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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Apr 12, 2005 10:40 pm

• zaftig •

Pronunciation: zahf-tig or zahf-tik

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Bosomy. 2. Having a full, rounded figure (usually of a woman), Rubenesque.

Notes: The American prejudice that everything should be bigger and better does no longer carries over to the human figure. However, there is a point to which well-distributed plumpishness is attractive and this Good Word is about that point. Marilyn Monroe had a zaftig figure, as did Mae West. I'm sure you know many more. While this Good Word must be used sensitively, it provides you with a Germanic alternative to the Romance synonym, Rubenesque—if you have preferences in the geography of our lexical pillage.

In Play: Again, use this word sensitively but don't let it scare you away, "Jessie Noff has a zaftig figure and a profound creative talent, a combination some of her friends can't get their minds around." Of course, we can move off base with this good word, too, so long as its reference is in some sense feminine, "Wendell enjoyed spending the evenings cruising retro-chic chicks along the boulevard in his zaftig 1960 Cadillac."

Word History: Today's word is another contribution from our Jewish communities. It is mellowed version of Yiddish zaftik "juicy, zaftig", from German saftig "juicy", the adjective from Saft "juice". It is a kinsword of English sap. The Lexiterian Think Tank is still bobbing for an answer to the question of why the English correlate, sappy, bears none of the connotations of its Yiddish cousin.
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Postby tcward » Wed Apr 13, 2005 3:33 pm

"full of sap," Late O.E. sæpig, from sæp (see sap (n.1)). Fig. sense of "foolishly sentimental" (1670) may have developed from an intermediate sense of "wet, sodden" (c.1470). Earlier, now obs., fig. senses were "full of vitality" (1558) and "immature" (1627).

sap (n.2)
"simpleton," 1815, probably from earlier sapskull (1735), from sap as a shortened form of sapwood "soft wood between the inner bark and the heartwood," from sap (n.1) + wood, so called because it conducts the sap; cf. sappy.

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Postby anders » Thu Apr 14, 2005 12:08 pm

On a few occasions, I have mentioned words that have been borrowed -- and returned.

Today's word reminds me of a double borrowing into Swedish. In 1755, Sweden's still most famous cook-book mentioned sky, referring to meat juice from frying. The pronunciation was and still is like the French jus, but with a voiceless initial.

We also have the jusvia English. We drink fruit juice, despite the efforts of the Ryl. Sw. Academy to spell it jos; pronunciation [ju:s] in both cases. The juice probably entered in the first few post-WWII years. I've seen the claim 1950, but without references.
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Postby M. Henri Day » Thu Apr 14, 2005 1:05 pm

Men «saftig», i «saftigt äpple» och «saftig brutta», det är väl samma ord, inlånat bare en enda gång, eller ?...


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