This dates back to a time of intense political rivalry between England and the Netherlands, and was originally a racial slur.


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Dutch courage (uncountable)

  1. (idiomatic) The courage or bravado induced by alcohol.
    Synonym: pot-valiancy
    • 2010, Minette Walters, The Shape of Snakes, Pan Macmillan (→ISBN)
      I was beginning to wish I'd had the sense to spend the last hour in a pub. Dutch courage would have been better than no courage at all.
  2. (idiomatic) An alcoholic drink, taken to bolster one's courage.
    • 2015, R.A. Barnes, Peril: A Ger Mayes Crime Novel, Marble City Publishing (→ISBN)
      Another five minutes wait and we finally raise glasses in a toast to the evening. ‘So, what's the plan?’ ‘Well, we can go straight to the casino after this or we can get half a skinful of Dutch courage.’

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