Steering Club

The other day I came across the Dutch word stuurknuppel [ˈstyːrˌknʏ.pəl] and had to find out where it comes from. I also rather like the sound of it.

Competition Pro

Stuurknuppel means joystick, stick or controls, particularly in an aeroplane. It comes from sturen [ˈstyːrə(n)] (to steer, guide, send), and knuppel [ˈknʏpəl], which means a club, cudgel or other blunt instrument, and also a clown, lout or awkward individual [source].

Sturen comes from the Middle Dutch sturen (to steer, direct, lead), from the Old Dutch stiuren, from the Proto-Germanic *stiurijaną (to direct, steer). The English word steer comes from the same root, as do related words in other Germanic languages [source].

Some related words include:

  • fietsstuur = handlebars
  • stuurhuis = wheelhouse, pilothouse
  • stuurhut = wheelhouse, cockpit, flight deck
  • stuurstang = handlebar, steering rod
  • stuurwiel = steering wheel
  • gummiknuppel = truncheon, baton
  • honkbalknuppel = baseball bat

2 thoughts on “Steering Club

  1. On German keyboards, which have what is called a QWERTZ layout, the key commonly referred to as “Control” or “CTRL” on US keyboards is shown as “Steuerung”, the German word for Steering, abbreviated as “STRG”. Evidently, the thought is that if you are going to “control” your computer, it’s the same as “steering” it. The notion of “steering” is so ingrained that some German keyboards actually have a picture of an old-fashioned sailing ship’s steering wheel, complete with hand-holds.

  2. Lovely post as always 🙂 Some suggested additions to your list:

    – Just plain stuur = steering wheel in a car/ship, handlebars on a bike (the fiets- bit is optional)
    stuurbekrachtiging = power steering
    besturen = to drive a vehicle, to manage (e.g. a company)
    bestuur = management (of a company etc.)
    bestuursvergadering = board meeting
    stuurs (adjective, not sure if related) = grumpy, stubborn
    een knuppel in het hoenderhok gooien “to throw a baton into the chicken run” = to cause a stir

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