Water monsters

No, we’re not talking Nessie or ichthyosaurs. A water monster in Dutch also has a second, more common and prosaic meaning: a water sample.

The film Amsterdamned makes this joke in the original Dutch: a researcher is taking canal water samples when the diving-suited perp drags her under. The cop’s throwaway line is that the water sample/monster took her instead. Tough for the subtitler*.

  • So: in English, a water monster is a terrifying horror-movie beastie.
  • And a water sample is what’s put into a test tube
  • The same root as ‘demonstrate’.
  • *Something along the lines of “The water sampled her”, I suppose.

It wasn’t scheduled to be my next post, but this particular classic turned up today in an otherwise pretty good text I was correcting. And I couldn’t resist it.

Prevalence: low. Only seen it a couple of times, actually. Serendipitous.
Frequency: low. But a favourite.
Native: no. Unintentionally hilarious, indeed.

Published by Mike Wilkinson

Twenty years of translating and editing Dutch into English, as well as writing and publishing in English.

2 thoughts on “Water monsters

  1. Haaaai,

    Love your Dunglish messages! Entertaining and I am always learning something!

    In Dutch it should be spelled as ‘watermonster’

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    Hartelijke groet,
    Stay safe, stay healthy!


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