Flitsmarathon is the Word of the Year


Flanders’ favourite word of 2014 is flitsmarathon, those pesky marathons of speed checks, according to Van Dale’s popular annual poll

Which of these words do you think should be scrapped from the Dutch language?

Kids’ favourite word is OMG

Flanders’ Word of the Year for 2014 is flitsmarathon, according to the dictionary publishers Van Dale, based on the popular annual poll. As anyone who drives knows, the word refers to an extensive operation (marathon) of speed checks (flitsen) carried out by police. Belgium experienced such marathons, which can results in upwards of 20,000 speeding tickets issued in 24 hours, twice this year.

Flitsmarathon won with 24% of the vote, ahead of boterhammentaks (sandwich tax, a charge levied by schools for supervision of children at lunchtime) and kamizakecoalitie (suicide coalition, a term applied by opposition to the current federal government coalition). Last year’s winner was “selfie,” adopted from English.

There were also winners in five sub-categories: overschotdoos (doggy-bag, still not a reality in Flanders but under discussion) in lifestyle; loomen (the making of bracelets with elastic bands) in sport/amusement; perenboycot (boycott of pears) in economy and het Maggie-effect (an Open VLD electoral boost attributed to Maggie De Block) in politics. Youth-speak, meanwhile, delivered the term “onesie”, another English word, which describes a one-piece pyjama.

The Children’s Word of the Year, chosen by viewers of kid’s channel Ketnet, is the English acronym OMG, meaning "Oh My God", and pronounced by kids like “Oh Em Gee”. Almost 30,000 children took part in the poll to choose from a list of five nominations, including twix (when two people say the same thing at the same time) and “bestie” (English slang for best friend). 

Last year’s kids’ choice also went to an acronym – yolo, standing for You Only Live Once. “I’m not at all surprised an English acronym was chosen again this year,” said VRT’s language adviser, Ruud Hendrickx. “Children grow up with English and adapt it easily into their own language. And let’s face it, English is simply cool.”

Meanwhile, the word oudjes, signifying elderly people, has been chosen to be scrapped by the Institute for Dutch Lexicology from among 10 nominated words Dutch speakers would prefer no longer to hear. The word was described as “belittling”.

photo by KVDS/De Standaard