The origin of the phrase "Dutch Act"?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by divingbell, Feb 21, 2010.

  1. divingbell New Member

    North America
    First off, I know that there is history issue regarding the relationship between British and Dutch dating back to 17 or 16 century something, which results in couples of phrases like "Go Dutch/Dutch treat", "Dutch uncle", etc.

    As for "Dutch Act", I know basically it means "to commit suicide", and probably it won't be seen very often these days since apparently it's insulting and inappropriate.

    Does anyone know a more specific explanation of the origin of the phrase? Does it have anything to do with Van Gogh, the painter, since he's one of the most well-known Dutch who committed suicide..

    BTW Just out of curiosity, definitely no offense.

    Many thanks!
  2. mplsray Senior Member

    The following is from the Oxford English Dictionary entry for Dutch:

  3. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Thank you, divingbell - you've taught me something about my language:) I'd never come across the term "Dutch act" before....

    Mplsray has given the OED definition; the only thing I can add is that the OED puts "Dutch act" under this general definition of Dutch
    It looks, then as though it doesn't have anything specifically to do with Van Gogh, but is, rather, simply an example of "Dutch" used insultingly because of past rivalry between England and the Netherlands.
  4. divingbell New Member

    North America
  5. divingbell New Member

    North America
    I see.. So it's just a general impression then. :rolleyes:

    Thanks a lot!

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