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Thread: "to go dutch"

  1. #1
    Bodo Guest

    Default "to go dutch"

    Hello Everyone!

    I am looking for someone who knows more about the expression "To go Dutch". I know that it means something like "Everybody pays their own food/drink etc".

    But why does it say "Dutch" ? There must be a historical background or some kind of stereotype, linking the Dutch to proverb`s meaning/connotation.

    I am thankful for every hint or explanation.

    Thank you very much!

    Bodo

  2. #2
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: "to go dutch"

    Many expression with Dutch are negative a date back to a war we had with them. This one, I'm afraid I don't know. I'll try to find out.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: "to go dutch"

    I happened to run across something about this is a book titled A Man of My Words (by Richard Lederer). The appropriate section is from pages 22 through 26. On page 22: "Probably no other nationality but Dutch has come in for so consistent a torrent of verbal abuse from the British, their neighbors across the North Sea. In dozens of compund expressions, the Dutch are depicted as cowardly, cheap, or deceitful." The author goes on the explain (on page 24) that "during the seventeenth century, the nations became rivals in international commerce, fighting for control of the sea and parts of the New World." Thus began the slurs against the Dutch. (A Dutch treat is no treat at all. Dutch courage is found in a bottle. To be in Dutch is to be in trouble. The phrase Dutch leave means to be AWOL. A Dutch defense is a retreat or surrender. )

    The author also explained that many English words have come from Dutch. A partial list includes:
    booze, boss, boy, brandy, bully, buoy, bush, caboose, coleslaw, cookie, cop, cruise, date, deck, decoy, dingus, dope, dumb, sxcise, filibuster, furlough, gas, gin, golf, goose, halibut, hay, hobble, huckster, husk, hustle, jib, kit, knapsack, landscape, loiter, mangle, mart, pickle, placard, smuggle, snap, snatch, snoop, snort, snow, snuff, splint, spook, spool, uproar, waffle, wagon, walrus, wiseacre, and yawl.

  4. #4
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: "to go dutch"

    In rhyming slang, 'Dutch' means 'mate', from 'Dutch plate', so there are a couple of friendly ones.

  5. #5
    Bodo Guest

    Default Re: "to go dutch"

    Thank you very much for the replies.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: "to go dutch"

    You're welcome, Bodo.

    (BTW, for those unfamiliar with Cockney rhyming slang, "Dutch plate" does not, in itself, mean anything. Right, Tdol? (Outsiders are not really supposed to understand what is being said, and, speaking for myself, I wouldn't try.))


  7. #7
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    Default Re: "to go dutch"

    China (plate) is much more common, but the Dutch do make pottery, so the association was there. Rhyming slang always starts with a phrase that is known, even if the phrase ceases to make much sense later. One of the functions of rhyming slang is to exclude outsiders. However, all Cockneys love explaining it.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: "to go dutch"

    Hey, I figured one (rhyming slang expression) out all on my own recently. Of course, I have forgotten what it was.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: "to go dutch"

    I like a good rabbit wiv me Chinas darn the rubadub over a Nelson.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: "to go dutch"

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    I like a good rabbit wiv me Chinas darn the rubadub over a Nelson.

    Would you say that slower?


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