Help with Dutch idiom

I’m translating a book in Dutch into English for work purposes (through Google translate I have to admit) and I’ve come across what I presume to be an idiom - and we all know how google translate struggles with idioms!

It is:
Spreuken is zilver
Zwijgen is goud

…which I’m guessing would be “to speak is silver, to be silent is gold”. i.e. listening is more precious than speaking ?
(Google translate is giving me “spellings is silver, shut up is gold” :face_with_raised_eyebrow::smile:)


While we wait for the Dutch forumists, do you ever check with Reverso? It often helps sorting out weird stuff from automatic translators (or confusion in my brain) :grinning:

p.s. at first I thought of the Gouda cheese, that’s quite golden shade of yellow color, but looks like it doesn’t have anything to do with it! :laughing:

That’s quite a useful site - I shall bookmark that! Thanks Gisella :slight_smile:

1 Like

My grasp of dutch is somewhat shaky, but I can make out enough that it is in fact the dutch version of an idiom that also exists in German (Reden ist Silber, Schweigen ist Gold), with the underlying meaning that sometimes not saying something is preferable.

1 Like

Thanks Hendrik - I was kind of on the right track then, at least! :slight_smile:

1 Like

Bijna perfect:

Spreken is zilver (spreuken is the noun - sayings, spreken is the verb)
Zwijgen is goud

With the meaning you very correctly inferred

The Dutch leader of the war of independence against the Spanish was Willem de Zwijger - William the Silent

1 Like

Wonderful! I thought I’d better check - I was sure there had to be a better translation than “shut up is gold” ! :rofl:

Bedankt iedereen!

1 Like