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See also: -vrouw



Borrowed from Dutch vrouw. Doublet of frow and frau.


vrouw (plural vrouws or vrouwen)

  1. A Dutchwoman.
    • 1786, “Account of the India Guide”, in Walker's Hibernian magazine:
      So the Vrouws, in a minuet, solemnly prance
      Like a bear, at a fair, that is tutor'd to dance.
    • 1840, The United States magazine and Democratic review: Volume 7, page 158:
      Those whose rank excluded them from a participation in the town deliberations drew closer to their firesides; the vrouws, both old and young, edged their seats nigher to each other []
    • 1898, Mrs. John King Van Rensselaer [i.e., May King Van Rensselaer], The Goede Vrouw of Mana-ha-ta at Home and in Society, 1609-1760, New York, N.Y.: Charles Scribner’s Sons, page 131:
      The Dutch vrouwen controlled their households as before, and governed their husbands with silken threads.
    • 1913, Dorothea Fairbridge, That Which Hath Been, South Africa: T. Maskew Miller, page 309:
      One by one those who had come to jeer slipped away, Pieter van der Byl murmuring incoherently of the hot sun and van der Heyden of the chilly evening, until finally Huysing turned abruptly from the pier and strode away, with a curt order to the waiting slaves to carry the vrouwen back to Zee Straat.
    • 1917, Continent, page 1381:
      [] thrifty Dutch burghers and vrouwen are busy about town and home; []
    • 1968, R[alph] N[ixon] Currey, editor, Letters and Other Writings of a Natal Sheriff, Thomas Phipson 1815-76, Cape Town: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 171:
      But really I have never heard that the up-country vrouwen were in such a violent hurry for baftas and punjums but what the ox-wagons and local stores there could keep them supplied.


Dutch Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia nl
Een blonde vrouw.
A blonde woman.


From Middle Dutch vrouwe, from Old Dutch frouwa, from Proto-Germanic *frawjǭ.


  • IPA(key): /vrɑu̯/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: vrouw
  • Rhymes: -ɑu̯


vrouw f (plural vrouwen, diminutive vrouwtje n or vrouwetje n or vrouwke n)

  1. woman
  2. wife
    Synonym: echtgenote

Usage notes[edit]

  • As with English woman, usage of this word as a term of address (typically reserved for the sense "wife") is now mostly considered dated and somewhat patronizing (albeit not as offensive as the diminutive vrouwtje), particularly when said by a man to a woman.
  • Despite the above, among some women a different, positive usage as term of address (referring to the sense "woman") is gaining ground, as in:
Vrouw, wat zie je er goed uit!Girl, you look so good today!
This usage is similar to the usage of girl as a term of address among women and girls in English, albeit the Dutch term is used mostly by adult women among themselves. In this sense it is unlike similar terms of address such as meid, which is applicable to both women and girls and is commonly used by men or boys as well.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


  • Afrikaans: vrou
  • Negerhollands: vro, vrou, frou, fru, vrow
    • Virgin Islands Creole: fru (dated)
  • Aukan: folow
  • English: vrouw
  • Sranan Tongo: frow