October 7, 2018

DON'T TELL MY "DUTCH WIFE":

The Warlike Origins of 'Going Dutch': The term for splitting the bill has its roots in a bitter international rivalry. (ANNE EWBANK SEPTEMBER 25, 2018, AStas Obscura)

The insults came fast and thick. Dutch soldiers, according to the English, needed "Dutch courage," or alcohol-fueled bravado, to fight. A "Dutch uncle" was a stern and authoritative figure, not a kindly uncle. "Dutch feasts" were parties where the host got drunk first, while a "Dutch reckoning" was an unitemized bill with unexpected charges. "Dutch comfort" was the small consolation that a bad situation wasn't worse.

In essence, writes Peter Douglas of the New Netherland Institute, "Dutch" implied anything opposite or inferior to the way it should have been, and often the term was used for everything from crude insults to possibly even cookware. The Dutch oven, a lidded pot that can be used for baking, may or may not be part of this trend: It's not truly an oven, but the Dutch may have simply been good at producing them.

"To go Dutch," though, is an all-American term. As Jonathan Milder writes in Entertaining from Ancient Rome to the Super Bowl, one of the first scornful references to a "Dutch treat"--that is, not really treating someone else at all--appears in a New York Times article from 1877. The term coincides with what Milder calls "the centuries-old British sport of mocking the Dutch," but can also be a reference to the contemporary German-American habit of everyone buying their own drink (Dutch being a confused reference to Deutsch, or "German").

Posted by at October 7, 2018 4:48 AM

  

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