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Tags etymology , language , linguistics

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Old 3rd April 2009, 11:50 PM   #1
TheAnachronism
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Words you think should exist in English

My friend and I find much humor in the word "Jewess," given that it sounds so outdated and odd in any conversation, which is why we always find reason to use it anyway. We were both troubled that no word specifically referring to a female Christian existed in English, thus gave rise to the word Christienne.

I know most Western society is evolving in such a way that many gender-specific nouns are no longer popular in English, but I still think it's both a useful and hilarious word to have around.

I would love to hear words that you think should exist in English--whether or not you came up with them yourself, or are merely an advocate for someone else's idea.
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Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything
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Old 4th April 2009, 12:27 AM   #2
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As a very young child, my brother understood that a princess was a female prince. It was some time, though, before he understood why a fortress was not a female fort.
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Old 4th April 2009, 12:46 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by NobbyNobbs View Post
a fortress was not a female fort.
What about a buttress?
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Old 4th April 2009, 12:57 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by TheAnachronism View Post
merely an advocate for someone else's idea.

The Meaning of Liff
By Douglas Adams and John Lloyd



Can be heaps of fun if/when a bunch of friends become 'fluent'
Quote:
In Life*, there are many hundreds of common experiences, feelings, situations and even objects which we all know and recognize, but for which no words exist.
On the other hand, the world is littererd with thousands of spare words which spend their time doing nothing but loafing about on signposts pointing at places.
Our job, as wee see it, is to get these words dow off the signposts and into the mouths of babes and sucklings and so on, where they can start earning their keep in everyday conversation and make a more positive contribution to society.


*And, indeed, in Liff.
a few examples
Quote:
HAGNABY (n.)
Someone who looked a lot more attractive in the disco than they do in your bed the next morning.

KINGSTON BAGPUISE (n.)
A forty-year-old sixteen-stone man trying to commit suicide by jogging.

SHALUNT (n.)
One who wears Trinidad and Tobago T-shirts on the beach in Bali to prove they didn't just win the holiday in a competition or anything.
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Old 4th April 2009, 01:59 AM   #5
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This one made me chuckle:

Quote:
GRIMSBY (n.)
A lump of something gristly and foul tasting concealed in a mouthful of stew or pie. Grimsbies are sometimes merely the result of careless cookery, but more often they are placed there deliberately by Freemasons. Grimsbies can be purchased in bulk from any respectable Masonic butcher on giving him the secret Masonic handbag. One is then placed in a guests food to see if he knows the correct masonic method of dealing with it. If the guest is not a Mason, the host may find it entertaining to watch how he handles the obnoxious object. It may be
(a) manfully swallowed, invariably bringing tears to the eyes,
(b) chewed with resolution for up to twenty minutes before eventually resorting to method (a),
(c) choked on fatally.
The Masonic handshake is easily recognised by another Mason incidentally, for by it a used grimsby is passed from hand to hand. The secret Masonic method for dealing with a grimsby is as follows : remove it carefully with the silver tongs provided, using the left hand. Cross the room to your host, hopping on one leg, and ram the grimsby firmly up his nose, shouting, 'Take that, you smug Masonic gastard.'
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Old 4th April 2009, 06:34 AM   #6
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This is my favourite:
Quote:
LINDISFARNE (adj.)
Descriptive of the pleasant smell of an empty biscuit tin.
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Old 4th April 2009, 06:36 AM   #7
Jeff Corey
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Originally Posted by TheAnachronism View Post
My friend and I find much humor in the word "Jewess," given that it sounds so outdated and odd in any conversation, which is why we always find reason to use it anyway. We were both troubled that no word specifically referring to a female Christian existed in English, thus gave rise to the word Christienne...
There is one already - shiksa. Look it up.
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Old 4th April 2009, 06:44 AM   #8
brodski
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Originally Posted by Jeff Corey View Post
There is one already - shiksa. Look it up.
Not being Jewish makes you a Christain? When did that happen?
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Old 4th April 2009, 06:52 AM   #9
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Couple interesting ones in Norwegian - we have two different words for 'yes' (ja and jo), and a word (døgn) used interchangeably for a day and a night (read: a calendar day), or a 24 hour period.

In the case of ja/jo, ja is a plain yes, while jo is a disagreeing/correcting yes.

If asked if you have a dog, the answer would be ja.

If, however, someone said to you, "you weren't at school yesterday" and you want to tell him you were in fact present on campus that day, just unnoticed due to unforeseen circumstances, you'd say that jo, I was in fact at school yesterday.


You don't know what you're missing, people.

Quote:
Not being Jewish makes you a Christain? When did that happen?
What do you have to spill to make a Christain?
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Old 4th April 2009, 06:58 AM   #10
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One that I did not make up but that I like is a word to describe that infinitesimal period of time when you realize that you're doing something wrong, but too late to stop it (like when you realize you're closing your locked car door with your keys inside, but too late to stop the momentum of hand and door.)

Its ohnosecond.
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Old 4th April 2009, 07:34 AM   #11
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You know when you get that little hickup or belch that leaves a taste of stomach acid in your mouth?

regurgiburp
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Old 4th April 2009, 07:40 AM   #12
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Schmaltzy feel-good movies?

"cornography"
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Old 4th April 2009, 08:11 AM   #13
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The universal term "bitch" pretty much describes the female.
One can add "ditsy", "arrogant", "bat-s**t crazy", etc for emphasis.
.
I recall one biblical feature about Ruth?, where the guys had to wrap their mouths around Moabitess".

Last edited by I Ratant; 4th April 2009 at 08:13 AM.
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Old 4th April 2009, 08:29 AM   #14
dasmiller
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One of my favorites - I forget the source - is
Millihelen: The amount of beauty needed to launch one ship.

An hour or so after the Northridge earthquake, when we were having fairly strong aftershocks every minute or so, I created
Seismopotophobia: The fear that there will be an earthquake while you're using the bathroom.

I scribbled the definition on a piece of paper and stuck it on the wall at work as a joke. Several people stopped by and said, rather embarrassed, "you know, I think I have that."
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Old 4th April 2009, 08:39 AM   #15
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I wish "mu" as a question denying word was more widely known:

http://catb.org/jargon/html/M/mu.html
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Old 4th April 2009, 08:46 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by I Ratant View Post
The universal term "bitch" pretty much describes the female.
One can add "ditsy", "arrogant", "bat-s**t crazy", etc for emphasis.
.
I recall one biblical feature about Ruth?, where the guys had to wrap their mouths around Moabitess".
Oh, good one! LOL!!
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Old 4th April 2009, 08:58 AM   #17
TX50
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Originally Posted by dasmiller View Post
Seismopotophobia: The fear that there will be an earthquake while you're using the bathroom.
That Greek would actually mean "fear of shaking while drinking."
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Old 4th April 2009, 09:02 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Safe-Keeper View Post
**snip**

What do you have to spill to make a Christain?
Now that made me laff.
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Old 4th April 2009, 09:25 AM   #19
dasmiller
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Originally Posted by TX50 View Post
That Greek would actually mean "fear of shaking while drinking."
I'll be the first to admit that when I'm sitting on a toilet during a 5.1 aftershock, my Greek isn't all that good.
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Old 4th April 2009, 11:01 AM   #20
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I don't think it's a real word, but my aunt will use the word "vomititious". The nice thing is, no definition is required. It's self-explanatory.
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Old 4th April 2009, 11:24 AM   #21
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There needs to be some standard way to answer a question posed in the negative, e.g. "You didn't like it?"

Also, a word for "mind-heart".
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Old 4th April 2009, 11:56 AM   #22
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Schaboingboing.
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Old 4th April 2009, 12:25 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Tsukasa Buddha View Post
There needs to be some standard way to answer a question posed in the negative, e.g. "You didn't like it?"
I say 'Correct' or 'Indeed!' or, as per 2-way radio-speak, 'Roger'
Or 'Alas, no' or 'Unfortunately not' or 'Negative'

Originally Posted by Tsukasa Buddha View Post
Also, a word for "mind-heart".
Serious q: what is mind-heart?
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Old 4th April 2009, 12:32 PM   #24
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Ignoranus.

For obvious reasons.
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Old 4th April 2009, 01:08 PM   #25
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Dunno if this is an urban/net-based, email-propagated myth or for real... I know its old and I think its funny

The Washington Post's Style Invitational asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are this year's winners:


1. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

2. Foreploy (v): Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

3. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

4. Giraffiti (n): Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

5. Sarchasm (n): The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

6. Inoculatte (v): To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

7. Hipatitis (n): Terminal coolness.

8. Osteopornosis (n): A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

9. Karmageddon (n): its like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

10 Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

11. Glibido (v): All talk and no action.

12. Dopeler effect (n): The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

13. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

14. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

15. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you're eating.

And the pick of the literature:

16. Ignoranus (n): A person who's both stupid and an *******.
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Old 4th April 2009, 06:00 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by dasmiller View Post
One of my favorites - I forget the source - is
Millihelen: The amount of beauty needed to launch one ship.
...

Brilliant!

My life's quest: Use milihelen in a sentence.
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Old 4th April 2009, 06:04 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by TheAnachronism View Post

I would love to hear words that you think should exist in English--whether or not you came up with them yourself, or are merely an advocate for someone else's idea.
My wife and I often speak in Don King-ese... adding a bunch of suffixes to words, mostly adjectives, to make them pseudo-intellectual. For instance, "fortitude" becomes "fortinatudimalism."
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Old 4th April 2009, 06:12 PM   #28
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sniglet
The comedian, Rich Hall, used to have a lot of material on this subject.
Here is a nice list.
http://www.dbooth.net/internerd/sniglet.cfm
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Old 4th April 2009, 06:50 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by six7s View Post
The Meaning of Liff
By Douglas Adams and John Lloyd



Can be heaps of fun if/when a bunch of friends become 'fluent'
Yes! One very useful word from Liff (for an all too common occurrence) is:

Quote:
YESNABY (n.)

A 'yes, maybe' which means 'no'.


Originally Posted by Safe-Keeper View Post
Couple interesting ones in Norwegian - we have two different words for 'yes' (ja and jo), and a word (døgn) used interchangeably for a day and a night (read: a calendar day), or a 24 hour period.

In the case of ja/jo, ja is a plain yes, while jo is a disagreeing/correcting yes.

[...]

You don't know what you're missing, people.
And you don't know how well you're off

- seeing as a word like "jo" is exactly what Tsukasa is asking for, here:

Originally Posted by Tsukasa Buddha View Post
There needs to be some standard way to answer a question posed in the negative, e.g. "You didn't like it?"
I think this little word works the same in Danish, and it's great. Basically, it's a slight alteration of the regular "yes", used only when denying a question with a negation in it. It works so well, in fact, that there's no parallel for "no" - answering no to a negative question unambigously affirms it.

Strangely, I think if you did a poll, most people wouldn't be able to tell you exactly why you use one or the other form of yes - but they use it every day.

Originally Posted by six7s View Post
Dunno if this is an urban/net-based, email-propagated myth or for real... I know its old and I think its funny
Yes, they are. Reminds me of a popular feature on the BBC anti-panel-game show I'm sorry, I haven't a Clue (which also gave us the game of Mornington Crescent), Uxbridge English Dictionary.

You can hear a few of those at Archive.org.
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Old 4th April 2009, 10:06 PM   #30
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The English language has always failed me when I try to think of just the right word to call my ex.

Would it break any Forum rules to make up an obscene word that doesn't actually exist ? I don't want to get into any trouble.
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Old 5th April 2009, 12:18 AM   #31
TheAnachronism
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Originally Posted by Roma Hart View Post
Would it break any Forum rules to make up an obscene word that doesn't actually exist? I don't want to get into any trouble.
I hope not Next, they'd want to arrest me for killing all those people who didn't exist. And here I thought I'd never get caught.

Originally Posted by six7s View Post
13. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.
This is, sadly, the only time I can dance.

Originally Posted by Safe-Keeper View Post
In the case of ja/jo, ja is a plain yes, while jo is a disagreeing/correcting yes.
You know, it's odd that English never adopted such a distinction, given that a lot of Euro languages do. I know that in French it is oui/si and in German ja/doch.
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Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything
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Old 5th April 2009, 12:45 AM   #32
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Interestingly, one word that is sometimes claimed to have no equivalent in English, the German word schadenfreude, does have an English synonym: epicaricacy.
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Old 5th April 2009, 02:19 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by James Redford View Post
Interestingly, one word that is sometimes claimed to have no equivalent in English, the German word schadenfreude, does have an English synonym: epicaricacy.
As they say in "Avenue Q":

"Joy at the misfortune of others? That is German!"
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Old 5th April 2009, 02:28 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by James Redford View Post
Interestingly, one word that is sometimes claimed to have no equivalent in English, the German word schadenfreude, does have an English synonym: epicaricacy.
It also has the English word schadenfreude.
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Old 5th April 2009, 02:38 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by brodski View Post
It also has the English word schadenfreude.
Well, it's a loanword in English from German.
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Old 5th April 2009, 02:44 AM   #36
brodski
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Originally Posted by James Redford View Post
Well, it's a loanword in English from German.
How many English words aren't loan words to some extent?

"Epicaricacy" was created from borrowing Greek syllables in order to create a "native" English word so that we didn't have to rely on a German borrowing. I find the irony of doing that in English delicious.
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Old 5th April 2009, 03:18 AM   #37
Oliver
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Originally Posted by James Redford View Post
Well, it's a loanword in English from German.

English is a West Germanic language that originated in Anglo-Saxon England... Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_language

Anyway: Words I would like to see in English:

Rechtsabbieger
Legehennengeburtshelfer
Bananenbieger
Bausparer
Abi-Jahr-auf-Heckscheibe-Schreiber
ABS-Bremser
Ampel-Grüngänger
Auf-die-Zigarette-danach-Verzichter
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Bei-Erkältung-Zuhausebleiber
Klodeckelhochmacher
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Old 5th April 2009, 03:53 AM   #38
dann
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Originally Posted by Safe-Keeper View Post
Couple interesting ones in Norwegian - we have two different words for 'yes' (ja and jo), and a word (døgn) used interchangeably for a day and a night (read: a calendar day), or a 24 hour period.

In the case of ja/jo, ja is a plain yes, while jo is a disagreeing/correcting yes.
Danish and Norwegian have those in common, no wonder.
(Funny that Wiki claims that "Together with Swedish and Danish, Norwegian forms a continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional variants". Since Swedes, Norwegians and Danes tend to speak English with each other, I think that we should probably stress the word less.)
I don't know about Norwegian, but in Danish we have the German word Schadenfreude, skadefryd. (Nelson's trademark)

However, I always miss another Danish word bagklog (adj) (along with the derived bagklogskab (sb)), which does not appear to exist in any other (Non-Scandinavian) language. In our context (skepticism) it comes in handy when talking about astrologers, financial advisers or other diviners who claim to be able to predict future events. My dictionary translates it as follows:
bagklog adj. wise after the event
bagklogskab wisdom after the event, hindsight

However, the meaning is that somebody claims to have predicted or to have known all the time that something would happen but only says so after the event.
afterwise, afterwisdom?
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx

Last edited by dann; 5th April 2009 at 03:55 AM.
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Old 5th April 2009, 04:00 AM   #39
dann
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Originally Posted by Oliver View Post
Bei-Erkältung-Zuhausebleiber
I confess to being a Bei-Erkältung-Zuhausebleiber, somebody who stays home when he has a cold.

And I once invented the word Volkskörpergemeinschaftszugehörigkeitskriterium (in a discussion about the Holocaust).
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx

Last edited by dann; 5th April 2009 at 04:01 AM.
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Old 5th April 2009, 04:25 AM   #40
Oliver
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
I confess to being a Bei-Erkältung-Zuhausebleiber, somebody who stays home when he has a cold.

And I once invented the word Volkskörpergemeinschaftszugehörigkeitskriterium (in a discussion about the Holocaust).

Well, Volkskörpergemeinschaftszugehörigkeitskriterium could be translated into "ethnical affiliation criteria". But Havingacoldathomestayer sounds stupid in English.
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