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Go Dutch = Dutch treat

Posted by John Bull on March 18, 2004

In Reply to: Go Dutch = Dutch treat posted by ESC on March 17, 2004

: : Does anyone know where the phrase "to go Dutch" originates from? Please e-mail!

: It refers to a "Dutch treat."

: DUTCH TREAT - "When you're invited to a 'Dutch treat' or a 'Dutch luncheon,' the host expects each guest to pay his own way." From the "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977). Mr. and Mrs. Morris call "Dutch treat" a derogatory phrase.

: "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." From "I Hear America Talking" by Stuart Berg Flexner (Von Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, 1976).

: "In the 17th century the English-Dutch hostility over control of the seas and disputed parts of the New World was intense.The anti-Dutch tradition of early English settlers persisted and gives (America) such terms as.'Dutch treat,' 1887; 'go Dutch,' 1931, no treat at all, each person paying for his own meal or ticket." From the "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Fact on File, New York, 1997). "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." The section on "Dutch" lists three columns of phrases using the word.

In my experience in the UK there is absolutely no animosity against the Dutch people - quite the reverse in fact. We have strong opinions of the Germans for their warlike activities in the last century, we have a mutual love/hate relationship with the French stretching back 1,000 years, we treat the Italians as a joke in respect of just about everything except Opera, we think the Spanish are cruel because of their bull baiting and we can't forget the Armada, we like the Portuguese because they have been our allies for hundreds of years and they make fine Port and Sherry, we respect the Danes, Swedes and Norwegians, we think the Swiss a prissy lot with their over tidy country and cuckoo clock mentality, the Irish are like an 800 year hangover we can't shift whatever we do, the Welsh depress us (and themselves) with their never-ending winging and we prefer to ignore them as much as possible, the Scots we admire, respect and fear just a wee bit. As for the rest we don't think about them a lot