Dutch uncle


noun Sometimes Offensive.

a person who criticizes or reproves with unsparing severity and frankness.

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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. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for dutch uncle

Dutch uncle

noun

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

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.