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

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Word of the month: Schnapsdrossel

Schnapsdrossel Word of the Month: Index

Another addition to the KrautBlog aviary: Schnaps (one p!) should be known to English speakers—it's a generic term for any hard liquor; a Drossel is a thrush; and Schnapsdrossel is a colloquial moniker for a boozer. I do not know how the term originated, but it remains a fact, in Germany and elsewhere, that alcohol leads some people to song.*

*Addendum: I learned today (3/14/2012) that the Drossel in Schnapsdrossel has nothing to do with birds. It's an old name for "throat", which survives in modern German only in the verb erdrosseln (to strangle)—must have the same Germanic root as "throttle". So, a Schnapsdrossel is really a throat through which liquor flows freely.

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


Heika said...

I do not know how you do it. I don't think of birds as having an expression but this bird looks as if he has been boozing from afternoon into the wee hours of the morning. It's just wonderful. I was trying to come up with an English equivalent and the closest I could come up with was "boozehound." As always fabulous! I wonder if Amy Winehouse knows she is a schnapsdrossel.

Ulrich said...

Speaking of "boozehound": I'm itching to draw a dog personifying some trait in a German expression, but have not come up with a good one yet. There's the Schoßhund (lapdog) and the Windhund (greyhound), the latter being used to indicate an irresponsible, superficial character. But both are names of real animals, not names created by hitching together two prima facie unrelated words, which is a major focus of my word-of-the-month threads.

I may do a Schweinehund (pig + dog) sometime in the future when I've run out of ideas--no, this is not a dog herding pigs, but a completely unscrupulous, disgusting person.

Heika said...

I think Schwinehund would make a great drawing. I know the Germans have the expression " to cry like a Schlosshund". Isn't a Schloss a castle. Did castle dogs cry a lot?

Are there more German expression that refer to birds? I hope so. That way we get a drawing for each one.

Ulrich said...

@Heika: Yes, there is at least one more bird coming, and if the friends I have asked to provide me with more ideas come through, there may be more.

As to Schlosshund--wow! You may be the only American who's aware of this expression. But I can't honestly answer your question--I've no idea if castle dogs were more prone to crying than other dogs--if anything, it seems they should have had a better life...