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Anonymous asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 1 decade ago

What is the meaning of the phrase "put finger in the dyke" ?

economic / political

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    "Dike", not "dyke".

    In a positive way : A small effort that averts a major disaster.

    In a more contemporary, negative way : Curing the symptom(s) instead of attacking the real cause(s). Example : the "War on (some) Terror".

    "Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates is a novel by American author Mary Mapes Dodge, first published in 1865"

    "The book is also notable for popularizing the story of the little Dutch boy who plugs a dike with his finger."

    "A small fictional story within the novel has become well-known in its own right in American popular culture. The story, read aloud in a schoolroom in England, is about a Dutch boy who saves his country by putting his finger in a leaking dike. The boy stays there all night, in spite of the cold, until the adults of the village find him and make the necessary repairs."

    "The actual authorship and genesis of the story of the boy and the dike is currently unknown, but it is possibly from a hypothetical but unidentified story by French author Eugenie Foa (1796-1852), appearing as an alleged English translation, "The Little Dykeman," in Merry's magazine in 1868."

    "For tourism purposes, Dutch statues of the fictional dike-plugging boy have been erected in places such as Spaarndam, Madurodam, and Harlingen. The statues are sometimes mistakenly titled "Hans Brinker" (Hansje Brinker in Dutch); others are sometimes known as "Peter of Haarlem." The story of the dike-plugging boy is, however, not widely known in the Netherlands — it is a piece of American, rather than Dutch, folklore."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Brinker

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Dutch legend has it that there was once a small boy who upon passing a dyke on his way to school noticed a slight leak as the sea trickled in through a small hole. Knowing that he would be in trouble if he were to be late for school, the boy pocked his finger into the hole and so stemmed the flow of water. Some time later a passerby saw him and went to get help. This came in the form of other men who were able to effect repairs on the dyke and seal up the leak.

    This story is told to children to teach them that if they act quickly and in time, even they with their limited strength and resources can avert disasters. The fact that the Little Dutch Boy used his finger to stop the flow of water, is used as an illustration of self-sacrifice. The physical lesson is also taught: a small trickle of water soon becomes a stream and the stream a torrent and the torrent a flood sweeping all before it, Dyke material, roadways and cars, and even railway tracks and bridges and whole trains.

    This tale originates from the American writer Mary Mapes Dodge and is in fact not a real myth, although many people believe it is. She published this tale in 'Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates' in 1865. The Little Dutch Boy is a very popular myth in the United States (and other countries), but is not well known in the Netherlands and has probably been imported there by American tourists.

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  • ?
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Dyke Meaning

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  • 4 years ago

    Litterly plugging the hole/leak with your finger. stopping the further degrading of the dyke and preventing chaos. being left with your finger in the dyke should be the question. Self sacrifice is a diminishing quality in today s heodionistic society, as there is no greater nobility than to sacrifice your needs to benefit others....This opens another question whom have you left with their finger in the dyke, did you easily rationalize it, is it still a memory that causes consternation? What will you do when you see someone with their finger in the dyke.....

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  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.

    RE:

    What is the meaning of the phrase "put finger in the dyke" ?

    economic / political

    Source(s): meaning phrase quot put finger dyke quot: https://tr.im/WELfU
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  • 4 years ago

    So basically this boy is walking by a dike (basically a wall that stops water from coming through). He sees that the wall is leaking and he knows if he doesn t stop the leak, the wall will begin to crumble around the whole and basically break the dike. The boy acts quickly by poking his finger into the hole. As night passes by, he begins to get cold and freezes to death. The next day, the villagers find him and reward him for his bravery by creating a statue that plugs up the hole.

    This version of the story shows bravery, sacrifice, endurance, selflessness, and most of all, quick-thinking.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    it's a metaphor taken directly from Hans Christian Anderson's story of the boy who saved the town by plugging the hole in the Dutch dyke and kept the flood from coming. But sadly, the boy was unable to do anything else but stand there and hold his finger to the dyke. It is a great analogy for treating symptoms but not the disease...or rather doing what he thinks is right without having a clear course of action after the hole is plugged.

    •  No, the story is by American author Mary Mapes Dodge. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Brinker,_or_The_Silver_Skates

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  • 1 decade ago

    A dyke is an object that is used to hold back water. If it starts to fail it leaks. The term comes from the fairy tale about Hans Brinker. It is a story of how one person can make a difference to stem the tide of disaster.

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  • 4 years ago

    Little Dutch Boy

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  • 4 years ago

    I only here because I heard this phrase on Scarface

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