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

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Word of the Month: Der Korinthenkacker

Korinthen are very small and dark raisins (named after Korinth, German for Corinth, the town in Greece that gave those special raisins their German name). Kacker is a noun derived from kacken, a slang term for moving your bowels. Taken literally, then, a Korinthenkacker is a person who produces nothing more impressive than raisin-like turds when going to the bathroom. Figuratively, and that's how the term is used exclusively, it's a pedant who hides his inability to see the larger picture behind an obsessive focus on small details. I say "his" because Korinthenkacker is masculine—Korinthenkackerin would be the feminine form.

The most recent time I saw the term used was on a German blog, where a commenter was called a Korinthenkacker because all he or she had to say was to correct another commenter's spelling. And my Facebook friend Richard Caldwell pointed me to a very instructive blurb on the etymology of kacken .

Word of the Month: Index


avidreader said...

How did Corinth offend the Germanic sensibilities to become a symbol of constipation - physical or spiritual?

Ulrich said...

@avidreader: The town did not offend, and its products, those Korinthen, only in the sense that they reminded some Germans of very small turds—the rest, as they say, is history.

Anonymous said...

"Korinthen" was a brand name. The contents of the package may or may not have come from the town. The brand name caught on much as "Coke" and "Xerox"and "google" caught on to mean something more than only a particular brand's moniker.

Ulrich said...

@anonymous: Do you have any reference for that? Duden Online claims the word derives from French "raisin de Corinthe", named after the city.