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Dutch treat

Posted by Smokey Stover on November 16, 2003

Sent to the Archives on another mission, I stumbled on a laundry list of Dutch this and that, most of which was attributed to the English bias against the Dutch. Dutch treat (which antedates and explains "go Dutch") refers to the frugality for which the Dutch were once famous. I grew up in a town founded by Dutchmen and full of their descendants, and there were stories (apparently true) circulating in town about frugality gone wild. One example: a man worked as a hired hand on a farm down the road, and was driven to his job every day by his employer. (Both had Dutch names.) At the hired hand's death it was discovered that he had in his garage a brand new car, which he had never been seen to drive. The theory was that if he drove it, his employer would stop driving him to work. #Dutch courage: the English obtained their gin from ports which in those days were Dutch, like Antwerp. Dutch courage is more gin than Dutch. Dutch uncle, I believe, refers to a scolding uncle whose nephews are also Dutch, especially since the usual usage is in a simile, such as "...like a Dutch uncle...." Double Dutch, also mentioned in the Archive, is now used for a type of urban rope skipping using two ropes. I don't know how that gets to be Dutch.