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Re: Dutch

Posted by ESC on January 22, 2000

In Reply to: Re: Meaning orgin posted by Barry on January 20, 2000

: : "you are in Dutch" or "you are in double dutch"

: 'My old Dutch' is cockney slang for wife and to speak 'Double Dutch' is to be incomprehensible to any other than yourself. Well at least that's my as yet un-researched opinion.

The "Morris Dictionary of Phrase and Word Origins" has a lengthy entry about the use of the word "Dutch" in phrases. "Probably no nationality has come in for so consistent a torrent of verbal abuse from the English as their neighbors across the channel the Dutch...It was not always thus. Until well after Shakespeare's time, the Dutch were usually well regarded in all literary references by British authors." So if you are British, consider yourself chided.

Mr. and Mrs. Morris say "'Double dutch' is a kind of talk deliberately intended to deceive the listener." They don't list "in Dutch."

The Facts on File "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson states:"The Dutch people have been so offended by the English language over the past three centuries that in 1934 their government decided to drop the word 'Dutch' and use 'Netherlands' whenever possible." Wow! The section on "Dutch" lists three columns of phrases using the word including "in Dutch -- in trouble; in jail; this may refer to the early New York Dutch but probably refers to the Germans." Whatever that means.