in Dutch

Definition

Slang

  • adjective in trouble, in a vulnerable condition or delicate situation. This expression is a surviving example of the tendency (dating from the Anglo-Dutch wars of the 17th century) to use Dutch as a pejorative, as in ‘Dutch courage’, ‘Dutch treat’ or ‘Dutch Uncle’. In Dutch appears to date from the beginning of the 20th century. An alternative etymology would derive the expression from American English in which Dutch refers to the habits of Dutch settlers and indicates peculiarity rather than any more negative qualities.
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