Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[duhch] /dʌtʃ/
of, relating to, or characteristic of the natives or inhabitants of the Netherlands or their country or language.
pertaining to or designating the style of painting and subject matter developed in the Netherlands during the 17th century, chiefly characterized by the use of chiaroscuro, muted tones, naturalistic colors or forms, and of genre, landscape, or still-life subjects drawn from contemporary urban and rural life.
of, relating to, or characteristic of the Pennsylvania Dutch.
Archaic. German; Teutonic.
the people of the Netherlands and their immediate descendants elsewhere, collectively.
Also called Netherlandic. the Germanic language of the Netherlands and northern Belgium.
Abbreviation: D.
Compare Flemish.
Obsolete. the German language.
go Dutch, Sometimes Offensive. to have each person pay his or her own expenses:
a dinner where everyone goes Dutch.
Also, go dutch.
in Dutch, Sometimes Offensive. in trouble or disfavor (with someone):
in Dutch with the teacher for disturbing the class.
Origin of Dutch
1350-1400; Middle English Duch < Middle Dutch duutsch Dutch, German(ic); cognate with Old High German diutisc popular (language) (as opposed to learned Latin), translation of Latin (lingua) vulgāris popular (language)
Related forms
pre-Dutch, adjective
pseudo-Dutch, adjective
Usage note
The idioms go Dutch (related to Dutch treat) and in Dutch (which uses Dutch to mean “trouble”) are both sometimes perceived as insulting to or by the Dutch. In addition, the adjective Dutch is found in a few other set phrases (Dutch courage, Dutch gold, and Dutch uncle) in which it implies that something Dutch is not authentic. Although insulting a particular person or nationality may be unintentional, it is best to be aware that use of these terms is sometimes perceived as offensive to or by the Dutch. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for Dutch
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Everything was on a colossal scale, and trim as a Dutch interior.

    In the Heart of Vosges Matilda Betham-Edwards
  • The men-of-war of the Dutch and the French, rendezvoused at Mahon, as well as ourselves.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • Perhaps that is why it flowed so calmly in all our Dutch veins while we said good-by.

    In the Valley Harold Frederic
  • I remember that I greatly vaunted the good qualities of the Dutch that night.

    In the Valley Harold Frederic
  • This is the Dutch conception of a welcome after five months!

    In the Valley Harold Frederic
British Dictionary definitions for Dutch


(Cockney, slang) wife
Word Origin
C19: short for duchess


the language of the Netherlands, belonging to the West Germanic branch of the Indo-European family and quite closely related to German and English See also Flemish, Afrikaans
(functioning as pl) the Dutch, the natives, citizens, or inhabitants of the Netherlands
(slang) in Dutch, in trouble
of, relating to, or characteristic of the Netherlands, its inhabitants, or their language
(informal) go Dutch, to share expenses equally
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for Dutch

late 14c., used first of Germans generally, after c.1600 of Hollanders, from Middle Dutch duutsch, from Old High German duit-isc, corresponding to Old English þeodisc "belonging to the people," used especially of the common language of Germanic people, from þeod "people, race, nation," from Proto-Germanic *theudo "popular, national" (see Teutonic), from PIE root *teuta- "people" (cf. Old Irish tuoth "people," Old Lithuanian tauta "people," Old Prussian tauto "country," Oscan touto "community").

As a language name, first recorded as Latin theodice, 786 C.E. in correspondence between Charlemagne's court and the Pope, in reference to a synodical conference in Mercia; thus it refers to Old English. First reference to the German language (as opposed to a Germanic one) is two years later. The sense was extended from the language to the people who spoke it (in German, Diutisklant, ancestor of Deutschland, was in use by 13c.).

Sense narrowed to "of the Netherlands" in 17c., after they became a united, independent state and the focus of English attention and rivalry. In Holland, Duits (formerly duitsch) is used of the people of Germany. The Middle English sense survives in Pennsylvania Dutch, name of the people who immigrated from the Rhineland and Switzerland.

Since c.1600, Dutch (adj.) has been a "pejorative label pinned by English speakers on almost anything they regard as inferior, irregular, or contrary to 'normal' (i.e., their own) practice" [Rawson]. E.g. Dutch treat (1887), Dutch uncle (1838), etc. -- probably exceeded in such usage only by Indian and Irish -- reflecting first British commercial and military rivalry and later heavy German immigration to U.S.

The Dutch themselves spoke English well enough to understand the unsavory connotations of the label and in 1934 Dutch officials were ordered by their government to stop using the term Dutch. Instead, they were to rewrite their sentences so as to employ the official The Netherlands. [Rawson]
Dutch oven is from 1769; OED lists it among the words describing things from Holland, but perhaps it is here used in the slighting sense. Dutch elm disease (1927) so called because it was first discovered in Holland (caused by fungus Ceratocystis ulmi).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for Dutch



German: Ann Arbor's a Dutch town (1460+)


(also dutch) With each person paying his or her own share: This meal is Dutch, okay? (1887+)


A nickname for anyone with a German surname: Big Dutch Klangenfuss (1920s+)

Related Terms

double dutch, go dutch, in dutch, to beat the band

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with Dutch
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for dutch

Difficulty index for Dutch

All English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for Dutch

Scrabble Words With Friends