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  • Subject

    beat the Dutch (meaning)


    (They subside. The group by the grave starts singing "Blessed be the tie that binds.")

    A WOMAN AMONG THE DEAD: I always liked that hymn. I was hopin' they'd sing a hymn.

    A MAN AMONG THE DEAD: My wife - my second wife - knows all the verses of about every hymn there is. It just beats the Dutch ... she can go through them all by heart.

    (Thornton Wilder, Our Town, Act III )


    Hello everyone,

    I don't have any idea what beat the Dutch means in this context. It's an idiom I guess. Please help. Thank you very much in advance.

    (Please post in English if you like)

    Authorkeeblerelf (908281)  30 Nov 22, 23:51
    #1Author eineing (771776) 30 Nov 22, 23:57

    FWIW, aus dem Link in #1 :

     ... The informal U.S. phrase to beat the Dutch means to do or say something remarkable or startling. It is often used as that beats the Dutch, meaning that beats everything.

    Now used with reference to the Netherlands and their people, the word Dutch was formerly used in the general sense of German, and is related to the German word Deutsch, meaning German—cf. High Dutch, denoting unintelligible speech. ...

    #3Author no me bré (700807) 01 Dec 22, 09:17

    Even as an AE speaker myself, I had no iidea what that phrase means. (I suspect that it's even older than I am. ;-) )

    So, I decided to take some personal initiative, and I googled it.

    It took me about five seconds to type in ' "beat the Dutch" meaning

    Faster than a blink of an eye, I got a long list of explanations as to its meaning from a number of obviously credible sources.

    All definitely much faster than it took to write the OP, much less waiting for responses.

    And, guess what? The results were even in English! What a surprise.

    #4Author hbberlin (420040)  01 Dec 22, 09:45

    hbberlin - vergebliche Liebesmüh :-(

    #5Author penguin (236245) 01 Dec 22, 09:53

    zu #4: Das waren auch meine Gedanken....

    #6Author eineing (771776)  01 Dec 22, 09:53

    @penguin: I know.

    #7Author hbberlin (420040)  01 Dec 22, 10:01
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