[Ads-l] Query about "Third time's the charm" and its Dutch equivalent

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Fri Sep 3 11:20:57 UTC 2021

As I am not familiar with the Dutch version, I make no claim about the meaning nor whether equivalent to the English saying, the following 1893 periodical discusses it in relation to keelhauling (kielhalen):


FWIW OED at keelhaul v. includes:
1666   London Gaz. No. 112/3   He..caused Blake to be loaded with Chains..and..ordered him to be three times Keel-haled (as they [the Dutch] call it).


From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Cohen, Gerald Leonard <gcohen at MST.EDU>
Sent: Thursday, September 2, 2021 9:57 PM
Subject: Query about "Third time's the charm" and its Dutch equivalent

One of my former students wrote to me today:

I have a Dutch friend, Florian, who I play cards with online.  Recently
I used the phrase Third time's the charm, and I asked him if they had
anything similar in Dutch.
He said they have one very similar, Driemaal is scheepsrecht.
It has the same connotation as the English phrase but actually translates
to Third time is ship's law.  Florian speaks very good English but didn't
know himself what the Ship's law portion of it actually refers to.  Just
wondering if you had encountered this before, or if there was anything
similar in other languages!

That's the message I received from my student. Any insight/information on
the expression would be very gratefully received.

Gerald Cohen

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