Dutch courage

Idioms & Phrases

Dutch courage

False courage acquired by drinking liquor, as in He had a quick drink to give him Dutch courage. This idiom alludes to the reputed heavy drinking of the Dutch, and was first referred to in Edmund Waller's Instructions to a Painter (1665): "The Dutch their wine, and all their brandy lose, Disarm'd of that from which their courage grows."

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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