Nugget of Knowledge: Going Dutch

What is ‘a dutch treat,’ or ‘we’re going dutch tonight?’ The saying means each person should be responsible for his or her own bill and bar tab.

This goes back to the Pennsylvania Dutch, known as Amish today, but it has nothing to do with the Netherlands. Instead, Dutch is a corruption of the word deutsch, meaning German — the language they spoke.

It became a point of pride among the Pennsylvania Dutch to never be in debt to anyone and only to buy what they could afford. If they went out for refreshment, each person would pay his or her own way. By 1873, we see the expression Dutch Treat in print for the first time.

Also, in the Netherlands, there is no slang term for “going Dutch,” but they do say “going American,” meaning guests bring their own food and drinks to a party, rather than having the host provide everything.

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