‘Don’t mention the war’, a famous quote from British comedy series Fawlty Towers, is to be included in the Dutch Van Dale dictionary.
The Dutch have taken the quote to their hearts in the 40 years since The Germans, one of only 12 episodes in the series, was made, Van Dale editor Toon den Boon said.
‘People use it in a jokey manner when they are in a situation in which it would be embarrassing to talk about a certain subject,’ he said in radio programme Volgspot.
In the episode a concussed and consequently even more deranged Basil Fawlty tells his staff to ‘not mention the war’ around the German guests, only to end up goose stepping and imitating Hitler as they look on in horror.
The expression is used not only in its original meaning but also with other ‘unmentionables’, Den Boon said. ‘Don’t mention the dollar’ or even an English Dutch combination as in ‘Don’t mention de vleermuis’ [bat] have also been spotted, he said.
In 2019 Van Dale included a number of expressions made famous by Dutch comedy duo Van Kooten & De Bie, for instance ‘Dr Clavan’ for an expert who has absolutely nothing new or original to say about a subject, or ‘doemdenker’ (pessimist) and its opposite ‘positivo’.
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