Dutch courage

nounSometimes Offensive.
  1. courage inspired by drunkenness or drinking liquor.

Origin of Dutch courage

First recorded in 1805–15

usage note For Dutch courage

Dutch courage is foolish courage or misplaced confidence. Because “Dutch” is used to imply that the courage is not genuine, the term is sometimes perceived as insulting to or by the Dutch. See also Dutch.

Words Nearby Dutch courage

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

British Dictionary definitions for Dutch courage

Dutch courage

  1. false courage gained from drinking alcohol

  2. alcoholic drink

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with Dutch courage

Dutch courage

False courage acquired by drinking liquor, as in He had a quick drink to give him Dutch courage. This idiom alludes to the reputed heavy drinking of the Dutch, and was first referred to in Edmund Waller's Instructions to a Painter (1665): “The Dutch their wine, and all their brandy lose, Disarm'd of that from which their courage grows.”

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.