Dutch courage

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dutch courage, also known as pot-valiance or liquid courage, refers to courage gained from intoxication with alcohol.[1]


The popular story dates the etymology of the term Dutch courage to English soldiers fighting in the Anglo-Dutch Wars[2] (1652–1674) and perhaps as early as the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648). One version states that jenever (or Dutch gin) was used by English soldiers for its calming effects before battle, and for its purported warming properties on the body in cold weather. Another version has it that English soldiers noted the bravery-inducing effects of jenever on Dutch soldiers.[3][4]

Gin is a Dutch invention, and was first distilled in Holland in the 16th century. The flavouring in gin comes from juniper berries. The Dutch word for 'juniper' is 'jenever', which got Anglicised to 'ginever' and then finally to 'gin'.[4] Gin would go on to become popular in Britain thanks to King William III of England (William of Orange, r. 1689–1702), who was also Stadtholder of the Netherlands.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Where does the phrase 'going Dutch' originate?". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 December 2022.
  2. ^ "Dutch". Oxford English Dictionary (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. 1989.
  3. ^ Byrne, Eugene (26 July 2013). "What is the origin of the phrase 'Dutch Courage'?". HistoryExtra. Retrieved 26 December 2022.
  4. ^ a b Martin, Gary. "Dutch courage". phrases.org.uk. Retrieved 26 December 2022.

Further reading[edit]

  • Discovery Channel's "How Do They Do It"
  • Andrews, S (2007). "Textbook Of Food & Beverage Management", Tata McGraw-Hill (264).