Presenting the (hilarious COVID-19 inspired) nominees for Dutch Word of the Year

Dutch dictionary Van Dale has announced the 15 new words battling it out for the prestigious title of Word of the Year 2021. Just four of the nominees are non-coronavirus-related. 🦠 

Intimiteitsvacuüm (intimacy vacuum), Deltavariant, prikspijt (pricker’s remorse), and finfluencer (financial influencer) are all in the lead to win this year!

The majority of last year’s nominations also consisted of words related to the coronavirus crisis. The winner? Anderhalvemetersamenleving, aka one and a half meter society. 

Here’s a full list of the 15 nominees, loaded with a ton of fun Dutch wordplay!

  • Boosterprik: Also known as a booster shot, is the repeated injection of a vaccine, pretty straightforward. 
  • Deltavariant (Delta variant): the contagious coronavirus variant that was dominant in 2021. We’re wondering if Omicron is going to make the list in 2022? 
  • Doorbraakinfectie (breakthrough infection): a virus infection that occurs in someone who has been fully vaccinated.
  • Finfluencer (Finfluencer): someone who gives investment advice to their followers via social media, combining “finance” and “influencer”.
  • Gevoeligheidslezer (sensitivity reader): reader or editor who reads a manuscript before publication for potentially offensive passages, stereotypes, or politically incorrect statements.
  • Grotsyndroom (cave syndrome): an anxiety complex experienced by someone who is able to participate in social life again after prolonged isolation — we’ve probably all had a taste of this phenomenon. 😳
  • Intimiteitsvacuüm (intimacy vacuum): the temporary or long-term lack of connection and intimacy (both mental and physical) between partners within a romantic relationship. As the second year of the pandemic clearly continues to put relationships to the test. 
  • Memeaandeel (meme stock): a share of a relatively small company that is bought en masse by a horde of small investors to manipulate the price.
  • Pandemocratie (pandemocracy): a democracy that is affected and (permanently) changed by a pandemic — never heard of her. 😉 
  • Prikpolarisatie (prick polarisation): a phenomenon in which proponents and opponents of a large-scale or general vaccination of the population are diametrically opposed and fight each other verbally. Could never be us. ✋
  • Prikspijt (prick remorse): a person’s regret for having been vaccinated against a particularly contagious disease. Bit of a strange one.
  • QR-samenleving (QR society): a society in which people only have access to certain places if they can prove that they have been vaccinated by means of a QR code. As we’ve seen in the past weeks, QR-samenleving can contribute to prikpolarisatie
  • Vaccinatievoordringer (vaccination queue jumper): someone who, according to the vaccination schedule, should not yet be vaccinated, but abuses their position or falsifies information to jump the queue. We do not approve.
  • Wappiegeluid (wappie sound): misleading opinion, not based on facts or generally accepted scientific insights, about a social or political issue — similar to last year’s nominee viruswappie!
  • Woonprotest (housing protest): tens of thousands of people across Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, and beyond, took the streets to demand fair housing​​ starting back in August. The demonstrations were spurred by grievances over the astronomical housing prices, rising rents in the private sector, and the shortage of social housing. As Yuri Veerman’s poster campaign put it, Je bent te laat. 

Make sure to check out some untranslatable Dutch words that have absolutely nothing to do with coronavirus.🤒

Which one of these words is your favourite? Tell us in the comments below! 🤗

Feature Image: IgorVetushko/Depositphotos

Caitlin Elston-Weidinger 🇩🇪🇺🇸
Caitlin Elston-Weidinger 🇩🇪🇺🇸
Though Caitlin was born in Berlin, she was raised between the beaches of Florida and mountainous Oregon but has opted for a university career in the cosy Netherlands. Four years into her Dutch journey, you’ll find Caitlin ranting about politics, upcycling jewellery for her online store, or roaming around with her analogue camera.



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