Dutch uncle(redirected from Dutch uncles)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.
One who addresses someone severely or critically. Fred is always lecturing me like a Dutch uncle, forgetting the fact that I'm 40 years old!
a man who gives frank and direct advice to someone. (In the way an uncle might, but not a real relative.) I would not have to lecture you like a Dutch uncle if you were not so extravagant. He acts more like a Dutch uncle than a husband. He's forever telling her what to do in public.
A stern, candid critic or adviser, as in When I got in trouble with the teacher again, the principal talked to me like a Dutch uncle . This expression, often put as talk to one like a Dutch uncle, presumably alludes to the sternness and sobriety attributed to the Dutch. [Early 1800s]
a Dutch unclea kindly but authoritative figure.
Dutch here probably means no more than that the person described is not a genuine blood relation. In the mid 19th century I will talk to him like a Dutch uncle (meaning ‘I will give him a lecture’) was noted as being an American expression.
1999 Daily Telegraph She was the kindest of Dutch uncles, always prepared to listen to one's troubles.
Dutch uncle, talk (to one) like a
A person who reproves or criticizes someone severely. Dating from the early nineteenth century, the term appeared in print in Joseph C. Neal’s Charcoal Sketches (1837). The precise origin is not known, but it is probably safe to presume that the Dutch were considered a stern, sober people, admirably suited to giving someone a talking-to in no uncertain terms.