Alphadictionary.com

Our Sponsors

Technical Translation
Website Translation Clip Art
 

CHURL

Use this forum to discuss past Good Words.

CHURL

Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed Sep 26, 2012 11:00 pm

• churl •


Pronunciation: chêrl • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A boor, lout, clod, yahoo. 2. A peasant.

Notes: Today's Good Word, though rare today, has had a splendid run through the English language (see Word History). Along the way, it has spun off a few interesting derivations. The quality of a churl is churlhood or churlishness. You might have noticed the adjective churlish underlying this noun; it is probably the most frequent form of this word and the one you are most likely familiar with.

In Play: This word has a hint of archaism about it, so use it with care: "Morty is such a churl: he just told Matt Tremony that he took Matt's fiancée out last night." It is used almost exclusively in reference to men: "Hardy Belcher behaves like a churl at the table; he even holds his fork churlishly."

Word History: We inherited today's Good Word from ceorl "freeman of the lowest class". Ceorl comes from Old Germanic *karilaz "old man". Finnish borrowed the Germanic word and it survives almost unchanged today as karilas "old man". The Old High German equivalent, karal "man, lover, husband", became Kerl "fellow, guy", and the name Karl in Modern German. Along the way, the name lost its negative connotation and was adopted into northern French as Charles. Charles the Great, or Charlemagne, added further luster to the name. This explains why the Slavic languages borrowed the name as their general word for "king"—kralj in Serbian and korol' in Russian. A remarkable lexical journey, n'est pas? (No churl is Mark J. Schulte for he is the one who suggested today's wayfaring Good Word.)
• The Good Dr. Goodword
User avatar
Dr. Goodword
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3450
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Lewisburg, PA

Re: CHURL

Postby MTC » Thu Sep 27, 2012 5:15 am

"Churls the Great" and "Churlemagne" wouldn't have quite the same regal ring, would they? Apparently you can make a silk purse out of a sow's ear contrary to the proverb, if you don't find that thought too churlish.
MTC
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1066
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Pasadena

Re: CHURL

Postby LukeJavan8 » Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:20 pm

I always thought of it as a verb, but I cannot, for the life
of me, think of an example.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
User avatar
LukeJavan8
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 3377
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:16 pm
Location: Land of the Flat Water

Re: CHURL

Postby MTC » Thu Sep 27, 2012 2:00 pm

Perhaps "churling" the stone across the ice instead of "curling?"
Ill tempered curling? Now we're getting on thin ice!
Last edited by MTC on Fri Sep 28, 2012 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
MTC
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1066
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Pasadena

Re: CHURL

Postby Philip Hudson » Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:45 am

A similar word that took a different turn in English than it took in German, is the English word knight, as in "a knight in shining armor." The German cognate is Knecht, meaning servant or laborer. Another example is the English word knave compared with the German word Knabe. A knave is not such a good guy but a Knabe is just an artless boy with no pejorative connotations. There are many cognates that have morphed in opposite directions among sister languages.

A German song goes:

Sah ein Knab' ein Röslein stehn,
Röslein auf der Heiden,
War so jung und morgenschön,
Lief er schnell es nah zu sehn,
Sah's mit vielen Freuden.
Röslein, Röslein, Röslein rot,
Röslein auf der Heiden.

See : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heidenr%C3%B6slein for the whole poem and English translation. Now read between the lines. Sadly, this pretty little ditty is about a rape. The Knab’ turns out to be a knave after all. The tune is very pretty and gives no hint of the sinister (a word we have been discussing) nature of the song. I haven’t found the tune on Youtube. I learned this song when I was a child with no notion of its meaning. One of my ancestral names comes from the German word Heiden.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
Philip Hudson
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1705
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:41 am
Location: Texas

Postby Audiendus » Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:08 am

Here is the well-known Schubert setting of this song, Heidenröslein, sung by a member of the Vienna Boys' Choir, with the musical score. The words are by Goethe.

As a pianist, I can say that the piano accompaniment of this song is simpler than that of most Schubert songs.

Philip Hudson wrote:One of my ancestral names comes from the German word Heiden.

In German, Heide (plural Heiden) can mean either "heath" or "heathen".
Audiendus
Senior Lexiterian
 
Posts: 571
Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2010 6:08 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: CHURL

Postby Philip Hudson » Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:13 pm

Thank you, Audiendus, for the Youtube reference. The Schubert setting of this song is simple yet beautiful.

Heide(n) does indeed mean both heath and heathen. The name heathen originally meant someone living on the heath and had no religious connotations at all.

My ancestral name dropped the n and exchanged a d for a t somewhere along the way, so Heiden became Heite. This is not an uncommon German name. In 1714, while my Heite ancestor was cooling his heels in London, getting a visa to come to the American Colonies; he, in a fit of frustration about the English officials not being able to pronounce Heite, "Anglicized" the name to Hitt. My immigrant ancestor was, as far as we can determine, the only German ever named Hitt. If you meet someone whose name is Hitt, he/she may well be my cousin. There is a small English family named Hitt. Both these families have been well researched and there seems to be no connection.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
Philip Hudson
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1705
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:41 am
Location: Texas


Return to Good Word Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Exabot [Bot], Yahoo [Bot] and 9 guests