English slang “go Dutch”

Go Dutch Go!


The origin of the phrase “go Dutch” or “Dutch treat” can be traced back to a time when England and the Netherlands fought constantly over trade routes and political boundaries during the 17th century. The British used the term “Dutch” in a number or derogatory or demeaning ways. The Dutch were said to be very stingy with their wealth, almost miserly, so the British used the word “Dutch” informally to imply all sorts of negative behaviors.


To “go Dutch” implies an informal agreement for each person to pay for his or her own expenses during a planned date or outing. The decision to “go Dutch” is usually made in advance in order to avoid any confusion when the bill arrives. During a romantic dating situation, however, the suggestion to “go Dutch” may not be as well received. When a girl tells a boy that they would “go dutch” on the first dinner, she is implying “Don’t consider it to be a date”.


  • My friend at italki, Mary, said “Brandon, you are welcome to come to Beijing. I will take you to the nicest restaurant in town, but we go Dutch”.
  • I went out for a dinner with Susan last night. I did not have enough money. It saved my life when Susan said “Let’s go Dutch”.

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