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Dutch reckoning (uncountable)

  1. (idiomatic, uncommon, archaic) A (falsified) bill that is not itemised, and that is unjustifiably high.
    • 1712, Roger Coke, A Detection Of The Court and State Of England During The Four Last Reigns, page 22:
      As if all Light of Reasoning were so shut up in Clavius his Brain, that because he does not see, the rest of Mankind must be blind; and what is that way of Reasoning that he betakes himself to, but by huddling the Principles of Geometry into Confusion, without order of method of Reasoning, to make a Conclusion, like a Dutch Reckoning of Allem-al?
    • 1828, Death on Board-Wages, published in Tales of an Antiquary (volume 2 of 3) by Henry Colburn, New Burlington Street, London:
      "You knows we never took Mike's duds till you couldn't pay his charges any longer; and since we comes to that, there's two weeks of three shillings and sixpence due for your lodging in the Star-Chamber, for yourself and Master Lionel Falconer, which I supposes you means to pay with a Dutch reckoning: you sees I can speak some names right enough,—d'ye take me,—hey?" and with an ill-natured leer he left the hall.
    • 2009, Georgette Heyer, Frederica, page 75:
      'That's better!' he said, still smiling, but very much more pleasantly. 'Rig Jane out in the first style of elegance, and send me a Dutch reckoning: I don't want to know the particulars.'
  2. (nautical) A false or incorrect reckoning of position.
  3. Used other than with a figurative or idiomatic meaning: see Dutch,‎ reckoning.
    Five o'clock by the Dutch reckoning would be five o'clock in the Dutch rather than, e.g., a Canadian time zone.
    1 March 1625 in the Dutch reckoning was, in the English reckoning of the time, 19 February 1624.


  • 1811, Dictionary of Vulgar Tongue
  • Words apart: the language of prejudice, Jonathon Green, 1996