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

Friday, May 19, 2017

Word of the Month: Der Stallgeruch

Word of the Month: Index

A Stall is a stable or a coop, a building for sheltering and feeding domestic animals, be they tall (like horses, as in Pferdestall) or small (like chickens, as in Hühnerstall). Geruch means "odor" or "smell". Stallgeruch, then, refers to the odor emanating from a Stall. But it's used today mainly in a figurative sense: When we say that someone has a certain Stallgeruch, we indicate that this person shares the background, values, or attitudes of a specific group or belongs to a certain milieu.



The term is used frequently to explain why someone was or was not hired to fill a certain position—he or she had or did not have "the proper Stallgeruch". I like the term very much because it is so evocative: I always picture a bunch of dogs subjecting a newcomer to the smell test.

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