18 August 2009

Well, it is Tuesday already.

So I will give some of the old "Wörter zum Montag". I recognized, that it is almost impossible to translate them to English. Of course there some English words around, like 'cocktail' or the mineral 'commingtonite' from last week. You probably don't know what a pleonasm is, so let me cite the "Oxford English Dictionary" (hey - they put all the stuff online, you know ?):



noun the use of more words than are necessary to convey meaning (e.g. see with one’s eyes).

— DERIVATIVES pleonastic adjective.

— ORIGIN Greek pleonasmos, from pleonazein ‘be superfluous’.

So actually I am kind of surprised now, since we are back to physics, once again, with superfluidity. Anyway, I am sidetracking. Other pleonasms are 'round circle', 'aged old man', or 'white milk'. And 'cocktail', as a pleonasm, clearly qualifies as a "word to Monday". As do the German words 'Wurstzipfel' and 'Rohrspatz' (or 'Dreckspatz', if you like it a little dirty ... but unfortunately only for catholics it is a pleonasm). Actually, 'Wurstzipfel' may be understood as the pleonastic translation of 'cocktail'. (Gee - "pleonastic translation" - another term I invented ?)

1 comment:

  1. Cocktail is an even better word than that - not only is it a pleonasm, but it is an oxymoron at the same time! Tail can, so tells me the OED, not only refer to a man's Rohr, it can also mean a woman's derrière:
    5. a. The lower and hinder part of the human body; the fundament, posteriors, buttocks, backside.

    or even a prostitute or (like nearly any word) sexual intercourse:

    5d. slang. (i) A prostitute (obs.); (ii) women regarded collectively (by men) as a means of sexual gratification; sexual intercourse; a sexual partner. Freq. in phr. a piece (or bit) of tail.

    A most versatile word indeed!