Paul Humphreys, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Virginia has the best answer that I have found at http://people.virginia.edu/~pwh2a/dutch%20book%20origins.doc
He traces the usage of the term back as far as 1942:
"the first edition of The American Thesaurus of Slang. Lester V. Berrey and Melvin van den Bark (eds), New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1942, p. 691 has this definition:
dutch book, round book; a book with no house percentage
and also (p. 710):
mod(ifier): dutch; no percentage in favor of the bookmaker or operator
indicating a different sense from the modern use."
The Morris Dictionary of Word Origins has no specifc reference to DUtch book, but asserts that "Dutch" has been used by the ENglish as a pejorative dating back to their 17th century colonial rivalry
The starting-point for an account of modern Arabic literature has traditionally been regarded as 1798, the date of Napoleon's invasion of Egypt. The 19th c. saw much of the Middle East being systematically exposed to European ideas and influence on a large scale for the first time, and the resulting re-examination of traditional Islamic society had major implications for most areas of Arab life-political, economic, social and educational. Associated with these developments were changes of major importance for the development of modern Arabic literature, including the growth of a new reading public, the rise of indigenous journalism, and the development of a new, simpler Arabic prose style. In both poetry and prose, authors were re-examining traditional Arabic literary conventions, while at the same time the growth of translation from western languages was making European literary forms known to a newly literate public. The resulting literary and cultural renaissance (nah&dbdot;a in Arabic) reached its high point in the last third of the 19th c. and was effectively complete by the time of World War I; by then, poetry had seen the flourishing of a vigorous 'neoclassical' movement, while in prose traditional Arabic literary forms had been all but replaced by the western novel, short story, and drama.
The origin of abreast is late Middle English: from A- 'in' + breast.
A good question. It is often seen in old fashioned printing that where an s is meant to go, it is replaced by what appears to be an f. Indeed it can be still seen today in logotypes that have stood the test of time, such as Jagermeister liquor.
The answer can be found not in the early printing industry, but what came before it. Before the printing press was invented, by the famous Gutenburg, all writing was done by hand. Scribes were among the most heavily employed artisans of that period.
This heavy employment attracted people to take up this job, creating in turn much competition. This competition lead on to force scribes to make their scripts incredible ornate, competing with one another for jobs by proving their script looked flasher than the other's (essentially the beginning of Graphic Design).
This lead to scribes being very critical about the visual impact of the letters, and so in cases where two s' were needed, it was deemed unsightly to have two normal ones, as this took up a disproportionate amount of space. So scribes used a elongated s that had little 'curve' in it, often making it both a descender and ascender. This gave it a very close look to an f.
It just so happened that it was around this time that the printing press was rediscovered, after Gutenburg had hidden his secret for fear of the Inquisition.
Printing became widespread, and was used for many of the scribe's most mundane and regular jobs. The printers adopted the most popular scripts of the time, as these were easily read by the people of the day. This included the s that was disgused as an f.
So mostly, what seems to be an f in the place of an s, is actually an s, but not how we write it today. Of course, there ARE examples of prints where the printer, who were typically not too well educated, used an f instead.
It was possibly for this reason that over time this peculiar s was dropped from common use, and the general public decided that clarity was more important than equal letter weighting.
That is an impossible question to answer because it is all a matter of taste. Which film is better, for example, a black-and-white foreign film that critics agree is of the highest level of artistic achievement or a Hollywood blockbuster that the masses want to see again and again? One is considered by a group of experts to be the better film but more people consider the Hollywood film to have a greater entertainment value, so who's right? I will say that the American Library Association, which is comprised of an impressive list of writers and scholars, voted James Joyce's "Ulysses" as the greatest English-language novel of the 20th century. Of course, this says nothing about the place of "Ulysses" among novels of other centuries, not to mention novels written in other languages, but it is certainly considered by critics to be a massive achievement. At the same time, "Ulysses" is, like "Finnegan's Wake," virtually impenetrable by almost anyone without a strong background in English.