo".
koruku
コルク
kurk cork
madorosu
マドロス
matroos sailor
manto
マント
mantel cloak
marariya
マラリヤ
malaria malaria
masuto
マスト
mast mast (of a ship)
mesu
メス
mes (knife) scalpel
moruhine
モルヒネ
morfine morphine
nikkeru
ニッケル
nikkel nickel
oburāto
オブラート
oblaat Thin disc of starch used for wrapping sweets or as a medicinal wafer. May come from German Oblate. See 4.3. Which Japanese words come from German?.
orugōru
オルゴール
orgel (organ) music box
otenba
オテンバ
お転婆 ontembaar (untameable) a tomboy This is a dubious derivation and may just be a coincidence.
pen
ペン
pen pen
pinsetto
ピンセット
pincet tweezers
pisutoru
ピストル
pistool pistol
pompu
ポンプ
pomp pump
poruda
ポルダ
polder low lying land reclaimed from the sea
rampu
ランプ
lamp lamp
randoseru
ランドセル
ransel knapsack Used only for the school satchels worn by Japanese elementary school children.
ransetto
ランセット
lancet lancet
renzu
レンズ
lens lens
retoruto
レトルト
retort (glass vessel used for distillation) sealed bag used to contain food for reheating
sāberu
サーベル
sabel sable
safuran
サフラン
saffraan saffron
siroppu
シロップ
siroop syrup
supoito
スポイト
spuit (nozzle) pipette
yōdo
ヨード
jodium iodine Many sources claim this is from German "Jod".
zukku
ズック
doek canvas cloth; plimsolls

External links

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Ger de Groot, Gert Kok, Jim Breen, Rob Dieters, Tanaka Tomoyuki, and Jorg Entzinger for additions to this list


sci.lang.japan FAQ / 4. Words from other languages

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