Occasional musings, Geistesblitze, photos, drawings etc. by a "resident alien", who has landed on American soil from a far-away planet called "Germany".

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Word of the month: Schmusekatze

Schmusekatze combines the verb schmusen (to snuggle, cuddle) with Katze (cat). It denotes someone who likes to snuggle with or cuddle another person, possibly as prelude to other activities with that person.

It’s interesting to compare German schmusen and Yiddish schmooze, which are clearly related. But they differ in meaning: Schmooze is all talk, while schmusen is all action—talking would break the mood.

Note on pronunciation. Four distinct syllables: SHMOO·zeh·katt·seh. The main stress is on the first syllable, the third one gets a secondary stress.

[Source: Wild Things in the German Language: Kindle version | iBook version]

6 comments:

Marlene said...

Schmusekatze is just a wonderful word, and the drawing is perfect. It shows exactly the self-satisfied look cats have when they are contented. Nice distinction between schmooze and schmusen.

Esther said...

What a sweet drawing. When it comes to cats your satirical brush softens. (I was going to say you keep your claws in.) I also like the form/shape of the drawing, i.e., the curve of the human arm on which the cat is so snugly balanced. I've never come across the word Schmusekatze before and I like your succinct distinction between shmooze and schmusen. I know when the word shmooze would be used; when would you use schmusen?

Esther said...

Correction: I thought that schmooze didn't have a "c" but after I signed off, I looked up the spelling and I was wrong. (I should have known better than to doubt your accuracy.

Ulrich said...

@Marlene and Esther: Thx.

As to meaning: I would say schmusen is between streicheln (to pet--lightly, as you do with animals!) and knutschen (heavy kissing with tight body contact--a great word BTW). However, it does not have to be sexual; for example, a mother and child may schmusen--it's always an expression of affection, but not always of desire or sexual attraction.

Spelling: You give me too much credit--I did not look it up--just wrote it as it came to my mind. I also think it's a transliteraion from Yiddish, in which case one may have variant spellings in English.

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