Slang dictionary

going Dutch

or go Dutch [goh-ing duhch]

What does going Dutch mean?

Do you want me to pick up the bill or do you want to go Dutch?

When dining, going Dutch means each person pays for their own food or drinks.

Related words

dayt, plenty of fish, meninist, alpha female, alpha, woke, nice guy, Tinderella

Where does going Dutch come from?

Wise Bread

Going Dutch means that every person in a group of diners or imbibers pays for their themselves. It’s popularly thought the expression originated as a British slur towards the perceived stinginess of Dutch people. While the British certainly did have many colorful phrases against the Dutchand French, and Spanish, and any of their other maritime rivals going Dutch doesn’t appear to be one of them.

Meme Generator

Going Dutch appears to come from a 19th century Americanism, a Dutch treat (or Dutch lunch/supper), which also refers to each person paying their own way in a meal. The Dutch, here, apparently refers not to people from the Netherlands, but from Germany and Switzerland: the Pennsylvania Dutch, who supposedly had a custom of bringing their own food to gatherings, like a potluck.


Dutch treat is attested as early as 1873 in a Missouri newspaper referring to drinkers pay their own bar tabs. The idiom going Dutch is recorded as early as 1914 and spread throughout the English-speaking world.

Examples of going Dutch

Dating apps are helping to eradicate old rules and it is now far easier for women to orchestrate our own sexual destiny. We can avoid unwanted attention all with the flick of a finger or a painful “slow fade”. We initiate the contact and we are in control. So why did I still find myself seriously irked after going Dutch on a recent Tinder date?

Georgina Lawton, The Guardian, September 2017  
So im getting my Mom a watch and my Dad and bro are going dutch on a new dryer. Mother's day shopping done.
@wishful_thinkr, May 2014  

Who uses going Dutch?

Going Dutch is generally used of purchasing food and drinks, but it can also be used of other purchases, such people splitting the costs of gifts, or sharing responsibility in a group effort.

Among friends, going Dutch is a casual and common practice. Among romantic partners, however, going Dutch can seem cheap and rude, especially if a man doesn’t pay for a female date’s dinner. That said, some may find this custom old-fashioned and patriarchal.


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This is not meant to be a formal definition of going Dutch like most terms we define on, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of going Dutch that will help our users expand their word mastery.