Jump to content

Words


Pilgrim

Recommended Posts

Words are pretty wondrous things to me; finding just the right one is a happy event. I hear people dismiss something as "just semantics" and I laugh with pity. They don't understand that a decent vocabulary is central to clear communication. If, for example, the only word for color you know is "red", how can you describe a rainbow?

 

There, that ought to set up some responses about "out of town words", but it's not really the point of this post.

 

English is a good language, but there are other languages that have words we don't to express some things. Some of them are fun to collect, just for the sake of knowing them, and the insights they provide into a different intellect. There's even a book about them. I came across it just today; it's what brought this post about. The Meaning of Tingo

 

German is a good source for some that pertain to the mind and thought processes (Freud at work?). There's the old standby, schadenfreude, that is, pleasure one takes in the misfortunes of others.

 

I stumbled across another one the other day, one to which someone toward the end of middle age or beyond, such as I, can easily relate to. It is torschlusspanik, that is, the panic of closing doors. It's not a claustrophobia-type fear, but rather, a sense that some things are no longer within reach; they are irretrievably unobtainable . . . that door is closed.

 

What words do you like? They needn't be foreign; "just the right word" is what I like to hear.

 

Pilgrim

Link to comment
Joe Frickin' Friday
What words do you like? They needn't be foreign; "just the right word" is what I like to hear.

 

Funny you mentioned German.

 

I used "sehnsucht" just the other day, in response to a ride video posted in Ride Tales earlier this week. C.S. Lewis described it narrowly as "the heart's hunger for God," or words to that effect, but I (and the Wikipedia entry) understand it to have broader application than that.

 

As I mentioned in response to the video, "wanderlust" (yet another German word) didn't quite fit the feeling inspired by that video; "sehnsucht" was much closer to it.

Link to comment

ordeal

 

People say "it was such an ordeal" without knowing the historical meaning.

Trial by ordeal.

ORDEAL - An obsolete common law practice, discouraged by the Church, which submitted the accused, or the accuser, or both, to the Judgement of God, usually with fire or water. Whoever died, or whose wounds festered, was considered guilty.

 

An ancient superstitious mode of trial. When in a criminal case the accused was arraigned, be might select the mode of trial either by God and his country, that is, by jury; or by God only, that is by ordeal.

 

The trial by ordeal was either by fire or by water. Those who were tried by the former passed barefooted and blindfolded over nine hot glowing ploughshares; or were to carry burning irons in their hands; and accordingly as they escaped or not, they were acquitted or condemned. The water ordeal was performed either in hot or cold water. In cold water, the parties suspected were adjudged innocent if their bodies were not borne up by the water contrary to the course of nature; and if, after putting their bare arms or legs into scalding water they came out unhurt they were taken to be innocent of the crime.

 

It was impiously supposed that God would, by the mere contrivance of man, exercise his power in favor of the innocent.

 

 

Trust me, whatever it was, it wasn't an ordeal.

Link to comment

Kerfuffle. Hard to keep a straight face while saying it, even though there's nothing funny about its meaning. Yes, I'm enough of a dork to have said it aloud. More than once.

Link to comment
There's even a book about them. I came across it just today; it's what brought this post about. The Meaning of Tingo

 

Hm. The reviews (at that link) weren't very kind to that book...

 

True enough, but for $7.95 on Amazon it could provide a few laughs. I've paid more than that for movies that probably wouldn't even have provided that much, nor lasted as long.

 

Pilgrim

Link to comment
This thread is diminimus.
I always thought that was "de minimus". :Wink:

 

At dinner, Homer gloats that Ned's business is a flop.

 

Lisa: Dad, do you know what Schadenfreude is?

 

Homer: No, I do not know what shaden-frawde is. [sarcasm] Please tell me, because I'm dying to know.

 

Lisa: It's a German term for "shameful joy", taking pleasure in the suffering of others.

 

Homer: Oh, come on Lisa. I'm just glad to see him fall flat on his butt!

[getting mad] He's usually all happy and comfortable, and surrounded by loved ones, and it makes me feel... What's the opposite of that shameful joy thing of yours?

 

Lisa: [nastily] Sour grapes.

 

Homer: Boy, those Germans have a word for everything!

 

-- Selbstverständlich! :grin: "When Flanders Failed"

 

German does indeed have a bunch of words we've borrowed that express in a word what it takes English a prepositional phrase (or more) to do justice to, if ever. Gemütlichkeit is still one of my favorite words and feelings . . . kind of like hanging out on Killer's couch after a long day's riding and swapping lies with a bunch of crazy friends. It's getting cold outside, and that nicely sets off the warmth and closeness inside.

Link to comment

Zugzwang

 

One of my favorites from chess. It describes a situation where one player is put at a disadvantage because he has to make a move – the player would prefer to pass and make no move.

 

I once had the very unlucky draw of a former Russian master in a local chess tournament. By some stroke of luck I played to the middle game until I noticed the next move was the beginning of the end. I offered shyly a draw, the man who stared at the board the whole game slowly looked up and said, "you move." Zugswang

 

More basically translated...damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Link to comment
Francois_Dumas

Maybe that's one of the reasons English is difficult to use sometimes.... for us different-language folks.

 

Try 'gezelligheid' ... there is no real equivalent in English. The Germans have 'gemütlichkeit' for it. It means the same, but the Dutch think they are more 'gemütlich' than the Germans ever can be :rofl:

Link to comment

Echolalia

 

First heard the word in Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse five.

 

A mental disease that makes people repeat that last few words of the people around them...

Link to comment
Echolalia

 

First heard the word in Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse five.

 

A mental disease that makes people repeat that last few words of the people around them...

 

Echolalia

 

First heard the word in Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse five.

 

A mental disease that makes people repeat that last few words of the people around them...

Link to comment
Echolalia

 

First heard the word in Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse five.

 

A mental disease that makes people repeat that last few words of the people around them...

 

Echolalia

 

First heard the word in Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse five.

 

A mental disease that makes people repeat that last few words of the people around them...

 

Heh Heh.

 

Maladroit

 

First seen in a comic strip describing someone who couldn't make a ball out of water! :rofl:

Link to comment

"I hear people dismiss something as "just semantics" ..."

 

They're obviously anti-semants. Maybe that's why everyone is suggesting German words.

 

I like fingerspurtzengefulen (with an umlaut over the U )(not sure of the spelling). Literally "fingertip-feeling", as when you sense the drag on a feeler-gauge when setting the valves and know that it feels right.

 

How you doin', Pilgrim???? Gettin' your chunk of the bailout?

Link to comment

"Wonderful"

 

When taken in context of a moment, it can communicate frustration ("Oh...wonderful") to true amazement ("That is just wonderful!")

 

Mike O

Link to comment
Joe Frickin' Friday

D'OH!

 

How did we get along without "d'oh" for so long? IIRC, it's actually in the dictionary now.

Link to comment
D'OH!

 

How did we get along without "d'oh" for so long? IIRC, it's actually in the dictionary now.

 

It's but a short step from there to "inDUHvidual, which I believe is a brilliant coinage. I can't recall the provenance of that one, but I think it flowed from some comedian in the fairly recent past. I'll bet somebody here knows.

 

Pilgrim

Link to comment
D'OH!

 

How did we get along without "d'oh" for so long? IIRC, it's actually in the dictionary now.

 

It's but a short step from there to "inDUHvidual, which I believe is a brilliant coinage. I can't recall the provenance of that one, but I think it flowed from some comedian in the fairly recent past. I'll bet somebody here knows.

 

Pilgrim

Dilbert! One of my favorites!
Link to comment

'Zeitgeist', another German word, it points to the 'times' we live in and societies moralities and viewpoints relevant to it,

example: the Zeitgeist of the cold war - fear, anxiety and hiding under desks

 

'Angst', another one, is the best translated as fear, but fear tends to be more of a reaction to a specific issue, whereas Angst is used to describe the peoples' fear over a larger longerlasting issue. eg the Zeitgeist during the cold war was Angst.

 

I have met a number of non-German people who perfected their German language skills (reading) just to read German literature, they commented that the German language has words and expressions that are more poignant, emotive and descriptive then, for example, English.

 

 

Link to comment
This thread is diminimus.
I always thought that was "de minimus". :Wink:

 

 

As I used to say in school, "Oh, you mean spelling counts"? You are correct, sir :).

Link to comment

aroma

 

From the nape of a beautiful woman's neck, fresh baked goods on a cold winter day, new tires and petrol.

 

or..

 

Old garbage cans, the farm, a drunk outside a pub, Tacoma Washington.

Link to comment

Optoglactylitis: A medical condition that affects behavior. Brought about when the nerves from your eyes and a$$ get crossed and one gets a $hitty outlook on things.

 

The common phrase at my house? Dad you got a case of opto today??? :lurk:

Link to comment
RE: German

 

It's interesting that there is no word in German for "fair", as in "That's not fair."

 

My memory may be clouded, but when we where kids, we used 'fair' as well. A somewhat more cumbersome variation of fair was 're-ell' (sp?).

 

Interestingly, when I was in Germany last April, first time after twenty years, I was astounded how the language and the lingual had changed. Conversely, at our re-union, my High-School buddies commented on how quaint my language was. I guess, without having had much of a chance to practice it, my German had remained at the 1950 -1960 plateau.

Proof that languages are living and evolving.

Link to comment
My two favorites are food and beer. :/

Thanks to the Navy, I can speak those phrases in 5 languages.

 

I remember a contest a few years ago to for changing the meaning of a word by changing 1 letter.

 

My two faves from that...

 

OsteoporNosis - a degenerate disease

IgnoraNus - Someone who's both stupid and an A$$hole.

Link to comment
RE: German

 

It's interesting that there is no word in German for "fair", as in "That's not fair."

 

My memory may be clouded, but when we where kids, we used 'fair' as well. A somewhat more cumbersome variation of fair was 're-ell' (sp?).

Actually, I do believe "fair" is a loan-word from English back into German. I remember from an old "Otto" (comedy) sketch him talking about a (theoretical) Fußball match going south and saying: "nicht ganz fair, nicht ganz fein . . . "

Link to comment

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...