Invader Stu: The many meanings of dus

If you look up the word dus in a Dutch-to-English language book it will tell you that it translates into the word "so". However, this is a terrible over simplification.

The word dus is used by the Dutch to communicate a wide range of thoughts, feelings, emotions, insights, desires and meanings that are not covered by this simple translation. Today we will look at a few of its many meanings.

The Short Dus (Direct)

The short dus communicates anger. It is often used to punctuate the end of an argument and declare oneself the winner. It is supposed to be the final word that crushes the opponent and signals that it is either time to storm out of the room or slam down the phone.

Meaning: This argument is over! I win!

Example: I’m right. You’re wrong. Plus you’re stupid. Dus!

The Short Dus (Indirect)

This version of the short dus is similar to the previous but it is used when re-telling the argument to a friend who did not witness the original fight. It still communicates anger but it is not directed at the listener (even though it might sometimes feel like it).

Meaning: I won that argument!

Possible Additional Meaning: And you better agree with me!

Example: "I was right. He was wrong and he’s stupid. Dus!"

The Giggle Dus

This dus is friendly and often accompanied by a small chuckle. It is used when delivering the punchline of a joke or a funny story that the user finds amusing. Sometimes it is even replaces the punchline to leave the outcome up to the listener’s imagination. It can also be used as a reaction to hearing something amusing.

Meaning: This is (or that was) really funny.

Example: "He left his computer logged into facebook... Dus."

The Drawn Out Dussssss (Confused)

If the Dutch are confused about something they will often use the drawn out dus to communicate this. It signals that further information is required and is often used in a moment of silence when something has not been fully explained yet. The longer the dus, the greater the confusion.

Meaning: And? What happens (or happened) next?

Example: "Dussssssss?"

The Drawn Out Dussssss (Sarcastic)

The sarcastic version of the drawn out dus is used when the idiot you are trying to explain something to is too stupid to understand. If you are tired of repeating yourself simply replace the instructions or explanation you would normally give with the drawn out dus instead.

Meaning: Could you be more stupid?

Example: "It’s so easy a child could do it. Dusssssssss." *roll eyes*

The Contemplative Dus

When the outcome or result of an action is unknown the contemplative dus is often used. It is a slightly submissive dus that suggests no further action will be taken by the person using it, either because there are no options left to them or they simply cannot be bothered. It is sometimes accompanied by a shrug.

Meaning: We’ll have to wait and see what happens next.

Example: "I’ve done everything I can… Dus." *shoulder shrug*

The Reactionary Dus

When something surprising or unexpected happens the reactive dus is often used. It can convey genuine surprise or be used in a sarcastic manner when someone is not following the Dutch doe normaal rule.

Meaning: That was (or is) weird.

Example: "Dus."

Do you know any other uses of the word dus that should be included?

Invader Stu is an accident prone Englishman who has been suffering from Dutch culture shock for the last ten years. Enjoy his stories, more of which can be found on Invading Holland.

Stuart B


Stuart B

An accident prone Englishman living in Holland since 2001. Still not great with the language but finds stampot lekker.

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