How to Say “Tickle” in Dutch: A Comprehensive Guide

Gaining knowledge about different languages broadens our understanding of cultural diversity and allows us to connect with people from various backgrounds. If you’re looking to learn how to say “tickle” in Dutch, this guide will provide you with formal and informal ways to express this amusing sensation. Additionally, we’ll touch on regional variations if necessary. So get ready to tickle your Dutch vocabulary!

Formal Ways to Say “Tickle” in Dutch:

1. Kriebelen:

Kriebelen is the most common formal way to say “tickle” in Dutch. It is a versatile and widely understood term that encompasses the sensation of being tickled. For example:

De veertjes kriebelden op mijn neus. (The feathers tickled my nose.)

Iemand kriebelen kan een prettig gevoel geven. (Tickling someone can give a pleasant feeling.)

2. Kittelen:

If you’re looking for a more sophisticated term, you can use “kittelen.” It is often used in formal contexts and has a slightly lighter connotation than “kriebelen.” Here are some examples:

Ik kon het niet laten om haar te kittelen. (I couldn’t resist tickling her.)

Kittelen kan soms een onverwachte lach veroorzaken. (Tickling can sometimes cause an unexpected laugh.)

Informal Ways to Say “Tickle” in Dutch:

1. Kietelen:

Among friends and in informal situations, “kietelen” is the most commonly used term for “tickle.” It perfectly captures the playful nature of tickling. Examples include:

Hij kan echt niet tegen kietelen. (He really can’t stand being tickled.)

Laat me je kietelen! (Let me tickle you!)

2. Prikkelen:

While not as widely used as “kietelen,” “prikkelen” can also be used informally to describe the tickling sensation. This word can also mean “stimulate” or “provoke” in other contexts. Here are a couple of examples:

Die veren prikkelen mijn huid. (Those feathers tickle my skin.)

Prikkelen kan vaak tot vrolijke reacties leiden. (Tickling often leads to cheerful reactions.)

Regional Variations:

The Dutch language may have some regional variations when it comes to expressing “tickle.” However, since “kriebelen” and “kietelen” are widely understood throughout the Netherlands and Belgium, there are no significant regional differences to highlight. These terms can be used across Dutch-speaking regions.

Tips for Learning and Practicing:

1. Practice Tongue Twisters:

A fun way to improve your pronunciation is to practice Dutch tongue twisters that involve the word “kriebelen” or “kietelen.” Repeat them slowly at first and gradually increase your speed. Here’s an example:

Koekebakker Kiekeboe kriebelt Karel Kiezelsteen. (Pastry chef Kiekeboe tickles Karel Kiezelsteen.)

2. Use Language Learning Apps:

Make use of language learning apps like Duolingo, Babbel, or Memrise, which offer interactive exercises and vocabulary modules specific to Dutch. These apps provide an excellent platform for practising new words and phrases related to tickling.

3. Find Language Exchange Partners:

Join online language exchange platforms or communities where you can connect with native Dutch speakers. Engaging in conversations will not only help you fine-tune your vocabulary but also provide opportunities to discuss cultural nuances associated with tickling.


Learning how to say “tickle” in Dutch opens up another linguistic door for you to connect with Dutch speakers. Whether you opt for the formal terms “kriebelen” or “kittelen” or prefer the informal ones like “kietelen” or “prikkelen,” you can now confidently express this playful sensation. Remember to practice, seek out language learning resources, and engage with native speakers to further enhance your Dutch language skills. Enjoy exploring this widely ticklish vocabulary!

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