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Thread: dutch uncle

  1. #1
    balakrishnanijk is offline Member
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    Default dutch uncle

    Can one say "She talked to me like a Dutch Uncle"? Or should we say " She talked to me like a Dutch aunt"?
    Another:
    Is it all right to say "She is a doubting Thomas"? Does the fact that Thomas is the name of a male make any difference at all?

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    Default Re: dutch uncle

    In the first instance, "Dutch aunt" would draw so much attention to itself that you could only use it in a somewhat wry, playful way (which would be effective, in my opinion). If you don't intend this, it would be better to avoid the expression altogether.

    "Doubting Thomas" is so well-established that it might fare a little better, but the gender difference would still jar a bit. You could soften this by saying, "like a doubting Thomas" instead of "is a doubting Thomas." Again, "doubting Thomasina" would get the message across, but humorously.

    [native speaker & writer, not a teacher]

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    Barb_D is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: dutch uncle

    Is "Dutch uncle" used in the UK or elsewhere? I've lived 40 years in the US without ever hearing it.

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    Default Re: dutch uncle

    I'm not sure I've ever heard it outside of books, Barb_D. I think our corollary would be, "She gave me a real come-to-Jesus talk." Although perhaps that's only a Southern expression.

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    Default Re: dutch uncle

    Quote Originally Posted by Delmobile View Post
    ...a real come-to-Jesus talk...
    Excuse me, what does the phrase mean? (if I may ask )) )

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    Default Re: dutch uncle

    I liked this explanation from this blog::

    "...as my friend krystal explained to me, a "come to jesus" meeting is based on a church reference. coming to jesus is a very serious, intense, no holds barred session where everything comes out in the open so that you can accept jesus as your savior. in the business sense, it is a serious, no holds barred session where everything comes out in the open so the team can put it behind them and move on."

    Here is an example of how it might be used: The boss tells a manager, "You'd better have a little come-to-Jesus talk with Fred and let him know that if he doesn't straighten up quick, he's going to be out of a job." Or, two departments who haven't been working well together might have a come-to-Jesus meeting to air their grievances and see if they can't begin a more cooperative relationship.

    Not precisely the same as a Dutch uncle, but the idea of forthright honesty ("I'm only telling you this for your own good" is there.

  7. #7
    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: dutch uncle

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Is "Dutch uncle" used in the UK
    I don't believe I've ever heard it in the UK, outside a quiz. I suspect that most BrEs would think it meant an unintelligible but sharing kind of uncle.

    "Dutch aunt" on the other hand would be immediately recognisable as a Shakespearian female of dubious character.

    MrP

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