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Dutch uncle

someone who is harsh and critical


Dutch uncle = eine Person, die offen und streng kritisiert oder tadelt



“During the Anglo-Dutch Wars between England and the Netherlands in the 17th century, the English language gained an array of insults, including ‘DUTCH UNCLE’."


Did you

Dutch uncle
noun (informal)

- a person who criticizes or reproves frankly and severely


The phrase "Dutch uncle" is believed to have originated in England in the 17th or 18th century. It is typically used to describe someone who gives firm and blunt advice, often in a critical or unsympathetic manner, similar to the way an older relative might give advice to a younger family member.

The exact origin of the phrase is unclear, but there are several theories. One theory is that it comes from the stereotype of the Dutch as being blunt and direct in their speech. Another theory is that it derives from the Dutch practice of employing uncles as tutors for their nephews. These tutors were reportedly strict and demanding, and their style of teaching was often seen as harsh or critical.

Regardless of its origin, the phrase "Dutch uncle" has become a common idiom in the English language, and it is used to describe someone who is firm and critical in their advice, but who often has the best interests of the person being advised at heart.


1. Dutch courage = the bravery or confidence that comes after consuming alcohol.

2. Dutch treat = a situation where each person pays for their own expenses, rather than one person paying for the group.

3. Dutch oven = a cooking pot with a tight-fitting lid that is used to cook food slowly and retain moisture.

4. Going Dutch = the practice of splitting the cost of something equally, such as a meal or a bill.

5. Double Dutch = a form of jump rope where two ropes are swung in opposite directions.

6. Double Dutch = language or speech that is difficult to understand, nonsensical, or gibberish.

7. Dutch auction = an auction where the price starts high and is lowered until a bidder accepts the price.


- rather direct or abrupt in speech or manner

bald, barefaced, black-and-white, bluff, brazen, brief and to the point, bright-line, brusque, brutally honest, call a spade a spade, candid, clear-cut, crisp, crystal-clear, curt, cut-and-dried, down-to-earth, downright, eyeball-to-eyeball, face-to-face, fair and square, flat-out, for real, forthright, foursquare, frank, free-speaking, from the hip, frontal, hard-boiled, hard-hitting, harsh, head-on, head-to-head, heart-to-heart, honest-to-goodness, laid on the line, like it is, man-to-man, manifest, matter-of-fact, meaning what one says, nailed-on, naked, no-nonsense, no beating around the bush, no fine print (fooling, holds barred, ifs ands or buts, lie), nonambiguous, no strings attached, not mincing one's words, not pulling any punches, on the level (the nose, the square), open-and-shut, open-hearted, out-front, outright, outspoken, plain-dealing (speaking), plainspoken, point-blank, right-on (up front), ringing, saying what one thinks, speaking one's mind (straight from the shoulder), spelled out, square-shooting, stark, straight, straight-from-the-shoulder, straight-out (-shooting, -talking), straightforward, talking turkey, to the point, trenchant, true to life, truth-telling, up-front, warts and all, without airs, woman-to-woman

SMUGGLE OWAD into an English conversation, say something like:

“In giving feedback it's often good to take a DUTCH UNCLE approach — direct, but caring."

THANKS to Gloria for suggesting today’s phrase.

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