Dutch courage

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

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.

Gin, an English adaptation of jenever, 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


  1. "potvaliancy". dictionary.com. Retrieved 29 Jan 2013.
  2. "Dutch". Oxford English Dictionary (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. 1989.
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