Feature Word: Gotterdammerung

Definition:

a collapse (as of a society or regime) marked by catastrophic violence and disorder .

Description:

Norse mythology specified that the destruction of the world would be preceded by a cataclysmic final battle between the good and evil gods, resulting in the heroic deaths of all the ‘good guys.’ The German word for this earth-shattering last battle was ‘Götterdämmerung .’ Literally, ‘götterdämmerung ‘ means ‘twilight of the gods’ (‘Götter’ is the plural of ‘Gott,’ ‘god,’ and ‘Dämmerung ‘ means ‘twilight’). Figuratively, the term is extended to situations of world-altering destruction marked by extreme chaos and violence. In the 19th century, the German composer Richard Wagner brought attention to the word ‘Gotterdammerung’ when he chose it as the title of the last opera of his cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen, and by the early 20th century, the word had entered English.

Source:

Merriam Webster Dictionary

Zaftig

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Definition:

Alluringly plump, curvaceous, buxom… Literally, “juicy”

Description:

1937, from Yiddish zaftik, literally “juicy,” from zaft “juice,” from Middle High German, saft “juice”

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Schmuck

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Definition:

an Idiot.

Description:

In German, Schmuck actually means jewelry. Although this word is of Yiddish origin, which is consistent with its English meaning.
It is just interesting that the same word actually means something completely in another language.

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Marshall

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Definition:

an officer of the highest rank in some military forces

Description:

A logical assumption is that ‘marshal’ is related to ‘martial,’ but the resemblance is purely coincidental. Although most French words are derived from Latin, a few result from the 3rd-century Germanic occupation of France, and the early French ‘mareschal’ is one such word. ‘Mareschal’ came from Old High German ‘marahscalc,’ formed by combining ‘marah’ (horse) and ‘scalc’ (servant). ‘Mareschal’ originally meant ‘horse servant,’ but by the time it was borrowed into Middle English in the 13th century, it described a French high royal official. English applied the word to a similar position, but it eventually came to have other meanings. By contrast, ‘martial’ derives from ‘Mars,’ the Latin name for the god of war, and is completely unrelated.

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Gotterdammerung

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Definition:

a collapse (as of a society or regime) marked by catastrophic violence and disorder .

Description:

Norse mythology specified that the destruction of the world would be preceded by a cataclysmic final battle between the good and evil gods, resulting in the heroic deaths of all the ‘good guys.’ The German word for this earth-shattering last battle was ‘Götterdämmerung .’ Literally, ‘götterdämmerung ‘ means ‘twilight of the gods’ (‘Götter’ is the plural of ‘Gott,’ ‘god,’ and ‘Dämmerung ‘ means ‘twilight’). Figuratively, the term is extended to situations of world-altering destruction marked by extreme chaos and violence. In the 19th century, the German composer Richard Wagner brought attention to the word ‘Gotterdammerung’ when he chose it as the title of the last opera of his cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen, and by the early 20th century, the word had entered English.

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Gesundheit

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Definition:

used to wish good health especially to one who sneezed

Description:

When English speakers hear ‘achoo,’ they usually respond with either ‘gesundheit’ or ‘God bless you.’ ‘Gesundheit’ was borrowed from German, where it literally means ‘health’; it was formed by a combination of ‘gesund’ (‘healthy’) and ‘-heit’ (‘-hood’). Wishing a person good health when they sneezed was believed to forestall the illness that a sneeze often portends. ‘God bless you’ had a similar purpose, albeit with more divine weight to the well-wishing. (It was once believed the soul could exit the body during a sneeze, causing ill health. Folks said ‘God bless you’ to ward off this danger.) ‘Gesundheit,’ at one time, also served as a toast when drinking (much like its English counterpart, ‘to your health’), but this usage is now mostly obsolete.

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