Dutch uncle

Save This Word!

noun Sometimes Offensive.
a person who criticizes or reproves with unsparing severity and frankness.
There are grammar debates that never die; and the ones highlighted in the questions in this quiz are sure to rile everyone up once again. Do you know how to answer the questions that cause some of the greatest grammar debates?
Question 1 of 7
Which sentence is correct?

Origin of Dutch uncle

First recorded in 1820–30

usage note for Dutch uncle

Because Dutch is used here to describe someone manifesting the opposite of warm, affectionate, typically avuncular behavior, this term is sometimes perceived as insulting to or by the Dutch. See also Dutch.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use Dutch uncle in a sentence

  • She has had a quarrel with Tom perhaps, and she wants me to go and talk to him like a Dutch Uncle.

    The Imaginary Marriage|Henry St. John Cooper

British Dictionary definitions for Dutch uncle

Dutch uncle

informal a person who criticizes or reproves frankly and severely
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 uncle

Dutch uncle

A stern, candid critic or adviser, as in When I got in trouble with the teacher again, the principal talked to me like a Dutch uncle. This expression, often put as talk to one like a Dutch uncle, presumably alludes to the sternness and sobriety attributed to the Dutch. [Early 1800s]

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