In Reply to: Dutchman's pants posted by I. Skuja on June 30, 2010 at 20:16:
: : In the book "Trekka", written by a fellow about his adventures when he attempted to sail around the world, he says "the sky had a blue hole in it that was as big as a Dutchman's pants"
: : We are trying to figure out if he means it was a Big hole? or a Small hole?
: : In your listing under "Dutchman's Breeches", one of the descriptions refers to a flower that is not round but jagged around the edges. That would explain it nicely if he was talking about the shape, but we have been assuming he was talking about the size of the hole not the shape.
: In trying to figure it out, I wonder, could it mean that the underwear that Dutchmen wore was commonly blue colored, and could be seen if there was a hole in the outer pants? or could it mean "blue" in the sense of improper or naughty i.e. the hole would reveal something indecent? But if that were the case, wouldn't the expression be " A Blue Hole as big as IN a Dutchman's Pants" Thanks for your help.
The saying is definitely *not* about flowers or underwear, so you can forget that entirely. This is a variant on a traditional bit of seagoing weather lore, which states that in bad weather, a patch of blue sky is a hopeful sign that things are going to improve provided it is big enough to "mend a pair of trousers / make a sailor's trousers / make a Dutchman's trousers". The point being that sailors traditionally wore wide trousers, and that Dutchmen traditionally wore even bigger ones, which in addition were blue (as here: http://www.pellatuliptime.com/images/dutch-boy.jpg ) So a hole in the clouds that's as big as a Dutchman's pants is a seriously big one. (VSD)