[Ads-l] =?utf-8?Q?=C2=A0to_?="dutch"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Dec 30 21:04:10 UTC 2020

> On Dec 30, 2020, at 12:13 PM, James Landau <00000c13e57d49b8-dmarc-request at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> wrote:
> On Sun, Dec 27, 2020, 3:44 PM Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
>> But “Dutch treat" figures as part of a much larger set of slurs and
>> epithets denigrating the Dutch that stem from the years in which the
>> Britain and Holland were engaged in the “herring wars” for supremacy of the
>> North Sea, as itemized in Farmer & Henley, including inter alia:
>> Dutch act:  suicide
>> Dutch bargain:  a bargain all on one side
>> Dutch-clock:  a bedpan; a wife
>> Dutch concert/medley:  a raucous hubbub
>> Dutch consolation:  Job’s comfort (= “could be worse”)
>> Dutch courage:  pot-valiancy, courage due to intoxication
>> Dutch fuck:  the practice of lighting one cigarette from another
>> Dutch milk:  beer
>> Dutch treat:  an outing at which one pays one’s own way
>> Dutch widow:  a prostitute
>> Dutch wife:  a bolster (on a bed)
> A woman who had traveled extensively in Western Europe told me that the Dutch tell jokes about dumb Belgians and the Belgians tell jokes about stingy Dutch, e.g. How do you know you are in the Netherlands?  When you see toilet paper hanging on clotheslines to dry.
> Hence 1) ethnic stereotypes are not a USA invention and 2) stereotypes of the Dutch are not necessarily from the herring wars, as Belgium was not involved in them.
> "Dutch fuck" above is unlikely to derive from the herring wars, as I do not believe cigarettes had yet been invented.

True enough; my supposition, based on Farmer & Henley’s annotation, is that the antipathy exhibited by these expressions (and not necessarily the expressions themselves) could be traced to the herring wars and could then have generated new insults along the familiar lines for centuries thereafter. But I see that F&H’s own cite for “Dutch treat” is indeed from Lippincott’s Magazine (Philadelphia), supporting the OED’s supposition, along with that of others on this list, that that particular collocation is of U.S. (and in particular Pennsylvania Dutch or “Dutch”) origin. 


> Another item for the above list:  "dutchman" in theatrical jargon means strips of cloth soaked in glue used to cover joints and holes in scenery, also "to dutchman" meaning to apply these strips.I have always imagined this was originally an ethnic slur implying the Dutch used this technique to cover up cheap or shoddy work.
> An interdating for "Dutch book":, from https://jeff560.tripod.com/d.html
> DUTCH BOOK (ARGUMENT) in subjective probability theory. The term entered circulation in the 1950s. R. Sherman Lehman explains the term, "If a bettor is quite foolish in the choice of the rates at which he will bet, an opponent can win money from him no matter what happens. The phenomenon is well known to professional bettors--especially bookmakers ... Such a losing book is known by them as a ‘dutch book.’ Our investigations are thus concerned with necessary and sufficient conditions that a book not be ‘dutch.’" ("On Confirmation and Rational Betting," Journal of Symbolic Logic, 20, (1955), p. 251.) The classic use of the Dutch book argument to obtain the properties of subjective odds is B. De Finetti’s "La prévision: ses lois logiques, ses sources subjectives," Annales de l'Institute Henri Poincaré, 7, (1937) 1-68. The term "Dutch book," however, is not used. 
> James Landau
> jjjrlandau at netscape.com
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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