Dutch, Do the

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10 comments on this post.
  1. Diana T:

    I’ve never heard of “Dutch courage”, but I have heard of “Irish courage”, to be the result of drinking. Which didn’t surprise me since there are a lot of alcohol-related terms attributed to the Irish.

  2. Sitting Duck:

    Another of those Dutch terms heard under another nationality would be taking Dutch leave, which I’ve always heard of as taking French leave.

    This particular column brought to mind The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse. You may recall in that one that Bertie is tasked with going to an antiques shop to have a look at a silver cream jug in the shape of a cow his Uncle Tom had reserved and make disparaging remarks about it (to shame the proprietor into lowering the price). One of the things he was instructed to do was to imply that the creamer was modern Dutch. Before having read this column, I had assumed that the Netherlands had a notoriety for producing cheap replicas. Anyone know which interpretation would be correct?

  3. Armine:

    I have come across the term “to take English leave” meaning to leave a party without drawing attention to one’s person. I remember the term “English leave” to imply politeness on the part of the person who leaves, as if he had rather he did not disturb the rest of the company. Do you think my understanding correct?

  4. Diane:

    Isn’t there a term Dutch uncle?

    Re Wooster, I wonder if the significant word about deriding the pitcher is “modern”, not Dutch, since thus it was not an antique.

  5. Luke Sutton:

    I have heard the phrase “dutch miracle” does anyone know what this means?

  6. Chandler Ralph:

    I was speaking with my Mother last night whose parents are from Northern Holland and we were speaking about what her relatives passed from as it is always good to track health history in one’s family. She indicated that some of them passed from the “Dutch Act” which startled me as I have never heard that expression. So I googled today, which brought me to this site. What a strange expression. Learn something new every day

  7. Larry P:

    “Dutch courage” is an idiom for Gin; whose origins are in Holland. Similar to “Irish courage” in usage.

  8. Gio:

    In Levinson’s excellent movie GLENGARRY GLENROSS based on Mamet’s play, the term ‘do the dutch’ is used by the charachter Sheldon Levine, to explain that he may leave the firm to join another. eg ‘to run away’ as explained above?

  9. Oliver Simoes:

    It’s unfortunate that English speakers continue to perpetuate these ugly biases for stuff most have no knowledge of. I remember during the Iraq war some Americans wanted to rename the “French fry” (mind you, to “Freedom fry”) because of France’s opposition to Bush’s war on Iraq. In the end, Bush was proved a liar (Saddam Hussein had no WMDs). Thank God, I’ll continue to enjoy my French fries, but I’ll think twice about the Dutch trashing.

  10. Dutchess :p:

    Very interesting!
    As a Dutch person I am not too happy with this heritage, all the more since I have noticed the stigma on all things Dutch still is expanding, specifically in the USA.
    (Try searching ‘dutch’ in the urban dictionary.)
    I am glad to see the historical background in our rivalry to England explained in this article. I think we deserve more credit…on the other hand, we do have a lot of frogs, are culturally more economical than social, and have played politics to the tee to stay neutral in wars and thus be able to keep trade going. That being said, I could think of a typical thing or two on the part of the English… but let’s not keep piling shade, mmm^^

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