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O is for oma, opa and oksel.

Oma is granny and opa is grandpa, so very useful words to know. I think these were one of the first words both my parents and my parents-in-law learnt in Dutch.

Oksel is armpit, which is a word I find amusing. In both languages. At least in English it’s descriptive so you can guess where it means, even if you don’t know it.


  1. I just read a Knuffle Bunny book with my daughter where a girl visits her Opa and Oma in Holland. We had a long conversation about different terms for grandparents. My father-in-law lives in the Southern United States, so he goes by Pee Paw.

  2. Well, you learn something everyday, to borrow a useful cliche. When our kids were all young, good friends of ours always referred to the grandparents as Oma and Opa. I actually thought it was a Spanish thing because the husband was Cuban, but now I know it was from the mother’s family, who had come to America to escape the Nazis in 1939.

  3. Oh interesting, armpit is oxter in Doric (dialect in NE Scotland). My German teacher at school said there were some links between Doric and Germanic languages, eg Kirk for church, Kirche in German. Lots of fishing = lots of migration and sharing of language I guess.

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